Preventing Nuclear War V
Two years ago yesterday, 122 courageous nations issued a direct challenge to the nuclear-armed states. By adopting the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), they declared those weapons illegal. By doing so on humanitarian grounds, they declared those weapons immoral. By inference, they declared the nuclear-armed states to be immoral rogue nations endangering the survival of the entire human family. Though diplomatic, polite, suppressed and largely ignored, the TPNW is rebellion.
At this point, 70 nations have signed the treaty; 23 have ratified it. These figures may seem low, but 1) it takes time for nations to do anything, even when they want to and 2) the nuclear-armed nations are using frightening threats and tempting promises to squash this rebellion. Under the circumstances, the treaty is making excellent progress, and this progress is due to the fabulous ICAN campaigners and peace activists lobbying hard to get their countries onboard. Nothing I say below should be taken as criticism of these lobbyists and their vital role. We need countries to sign and ratify the treaty.
But are you aware of this treaty? You’re on my list so maybe you are, but what about your friends? What if you step outside your home or office and accost the first person strolling by? Would that person have a clue if you were to say, “Happy Birthday, TPNW!!” I don’t know about you, but I could wander around my neighborhood for hours and never find anyone who can say, “Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons” or “23 ratifications, only 27 to go!”
Which is why we need the Hibakusha Rebellion. The hibakushaare “we, the people.” We are all hibakushabecause we are all exposed to nuclear-industry-produced ionizing radiation, and we will all suffer (and possibly go extinct) in the event of nuclear war. We all have an interest in preventing any further use of nuclear weapons, which is what the hibakushahave been focused on for decades. But not many of us know we are hibakushaor that the hibakushaare rebelling or even what a hibakushais. So far, we’re not doing what needs to be done to liberate ourselves from the nuclear threat.
We should have climbed the Eiffel Tower and unfurled a banner during the World Cup. We should have unfurled a banner from the Washington Monument on the 4thof July. We should encircle the White House with ribbon (seriously, International Ribbon encircled the whole Pentagon and more with ten miles of ribbon in 1985). Lady Gaga should hold a We Are The World Concert for The Twin Threats. We should all link to Hiroshima and clog the streets on Hiroshima Day (August 6). The Pope should go to Nagasaki (actually, he will in November – all Catholics should listen carefully to what he says). Business as usual will bring the end of human civilization, maybe the end of human life. If it doesn’t happen quickly by nuclear war, it will happen slowly by climate disruption, but without dramatic change in how we relate to each other and to nature, it will happen. We need business disruption.
But disruption depends on you joining the Rebellion and getting all your friends to do the same. Nuclear abolition begins at home.