The 2017 Wellington Botanic Garden 72nd Hiroshima & Nagasaki Day

Severing Seven Myths At The Seventieth Commemoration Of The Atomic

Bombings Of Hiroshima And Nagasaki, In Wellington, 

On 2 August, At The Peace Flame

Introduction   Myths and legends form the cultural richness of many nations, such as the Maori legend of the North Island of New Zealand being once a huge fish which was caught by a massive hook. They're not for taking as fact, but are cultural legends, unless we're ignorant of the truth. However, sometimes the truth is hidden by false stories, myths and assumptions, which suit those who mislead for their own advantage. This is especially the case with nuclear weapons myths. Myths, like those that glorify nuclear weapons, can be easily dispelled.

CNDNZ lists seven, to easily remember on the seventieth commemoration. They're linked to NAPF's ten in 3. below.

Dr. David Krieger, who's the President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation [NAPF], has ten such myths in their website, with a very thorough rebuttal for each. 

Ten myths and rebuttals in the NAPF website  .....  http://www.wagingpeace.org/ten-myths-about-nuclear-weapons/  

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1. NAPF's ten myths that falsely glorify nuclear weapons

(1) Nuclear weapons were needed to defeat Japan in World War II.

(2) Nuclear weapons prevented a war between the United States and the Soviet Union.

(3) Nuclear threats have gone away since the end of the Cold War.

(4) The United States needs nuclear weapons for its national security.

(5) Nuclear weapons make a country safer.

(6) No leader would be crazy enough to actually use nuclear weapons.

(7) Nuclear weapons are a cost-effective method of national defense.

(8) Nuclear weapons are well protected and there is little chance that terrorists could get their hands on one.

(9) The United States is working to fulfill its nuclear disarmament obligations.

(10) Nuclear weapons are needed to combat threats from terrorists and “rogue states.”

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2. CNDNZ's "Seven Myths, at Seventy", that falsely glorify nuclear weapons

[1] The two atomic bombs ended World War II and why USA could get the Japanese to surrender. 

[2] As individuals, we are powerless to do anything to stop nuclear weapons' deployment.

[3] Nuclear weapons are super safe from accidents and not illegal under international treaties.

[4] Nuclear weapons can't be de-invented and must be accepted as "here to stay for ever on our planet".

[5] No nation would be stupid enough to launch a first strike and start a tit for tat, full scale, nuclear war.

[6] The Dooms Day Clock is a touch of humour from fussy laboratory scientists who speculate fancifully.

[7] Nuclear weapons prevent World War III.

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3. The Seven Myths' links to NAPF's Ten Myths

CNDNZ [1] to [7] with NAPF related topics in curved brackets

[1] (1) [2] (7) (9) [3] (7) (8) [4] (4) (5) (10) [5] (6) [6] (5) [7] (2) (4) (5) (10)

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4. CNDNZ's "Seven Myths, at Seventy", that falsely glorify nuclear weapons

[1] The two atomic bombs ended World War II and was why USA could get the Japanese to surrender.

The truth is that Russia's promised entry into the war with Japan and, USA's wanting to signal it's power to the USSR, were why the bombs were dropped and Japan surrendered. A final term of surrender was previously rejected by the USA, where the Emperor was retained, although not as a God. The two atomic bombs were also a test on cities and medical experiments to observe the previously known cancer risks development in the survivors and their children.    

[2] As individuals, we are powerless to do anything to stop nuclear weapons' deployment.

The truth is that individuals in groups, as leaders and when taking personal stands, such as a letter to a newspaper editor, have considerable power. They more directly relate to other individuals with similar hopes and family backgrounds, than mere organisations. 

[3] Nuclear weapons are super safe from accidents and not illegal under international treaties.   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_military_nuclear_accidents

The truth is that they're never safe enough. The consequence of their use, in a tit for tat nuclear war, is the possible extinction of the human species. There have also been some near launches of nuclear weapons towards another nation, owing to false alarms. For example,  from mistaking a Norwegian weather rocket, for a nuclear weapon rocket firing. Some nuclear submarine captain's have come close to firing nuclear weapons, such as a Russian one during the Cuban missile crisis, under President J. F. Kennedy. Some nuclear weapons have been lost at sea after a plane crash or from accidental release over sea and land during routine transport. In one USA nuclear weapons silo, a spanner was dropped that caused a fire. International treaties, that ban chemical and biological weapons, apply to nuclear weapons because they cause genetic damage, specific cancers, miscarriages and birth deformities plus the black rain fallout from under a "mushroom cloud" makes them a chemical weapon too. A nuclear weapon is a multiple harm weapon of heat, blast, radiation and chemical poisons. They're also in breach of the Geneva Conventions requirement to respect the distinction between military and civilian populations. Civilians must be protected from harm at all times, in war. Nuclear weapons follow the illegal trend duringWW2 of hideous and shameful purposely bombing of city folk in their homes.    

[4] Nuclear weapons can't be de-invented and must be accepted as "here to stay for ever on our planet".

The truth is that the "gene can be put back into the bottle", via a robust, United Nations comprehensive global treaty to ban nuclear weapons and verify compliance. The knowledge of nuclear weapons is all that would continue to exist. The human race simply needs to grow up and live without nuclear weapons for ever, as a progression of civilization. Japanese sages have declared that human beings are unable to coexist in harmony with nuclear weapons. 

[5] No nation would be stupid enough to launch a first strike and start a "tit for tat", full scale, nuclear war.

The truth is that human beings can be highly intelligent but have emotional weaknesses. Fail-safe nuclear weapons policies of nations sometimes have weak points that must be overcome and improved to prevent an accidental launch of a nuclear weapons. The risks are well understood by nuclear weapons nations who take extreme care. However, such incidents, as an asteroid impact on earth, could be at first misinterpreted as a  nuclear weapons attack. This emphasizes the need for global abolition. 

[6] The Dooms Day Clock is a touch of humour from fussy laboratory scientists who speculate fancifully.

The truth is that the Clock's six-monthly risk assessment review is governed by expert scientists' view of global risks, including climate change, from human activity. It's been indicating since 1947 and is a conservative approach, which many on-line readers of it's governing Bulletin of Atomic Scientists' website, feel is not close enough to midnight.     http://thebulletin.org/

[7] Nuclear weapons prevent World War III.

The truth is that  nuclear weapons, themselves, are the biggest threat to world peace, by their potential for the dire consequence of many millions of deaths in perhaps a few hours. At the end of WW1, The Great War, loaded guns were no longer aimed at each side of the conflict. "They went silent" and were unloaded at the breech.  If anything, nuclear weapons deployment is a state of war, as WW3. Nations' presidents have buttons in nearby briefcases, carried by agents everywhere, to launch nuclear weapons. If put in a WW1 context, of weapons loaded and ready to fire at opposing sides, that war would have been said to have not ended. Hostilities were ended with the WW1 Armistice declared, guns were disarmed and the  Peace Settlement Treaty signed. What do we then call the state of global affairs now, where a selection of nations have nuclear weapons, on hair trigger alert, to fire within minutes, not hours, of notice? We seem to be right in the thick of an undeclared WW3, in a  continuing "deterrence" stalemate, with little realization of it in nations. Nuclear weapons depend on cities full of people as potential targets, not vast deserts or mid oceans. "We, the people" need to speak out in opposition to this dreadful state of undeclared war, or else we will be assumed to condone it as if it's just and honourable. That's surely the biggest myth of all time.

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 2011

 

 

The City of Hiroshima

PEACE DECLARATION

August 6, 2011

Sixty-six years ago, despite the war, the people of Hiroshima were leading fairly normal lives. Until that fateful moment, many families were enjoying life together right here in what is now Peace Memorial Park and was then one of the city‟s most prosperous districts. A man who was thirteen at the time shares this: "August fifth was a Sunday, and for me, a second-year student in middle school, the first full day off in a very long time. I asked a good friend from school to come with me, and we went on down to the river. Forgetting all about the time, we stayed until twilight, swimming and playing on the sandy riverbed. That hot mid-summer‟s day was the last time I ever saw him."

The next morning, August sixth at 8:15, a single atomic bomb ripped those normal lives out by the roots. This description is from a woman who was sixteen at the time: "My forty-kilogram body was blown seven meters by the blast, and I was knocked out. When I came to, it was pitch black and utterly silent. In that soundless world, I thought I was the only one left. I was naked except for some rags around my hips. The skin on my left arm had peeled off in five-centimeter strips that were all curled up. My right arm was sort of whitish. Putting my hands to my face, I found my right cheek quite rough while my left cheek was all slimy."

Their community and lives ravaged by an atomic bomb, the survivors were stunned and injured, and yet, they did their best to help each other: "Suddenly, I heard lots of voices crying and screaming, „Help!‟ „Mommy, help!‟ Turning to a voice nearby I said, „I‟ll help you.‟ I tried to move in that direction but my body was so heavy. I did manage to move enough to save one young child, but with no skin on my hands, I was unable to help any more. …„I‟m really sorry.‟ …"

Such scenes were unfolding not just here where this park is but all over Hiroshima. Wanting to help but unable to do so—many also still live with the guilt of being their family‟s sole survivor.

Based on their own experiences and carrying in their hearts the voices and feelings of those sacrificed to the bomb, the hibakusha called for a world without nuclear weapons as they struggled day by day to survive. In time, along with other Hiroshima residents, and with generous assistance from Japan and around the world, they managed to bring their city back to life.

Their average age is now over 77. Calling forth what remains of the strength that revived their city, they continue to pursue the lasting peace of a world free from nuclear weapons. Can we let it go at this? Absolutely not. The time has come for the rest of us to learn from all the hibakusha what they experienced and their desire for peace. Then, we must communicate what we learn to future generations and the rest of the world.

Through this Peace Declaration, I would like to communicate the hibakusha experience and desire for peace to each and every person on this planet. Hiroshima will pour everything we have into working, along with Nagasaki, to expand Mayors for Peace such that all cities, those places around the world where people gather, will strive together to eliminate nuclear weapons by 2020. Moreover, we want all countries, especially the nuclear-armed states, including the United States of America, which continues its subcritical nuclear testing and related experiments, to pursue enthusiastically a process that will abolish nuclear weapons. To that end, we plan to host an international conference that will bring the world‟s policymakers to Hiroshima to discuss the nuclear non-proliferation regime.

The Great East Japan Earthquake of March eleventh this year was so destructive it revived images of Hiroshima 66 years ago and still pains our hearts. Here in Hiroshima we sincerely pray for the souls of all who perished and strongly support the survivors, wishing them the quickest possible recovery.

The accident at Tokyo Electric Power Company‟s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station and the ongoing threat of radiation have generated tremendous anxiety among those in the affected areas and many others. The trust the Japanese people once had in nuclear power has been shattered. From the common admonition that "nuclear energy and humankind cannot coexist," some seek to abandon nuclear power altogether. Others advocate extremely strict control of nuclear power and increased utilization of renewable energy.

The Japanese government should humbly accept this reality, quickly review our energy policies, and institute concrete countermeasures to regain the understanding and trust of the people. In addition, with our hibakusha aging, we demand that the Japanese government promptly expand its "black rain areas" and offer more comprehensive and caring assistance measures to all hibakusha regardless of their countries of residence.

Offering our heartfelt condolences to the souls of the A-bomb victims, reaffirming our conviction that "the atomic bombing must never be repeated" and "no one else should ever have to suffer like this," we hereby pledge to do everything in our power to abolish nuclear weapons and build lasting world peace.

MATSUI Kazumi

Mayor

The City of Hiroshima

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