Hiroshima and Nagasaki victims remembered

IssueSeptember - November 2003
News by Alex Williamson

Fifty-eight years after the first use of nuclear weapons against a civilian population, the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima this year fell under the shadow of the continuing Iraq conflict and aggressive overtures between the US and North Korea.

At a ceremony conducted at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park on the morning of Wednesday, 6 August, Hiroshima mayor Tadakoshi Akiba led the crowd of 40,000 in observing the traditional minute's silence before delivering a speech in which he blasted US President Bush for “appear[ing] to worship nuclear weapons as God”. His words were echoed at the Nagasaki ceremony on Friday, 9 August, by mayor Itcho Ito, who criticised India, Pakistan, the US and North Korea for their continued development of nuclear weapons, and urged the world to remember that the nuclear attack on Nagasaki turned his city into a “hell on earth.”

Across the world a number of other notable solidarity actions took place including CND actions in British cities such as Liverpool and London, and a “die-in” conducted in Melbourne, Australia, by 600 members of the Victoria Peace Network and the Medical Association for the Prevention of War.

Speeches and a documentary broadcast (Pakistan, Hindustan Aur Atom Bomb) marked a memorial on 6 August in Lahore, Pakistan, organised by members of Amnesty International, the Democratic Committee for Human Development (DCHD) and the Applied Socio-Economic research group (ASR).

Quaker groups and the national arm of the Pax Christi organisation also conducted vigils in prayer and song across the US, Australia and Europe.

At Clam Lake, Wisconsin, on 9 August an attempted citizen's inspection of the US Navy's Project ELF submarine transmitter conducted by members of US Nukewatch resulted in twelve being cited for trespass. Nine members of Trident Ploughshares were also arrested during a die-in at the Falslane nuclear submarine base in Scotland three days earlier. Hiroshima and Nagasaki victims remembered

Topics: Nuclear weapons