Setsuko Thurlow is an 85-year-old Japanese-Canadian nuclear disarmament campaigner who survived the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima in 1945. She was approximately a mile from the epicenter of the blast. Eight of her family members and 351 of her schoolmates and teachers died in the attack, according to Wikipedia. On Sunday, she spoke along with Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons, in Oslo, Norway, as the two of them accepted the Nobel Peace Prize for the years of work ICAN and its members around the world have done to free the world of the nuclear scourge.
In her acceptance speech she said, “We were not content to be victims. We refused to wait for an immediate fiery end or the slow poisoning of our world. We refused to sit idly in terror as the so-called great powers took us past nuclear dusk and brought us recklessly close to nuclear midnight. We rose up. We shared our stories of survival. We said: Humanity and nuclear weapons cannot coexist.”
I challenge anyone reading this to join her in refusing to sit idly in terror as the so-called great powers bring us recklessly close to midnight. I’m thinking of the U.S. with Donald Trump at the helm and North Korea with Kim Jon-un in charge. Then there are China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, India, Pakistan and Israel, brandishing their weapons capability. One way to refuse to sit idly by is to join organizations working together to bring about nuclear disarmament.
Beyond Nuclear has joined Physicians for Social Responsibility, the Union of Concerned Scientists and other national, regional, and faith-based peace and disarmament organizations including the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center right here in Boulder, asking the United States to make nuclear disarmament the centerpiece of national security policy. In a joint resolution — Back from the Brink: A Call to Prevent Nuclear War — the groups call on the United States to lead a global effort to prevent nuclear war by:
• renouncing the option of using nuclear weapons first
• ending the president’s sole, unchecked authority to launch a nuclear attack
• taking U.S. nuclear weapons off hair-trigger alert
• cancelling the plan to replace its entire arsenal with enhanced weapons
• actively pursuing a verifiable agreement among nuclear-armed states to eliminate their nuclear arsenals.
Only together will we achieve the world we want.
The Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center’s “Peace Train” runs every Friday in the Colorado Daily.