This post is also available in: Greek
At a press conference on the 5th of August organised by the Greek branch of World without Wars and Violence and the Greek peace campaigner Panos Trigazis, in Athens, Nikos Stergiou gave this reflection on the Hiroshima bombing and it’s continued ramifications today.
I close my eyes and I count up to 5. I open them and I realize that those 5 seconds were just enough for around 140,000 people to die in one only city in Japan on a hot summer morning of August 1945.
I close my eyes and I remember the lies that the officials of that time in the US used in order to persuade Humanity of the necessity of the use of a nuclear bomb. I open my eyes and I watch how the same propaganda mechanism is still used today, to persuade us all of the necessity to maintain more than 15,000 nuclear warheads, scattered all around the world, 1,800 of which are in a permanent state of hair trigger alert, ready to be launched in few minutes and bring us the next “Hiroshima” or “Nagasaki”.
I close my eyes and I see the terror of the nuclear threat and the self-extinction which hangs over Humanity and over all forms of life on the planet. I open my eyes and I see that nine States and huge economic interests are focusing on nuclear technology and military equipment (the world’s 2nd largest economic sector) to cultivate in our minds over 70 years all kinds of horror – from a Communist or Capitalist threat to the impending invasion of space aliens (!) – to justify the maintenance of a vast mechanism of people and technology and the unthinkable waste of exorbitant financial resources (the US alone spends more than $200 billion annually on maintaining its nuclear arsenals).
I close my eyes, and I remember the fear of spreading radioactivity across Europe after the accident at Chernobyl in 1986. I open my eyes and read about the continuous leakage of radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean from the nuclear accident in Fukushima, which has contaminated an area from the shores of Japan to those of the US, Canada, Chile and New Zealand with radioactivity. I see also that the spread of nuclear technology to other countries gives them the opportunity to go one step further to create nuclear weapons, something that we are told was happening in Iran and that seems to have been averted only a month ago with the important agreement reached for the control of its nuclear program.
I close my eyes and think that nuclear weapons are linked to Global Capital, the military industrial complex, the religious, racial and other forms of intolerance and violence in which the Human Being in our hearts and mind is replaced by other values. I open my eyes and read the five points of the first World March for Peace and Nonviolence, organized in 2009 by World without Wars and Violence:
– Complete abolition of nuclear weapons.
– Reduction of conventional armaments.
– Withdrawal of troops from all the occupied territories on the planet.
– Renunciation of the use of war by States as a means of resolving conflict.
– Bilateral agreements of non-aggression.
Dear friends, after 70 years, it’s time for Humanity, for us, to close our eyes and imagine the denuclearization of the planet, to imagine nuclear-free geographical areas such as the Middle East, the Mediterranean and the Oceans. It is time to imagine that the awareness of the absolute extinction of human kind surpasses our fears of aliens and dinosaurs.
After 70 years, it’s time to open our eyes, and extend a hand to our neighbour, to those different from us, to other organizations and collectives and demand more loudly and more powerfully the complete abolition of nuclear weapons.
After 70 years, it’s time to finally “retire” nuclear weapons and the system that supports them. It’s time to show real faith in the best of mankind and perhaps we could even see the aliens in a friendlier light.
5 August, 2015
Press Conference, Athens, Greece.