United for Peace and Justice – 2007-08-04 08:06:13
Anti-Nuclear Renaissance Marks 62nd Anniversary of
US Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
No Nukes! No Wars! No Profiteers!
New York, NY (August 4, 2007) — Twenty-five years after a million people gathered in New York City’s Central Park to demand global nuclear disarmament, an anti-nuclear renaissance is underway. Peace, environmental, faith-based and social justice groups will mark the August 6th and 9th anniversaries of the US atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with more than 80 commemorations, rallies, film screenings, and vigils in 25 states, at nuclear weapons facilities and corporate war profiteers, united under the umbrella, “No Nukes! No Wars! No Profiteers!”
Throughout August 2007, in commemoration of the 62nd anniversary of the US atomic bombings of Japan, groups across the country are working to expose the escalating threat to the world posed by US nuclear hypocrisy, and to confront the corporations that are perpetuating and profiting from a worldwide nuclear crisis and the wars in the Middle East. Highlights include the Widening War Tour, featuring Hiroshima survivor Yuko Nakamura, which stops in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, PA (Aug. 6 and 7) and Florence, MA (Aug. 9); nonviolent direct actions at the national nuclear weapons laboratories in Los Alamos, NM, and Lawrence Livermore, CA, and at the Nevada Test Site; and the Think Outside the Bomb youth conference in Santa Barbara, CA (Aug. 16-19). For a detailed listing of events see: www.august6.org.
According to Hiroshima A-bomb survivor, Yoku Nakamura: “The atomic bomb brought 140,000 deaths in Hiroshima and 70,000 deaths in Nagasaki 62 years ago. People around the world need to know how a nuclear bomb can brutally destroy a city and take so many lives away, miserably, in a split second, and also should know that nuclear bombs today can bring even more horrifying destruction upon us.”
She concluded: “It has been more than half a century since the Hibakusha (A-bomb sufferers) organized themselves and joined forces to call for the abolition of nuclear weapons so that there would be no more Hiroshimas or Nagasakis. For all the rest of my life, I sincerely wish, pray and fight for all the people on earth in this 21st century to be able to live their lives fully with dignity and peace.”
UFPJ is also promoting house parties and educational events in connection with the August HBO premiere of Academy Award-winner Steven Okazaki’s powerful new film, White Light/Black Rain: The Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The critically acclaimed documentary features 14 Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors and is a remarkable document of the only times nuclear weapons have been used in war.
UFPJ has developed a Discussion Guide and Action Tool Kit to help focus discussion on the current nuclear threat and on what people can do. The film will have its television premiere on HBO on August 6, 2007, at 7:30 pm EDT, with repeat showings throughout the month.
Leslie Cagan, National Coordinator for United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ), explained: “The march from the UN to Central Park in June 1982 was probably the largest single protest in US history. New York City was shut down for the day. Today, 25 years later, the world is no safer, no more free of dangers of a nuclear catastrophe.
The US government’s nuclear hypocrisy has not led to peace, but has fed perpetual conflict. While Washington takes us to war claiming to be searching for weapons of mass destruction, they are now about to produce a new generation of nuclear weapons.”
The anti-nuclear renaissance is developing in response to increasing nuclear threats. Jackie Cabasso, executive director of Western States Legal Foundation in Oakland, and convener of UFPJ’s Nuclear Disarmament Working Group explains: “As carried out against Iraq and threatened against Iran, the specter of nuclear weapons in the hands of ‘rogue’ states has become the United States’ number-one excuse for waging war. Yet the threatened first use of nuclear weapons remains the ‘cornerstone’ of US national security policy.
The US is violating its NPT nuclear disarmament obligation by retaining some 10,000 nuclear weapons, designing new ones, and pouring billions of dollars into its nuclear weapons manufacturing complex. Meanwhile, leading presidential candidates from both parties are warning Iran that ‘all options are on the table.’ Who is threatening whom?” Cabasso will be taking part in the “In the Shadow of the Nuclear Bomb” August 5 action at the Livermore Lab in California.
“As we commemorate the anniversaries of the US atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki,” said David Meieran, of the Thomas Merton Center’s Demilitarize Pittsburgh project, “we need to stand up to the the corporations who profit from nuclear weapons and who drive us to unnecessary wars.”
Meieran is helping to organize Pittsburgh’s events, which include a demonstration, with Yoku Nakamura, at a heavily DoD-funded facility at Carnegie Mellon. Meieran also is helping to launch the national Bite the Bullet: War Profiteering Education and Action Network.
According to Bruce Gagnon, Coordinator of the Global Network Against Nuclear Power & Weapons in Space: “The Bush administration lectures the rest of the world about the evils of weapons of mass destruction while at the same time developing new generations of our own. On top of that the Pentagon is now moving toward deployment of offensive weapons in space that will only make the world more unstable. We are the leading arms dealer in the world and its biggest hypocrite. The time has come to convert the military industrial complex to peaceful and sustainable production here at home.”
Gagnon will be a featured speaker at an August 5th event in New York City.
Other notable speakers at actions around the country include Ann Wright, career Foreign Service officer and Army Reserves colonel who resigned from the State Department in protest over the Iraq war, speaking at a Fayetteville, AK, event on August 5, and human rights leader Father Ray Bourgeois, founder of School of the Americas Watch, who is speaking in Santa Fe, NM, on August 3.
The Hiroshima-Nagasaki events are being coordinated by United for Peace and Justice, which is the largest antiwar coalition in the country, with more than 1,400 member groups. See www.august6.org for a growing list of actions. These events kick off UFPJ’s fall campaign to end the Iraq war that runs from early August to the end of October.
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• Contact: Leslie Cagan, United for Peace and Justice, New York, NY: (212) 868-5545; cell (347) 581-1782
Jackie Cabasso, Western States Legal Foundation, Oakland, CA: (510) 839-5877; cell (510) 306-0119
David Meieran, Thomas Merton Center, Pittsburgh, PA: (412) 421-7716