OCTOBER 2017 Leaflet

NOBEL PEACE PRIZE BRINGS NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT TO THE TABLE!

Dear Brothers and Sisters on Planet Earth:

ICAN, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (www.canw.org) has just won this year’s Nobel Peace Prize!

A coalition of non-governmental organizations in 100 countries, ICAN helped draft the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons that was ratified by the United Nations on July 7, 2017 with the approval of 122 nations.  Fully two-thirds of the world’s nation-states have voted to banish nuclear weapons - the most destructive weapon ever created, capable of erasing humanity from the face of the earth.

The United States and some other nuclear nations have thus far declined to sign the treaty.  But as one advocate put it:  “You cannot wait for the smokers to institute a smoking ban.” 

In an escalating war of words with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, President Donald Trump - who commands the world’s most powerful nuclear arsenal - recently threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea.  Such reckless rhetoric has raised tensions and increased the likelihood of a nuclear conflict, either intentional or accidental.  

ICAN stated: “All nations should reject these [nuclear] weapons completely - before they are ever used again.  This is a time of great global tension, when fiery rhetoric could all too easily lead us, inexorably, to unspeakable horror.” 

According to the laws of war “we can’t target civilians,” ICAN said.  But “nuclear weapons are meant to target civilians; they’re meant to wipe out entire cities.”  This is unacceptable, ICAN stated, adding:  “Nuclear weapons no longer get a pass.”

In accepting the prestigious prize, ICAN noted that the belief by some governments that nuclear weapons are a legitimate and essential source of security is not only misguided but dangerous, since it incites other nations (such as North Korea) to proliferate their nuclear arsenal, and undermines disarmament efforts.

“The spectre of nuclear conflict looms large once more.  If ever there were a moment for nations to declare their unequivocal opposition to nuclear weapons, that moment is now,” ICAN said.

But at a time when most of the world’s nations are pursuing the abolition of nuclear weapons, the US is moving ahead with its trillion-dollar rebuild of the entire US nuclear weapons triad.  The program will include a new fleet of nuclear-armed submarines, many of which will be stationed here at the Kitsap-Bangor Naval Base. 

Can the US step back from the brink of nuclear destruction of the planet?  The US nuclear upgrade is certainly giving war a chance; but don’t we owe it to humanity to give peace a chance?

Please join us, your friends and neighbors, as we work together for a nuclear-free world. 

Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action

16159 Clear Creek Rd * Poulsbo WA 98371 * 360-930-8697

www.GZcenter.org  *   info@gzcenter.org

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AUGUST 2017 Leaflet

Messages From Nuclear Attack Survivors to the World

In August 1945 Japan became the first — and so far, the only — country to experience a nuclear attack. The nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the United States instantly incinerated these cities, killing more than 200,000 people.

Seventy-two years later in 2017, the specter of nuclear destruction — either by a deliberate decision of a nuclear power or through an accident or miscalculation — still haunts our planet.  As the number of survivors of the US nuclear attack on Japan (known as hibakusha) diminish over time, what lessons can we learn from their experiences?  

Brooklyn-based documentary photographer Haruka Sakaguchi* asked hibakusha (atomic-bomb victims who survived) from Nagasaki and Hiroshima to write a message for future generations. Here are some excerpts of their words:

“You are only given One life. So cherish this moment. Cherish this day. Be kind to others. Be kind to yourself.” 

(Yasujiro Tanaka, age 75)

 

“I pray that every human finds peace.”  (Shigeko Matsumoto, age 77)

 

“I long for a peaceful society where everyone can live with dignity, and die with dignity.

  Peace is not something that we passively wait for. Peace is something that we must seek out and cultivate. Dear reader - please make Nagasaki the last atomic bomb site.”  (Michiko Yagi, age 78)

 

“Life is a curious treasure.” 

(Fujio Torikoshi, age 86)

 

“Dear young people who have never experienced war:  War begins covertly.  If you sense it coming, it may be too late.

Japan is the only nation that has experienced a nuclear attack.  We must assert, with far more urgency, that nuclear weapons cannot coexist with mankind.

The current administration is slowly leading our nation to war, I’m afraid.  At the ripe age of 78, I have taken it upon myself to speak out against nuclear proliferation. Now is not the time to stand idly by.” 

(Takato Michishita, age 78)

 

“The atomic bomb is incomparable to other weapons.  It not only involves heat and a deadly explosion, but also a lasting radiation that kills indiscriminately, en masse.  It is an inhumane weapon that contaminates our soil and destroys our environment.  Humanity must fight for the abolition of all nuclear weapons.

  Nuclear weapons are the sheer manifestation of evil. We must never create atomic bomb victims like myself, ever again.

  No nukes. Nuclear abolition is the origin of peace.”  (Jongkeun Lee, age 89)

“Children are our greatest blessing. I believe that grown-ups are responsible for war.” (Emiko Okada, 80)

*www.1945project.com

 

This year, the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action celebrated its 40th anniversary of resisting nuclear weapons.  We oppose the planned $1 trillion upgrade of the Trident nuclear missile system and believe the funds would be better used to improve the lives of Americans with better hospitals, schools, and the rebuilding of infrastructure such as roads and bridges.  Please join us as we work to protect all life on the planet - for ourselves and for future generations.

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JULY 2017 Leaflet

Dreaming of a Nuclear Weapons-Free World
Can the Impossible Become Possible?

There are some in our community who call nuclear weapons opponents “hopeless idealists” or “dreamers.” “Sure”, they say, “we’d all love to live in peace, but it’s a crazy world out there and we need nuclear weapons to be safe.”
But does the US status as a nuclear superpower really make us safer? Or does it make us all more vulnerable to being destroyed in a conflict that could spiral out of control into all-out nuclear war?
As the world watches, the US is spending $1 trillion to create a new generation of nuclear armaments. In turn, we now see ramped-up nuclear proliferation and the ratcheting-up of political and military tensions from Moscow to Pyongyang to Beijing. How does this race towards doomsday keep the American people safe?
By accepting the so-called inevitability of nuclear weapons, avoiding the ugly consequences of the nuclear arms race and the grave threat it poses to civilian populations around the globe, it is easy to assume an “ostrich-in-the sand” position and simply get on with our busy lives.
But by ignoring the issue, are we not undermining our own power and potential to envision a nuclear-weapons-free sustainable world? After all, imagining something is the first step toward challenging the status quo and making a change. Of course, such a transformation may not happen overnight, but the first step is to dream the impossible as possible.
For example, on July 7, 2017 the United Nations adopted the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Under Article 6 of the Treaty, states are prohibited from developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, acquiring, possessing, stockpiling, transferring, deploying, stationing, using or threatening to use nuclear weapons under any circumstances. Although the US, Russia and other nuclear states boycotted this Treaty, it was adopted by 122 states and passed overwhelmingly.
Even in the face of the US-led boycott, this UN Treaty signals the clear resolve of civil society to embark on a path leading to a nuclear weapons-free world. Someday in the future, when survivors of a nuclear war ask the United States and other nuclear-armed states, “What did you do to keep our planet safe when it was under attack?” -- what will be our response be?
We invite you to join us in taking a stand for a peaceful, nuclear-free world for the sake of our future generations. Join us at our August event commemorating the 72nd anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Dare to Dream!

 

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JUNE 2017 Leaflet

"If we can risk nuclear war, we can risk disarmament!"

 Negotiations To Ban Nuclear Weapons Begin This Month

Starting on June 15th and running through July 2017, representatives from more than 115 world governments will gather at UN Headquarters in New York to negotiate a “legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading toward their total elimination.”

These groundbreaking talks are the result of a landmark UN General Assembly resolution in December 2016, which voted with overwhelming support to begin negotiations on a treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons.  They reflect widespread concern among the world’s nations to prohibit the use, possession and development of nuclear weapons — which have the potential to annihilate all life on the planet.

These historic negotiations could generate real momentum toward reducing and eliminating nuclear weapons and represent a resurgence of political will following decades of paralysis in multilateral nuclear disarmament efforts.

With global tensions and nuclear threats rising, the need for progress on nuclear disarmament “has rarely been as urgent as it is today”, according to the UN Undersecretary General for Disarmament’s statement at the opening round of talks.

Sadly, the US is not taking part in this fresh new nuclear disarmament initiative.  Instead, it has joined Russia, China, Japan and several other nuclear states in sitting out the talks.  In the absence of US leadership, countries like Brazil, Austria, and Ireland are taking the lead.

Nonetheless, there is growing grassroots support for nuclear disarmament in many countries throughout — including nuclear weapon states like the United States and the United Kingdom and nuclear-dependent states like Germany.  On Saturday, June 17, women around the world will hold “Ban the Bomb” marches in support of the UN talks and against the policy of mutually assured destruction.

As long as nuclear weapons systems like Trident continue to exist on our planet, we will all be forced to live with the threat of hair-trigger situations such as 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis which nearly sparked nuclear war between Russia and the United States.

To quote U.S. President John F. Kennedy’s 1961 address to the UN General Assembly:  “We far prefer world law, in the age of self-determination, to world war, in the age of mass extermination.”

 

Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action

16159 Clear Creek Rd * Poulsbo WA 98371

360-930-8697

www.GZcenter.org   info@gzcenter.org

 

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