Remembering Hiroshima

On Sunday 6th August there will also be a 15-minute vigil at Shaw’s Corner War Memorial, Redhill,starting at 11.30am. Please join us.

David Hilder of Reigate and Redhill Peace Group explains why.

Sunday 6th August, is the anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima in 1945. Two days later Nagasaki was the target. These remain the only time nuclear weapons have ever been used. 300,000 were killed in this attack and people today are still suffering as a result of the bombing.

Sadly, since 1945, nuclear weapon technology has continued developing its killing efficiency. Nine countries now have them, each with enough destructive power to obliterate the world. The UK being one. Now the unstable North Korea is joining the other nuclear powers. This is not the direction the peoples of the world want to go.

In the 72 years since 1945 nuclear weaponry has proliferated despite a treaty called the Non Proliferation Treaty signed in 1968 by 190 countries, including nuclear powers, to ‘work towards a world without nuclear weapons. This treaty is discussed every four years in the UN but so far has failed to achieve its goal of the elimination of nuclear weapons.

None of us would not want another nuclear attack anywhere in the world. So why are nine countries still relying on these weapons for their ‘defence’?

Some people support nuclear weapons, sincerely believing that it gives them protection. Others see that a nuclear conflict can only end in mutually assured destruction and the end of our World. It is not an easy topic to explore. Nevertheless it is beholden to every one of us to explore the issue. After all, the use of nuclear weapons would negatively affect us all. On this anniversary day, perhaps we ought to remind ourselves that their use would not resolve disputes.

One positive development has appeared this month in the form of a UN draft Comprehensive Nuclear Weapons Ban. More than 130 states took part in the talks, and it is hoped many of them will join when the treaty opens for signature in September.

Given the UK’s persistent boycotting of the process, it’s unlikely that we’ll be one of the first states to sign, but the work to bring the government into the fold starts now. The treaty is a strong and comprehensive text which has the potential to bring the world closer than ever to achieving a world without nuclear weapons.

It is a significant pointer towards changing international attitudes to nuclear weapons. Previous treaties prohibiting chemical and biological weapons helped to stigmatise them in the minds of the public.

In conclusion, we’re all involved, like it or not. Educate yourself and if you don’t like what you discover, lobby your MP and join the local peace group. We don’t want another Hiroshima.

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