NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Matsui Kazumi, Mayor of the City of Hiroshima, Japan, witnessed all of his school mates die when the atom bomb was dropped on his populous city 69 years ago on August 6, 1945 at 8:15 am. That horror lives with him today, and shaped the Peace Declaration he delivered this year to cities across the world.
Standing on the New Haven Green, the City of New Haven's Peace Commission annual vigil heard his declaration along with a proclamation from this city's Mayor Toni Harp calling for the United States to "lead by example in the area of nuclear weapons reductions so we can work towards President Obama's goal of controlling nuclear weapons proliferation and abolishing nuclear weapons."
A United Nations Peace Messenger City, New Haven is also hosting films and a library exhibit to raise awareness of the extreme danger that nuclear weapons pose to the planet.
Toward the goal of a nuclear-free world by 2020, the United Nations has declared September 26 as International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. This mobilization comes just one week after the September 21 People's Climate March which is expected to draw up to a million participants on the eve of a UN conference on global warming.
The reality of the economic, human and environmental cost of nuclear weapons which sap national resources needed by cities and towns and could obliterate all life, led to a ballot referendum in New Haven where 80 percent of voters called for abolition of nuclear weapons.
Al Marder, chair of the Peace Commission, said peace forces are now calling on the United States to send a delegation to the Third Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons to be convened by the United Nations in Vienna, Austria on December 8 "and take part in the discussions of the humanitarian consequences of nuclear disaster and finally negotiate a ban and total abolition of nuclear weapons."
In the Hiroshima Peace Declaration, Mayor Kazumi said, "Each one of us will help determine the future of the human family. Please put yourself in the place of the Hibakusha (survivors of the A-bomb). Imagine their experiences, including that day from the depths of hell, actually happening to you or someone in your family. To make sure the tragedies of Hiroshima and Nagasaki never happen a third time, let's all communicate, think and act together with the Hibakusha for a peaceful world without nuclear weapons and without war."
Recalling that Japan is the only nation to have been A-bombed, he said that "precisely because our security situation is increasingly severe, our government should accept the full weight of the fact that we have avoided war for 69 years thanks to the noble pacifism of the Japanese Constitution."
That section of the Constitution, Article 9, which eliminated armed forces is now being re-interpreted by the current government. In response, a Global Article 9 Campaign has been initiated featuring a Japanese initiated international petition.
Photo: Hiroshima, Japan is devastated when the atomic bomb "Little Boy" is dropped by the United States B-29 Enola Gay. Around 70,000 people are killed instantly, and some tens of thousands die in subsequent years from burns and radiation poisoning. Wikipedia/AP