Here are some dates…
8 May 1945.
End of WW2 in Europe. Nazis defeated.
12 May 1944.
I was born in Paris under German occupation. My grandfather had been seriously wounded in the trenches of Verdun during World War I. That made him a fervent champion of Franco-German reconciliation. Later on, my mother studied German and my first foreign language would be German. But the reconciliation that resulted was WW2, provoked by the Nazis. My father was mobilised for the “phony war” of 1939-40, which was not a joke at all. In June 1940 he was at the front line and carried wounded comrades under the German artillery-fire. So obviously war was not popular in our family…
15 January 1986.
Mikhail Gorbachev launched his appeal “No nuclear weapons by the year 2000!” I heard it. It changed the course of my life. A difficult story, too long to be recounted here…
8 May 1996.
On the anniversary of the 1945 armistice, l’Action des Citoyens pour le Désarmement Nucléaire (ACDN) was founded in Saintes (Western France), with this objective: “To take action – notably by calling for a referendum – to promote nuclear, biological and chemical disarmament in an integral, universal and controlled manner, in the context of a genuine system of international security. To take or support local, regional, national and international initiatives, which may be public or private, political, cultural, economic, social or judicial – that contribute to disarmament, to general security, to respect for human beings, and to the development of exchanges, solidarity and peace” (Article 2 of ACDN’s Constitution, May 1996)
18 June 1996.
On the anniversary of General de Gaulle’s 1940 broadcast from London calling for continued French combat against Nazi barbarism, ACDN launched the “La Rochelle Appeal”, calling for a referendum of all French citizens on France’s participation in the abolition of nuclear weapons – in the ending of nuclear barbarism.
20 years later.
In 2016, France continues to possess and modernize her nuclear weapons. In President Hollande’s opinion, “Independence, liberty and capacity to make our values prevail, those are the reasons why we must ensure every day the permanence of our nuclear deterrence, and be capable at every instant of further improving its organisation, its functionings and the weapons themselves“. (François Hollande à Istres, 19 février 2015)
However, the prospect of a French referendum on this vital question is coming closer to reality, thanks to a number of French MPs proposing a referendum bill for their colleagues to sign. We invite you to support this shared initiative of Parliamentarians and Citizens by signing the attached “Appeal for a French Referendum”, and stating the position you hold.
This appeal concerns French citizens in the first place, but it is appropriate for foreigners to sign also, because foreign people are threatened by the French bombs, and the nuclear issue is an international one. We need your support to convince our fellow-citizens that a change of the French policies and posture is needed, and that people in other countries are hoping to see it. Your signatures will really help us – thank you.
Twenty, thirty years is a long time. But the objective makes the struggle worthwhile, provided we get closer.
Thanks in advance to your help.
Jean-Marie Matagne, President of ACDN (Action des Citoyens pour le Désarmement Nucléaire)
For those of you who are attending the OEWG in Geneva, we have the pleasure of inviting you to celebrate these anniversaries together.
The dinner takes place on Thursday, 12 May, at 7.30 pm
at the Restaurant-Pizzeria “Il Fornello Napoletano”
Rue de Lausanne, 52 – 1201 Genève
It’s a self-pay dinner. Pls look at http://www.ilfornello.ch/
No gifts, no flowers, no wreaths!
French and English spoken.
RSVP ASAP by 11 May so as to reserve your place.