A Lesson from Two, Middle East, Antinuclear Activists

By Jhon Sánchez

I always had asked myself what I can do to abolish nuclear weapons. The feeling of powerlessness sets on me. I’m not a diplomat, nor a head of state, nor an elected official. With that feeling, on October 10, I attended an event co-sponsored by Code Pink & Pressenza. There an Israeli woman and an Iranian man presented their efforts to create a free zone of Weapons of Mass Destruction in the Middle East. Both are founding members of the Middle East Treaty Organization (METO) project.

Neither Sharon Dolev (Israeli) nor Emad Kiyaei (Iranian) represents a State. They are normal citizens like you and like me. They, as part of the civil society and counting with nuclear experts’ recommendations, propose a draft treaty to the States, to the diplomats, the heads of governments.

One of the problems is that negotiators concentrate on the obstacles; but the tactic has been to ask the diplomats to think about what it is possible. The document is available to all the parties and if any person disagrees with the language on the document, they can change it. This is a concrete invitation to a dialogue. Their activism is concentrated on creating a culture of negotiation and good faith. “The draft treaty is a work in progress to inspire, challenge, and engage everyone who is concerned about peace and security.”

They work at the diplomatic level as well with grassroots organizations, so people could press their governments toward the elimination of Weapons of Mass Destruction. Their idea is also to show the myth that nuclear weapons create security. Instead, the possession of nuclear weapons increases the risks of accidents, incentivizes an attack on nuclear reactors, and challenge other Middle Eastern Countries to develop similar weapons to counterbalance power.

There is more hope than ever after the UN General Assembly decided in November 2018 to convene an annual conference on the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

For Sharon and Emad, this hope has been years of work and faith. Dialogue is the first step to achieve understanding. As citizens of the world, we need to come up with creative solutions to change the politicians’ mindsets. We need to be strategic and think in ways to achieve what’s possible until we can get that dream of a world without nuclear weapons.

Please visit their website and consider participating in this project.

Middle East Treaty Organization (METO) www.wmd-free.me

Jhon Sánchez: A native of Colombia, Mr. Sánchez arrived in the United States seeking political asylum. Currently, a New York attorney, he’s a JD/MFA graduate. His most recent short stories are Pleasurable Death available on The Meadow, The I-V Therapy Coffee Shop of the 21st Century available on Bewildering Stories and “‘My Love, Ana,’—Tommy” available on https://www.fictionontheweb.co.uk/ . On July 1st, The Write Launch released his novelette The DeDramafi, which will be also reprinted by Storylandia in 2021. He was awarded the Horned Dorset Colony for 2018 and the Byrdcliffe Artist Residence Program for 2019.