Debra Sweet | August, 2023
Last week, dozens of people joined, virtually, our discussion of “The film Oppenheimer & Lessons for NOW.” Some of the thoughtful contributions are here and below are some of my thoughts.
It’s been all of our experience – people who go out to speak on the streets and others – that what happened 78 years ago and the danger of what is shaping up now is not front of mind for people living in this country. It just isn’t. There’s a lot of avoidance of what this country is doing around the world. But specifically, I don’t think many people know that both Obama and Biden went to Hiroshima and, pointedly, did not apologize for bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Outrageously, the U.S. will not abandon the right of first strike. That is not widely known. All those who spoke point in a direction for us to work on opening people’s minds and eyes up and getting the actual history out there. It’s extremely important if you’re talking about changing the world, turning things over, setting up new values. We have to struggle with people to both come to terms with and act to stop this danger.
I invited Joe Urgo, Vietnam veteran turned revolutionary and organizer of the 1971 Winter Soldiers Investigation, to speak on his experiences guarding nuclear weapons as well as a subsequent visit to Hiroshima where he met with hibakusha (survivors of the bombs) and representatives of the North Vietnamese government, before making a wartime visit to Hanoi.
Protests of Hiroshima/Nagasaki Bombings August 6 & 8:
Statement by Ellen Grady, U.S. nuclear weapons activist in the Netherlands
U.S. Citizens Join Runway Occupation – Continue on following days at NATO Nuclear Air Base Volkel, Netherlands
Open Letter to the People of Japan delivered to Japanese Mission to the UN
Vigil outside the Japanese Consulate in NYC on Aug. 8
Honolulu, August 6:
World Can’t Wait at the Torii Gate, given to the people of Honolulu by the Chamber of Commerce of Hiroshima. The Torii Gate was one of the few structures left standing after the bombing.
New York City August 6:
Shout out to Veterans for Peace who “toured” the US military monument on The Intrepid warship in New York City on August 6. Credit: Ellen Davidson
I was glad to be able to hear the others on the discussion last Tuesday. Disarmament, banning of nuclear weapons has long been an area of urgent interest for me. Although the UN instruments and treaties may seem impotent in the present global outlook, I think the basic structure of laws have been circulated and may, one day, be revived.
See the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons for (TPNW) and some summations I found online:
The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) includes a comprehensive set of prohibitions on participating in any nuclear weapon activities. These include undertakings not to develop, test, produce, acquire, possess, stockpile, use or threaten to use nuclear weapons.
As of 29 March 2023, the TPNW has 68 states parties while 27 further states have signed but not yet ratified. This means that a total of 95 states (or 48% of all states) have accepted binding obligations in international law under the TPNW. Only 4 more signatures or accessions are needed to pass 50%.