Hiroshima-Nagasaki Speech, August 2008 – 63rd World Conference Against A&H Bombs

I am a co-founder of the Hiroshima-Nagasaki Peace Committee of Metropolitan Washington and have regularly attended the annual World Conference Against the A & H Bombs held in Hiroshima and Nagasaki Japan.  The Japan President’s commemorative message is broadcast world wide and the conference is attended by up to 50,000 people from most of the world’s nations though very few Americans.   I offer a speech to the conference, participate in its proceedings and attend many meetings and forums in other cities as invited by peace activists and Hibakusha, the survivors of the bombings.  In the photo I had been invited along with the Indian brother to place a wreath on the peace memorial in Nagasaki.  I and other activists offer support for the world struggle against the A & H bombs, and engage others to join our efforts to see that others have what they need – food, clothing, homes, medical care, education – as the best means to achieve peace in this world.

Greetings friends, comrades, fellow justice-fighters and peace-lovers.  This letter is being submitted in my absence from this important conference that commemorates one of the most heinous, brutal and barbaric attacks at that time known to humankind – that was the dropping of the A and H bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima in Japan, ushering in a new era.  Social and political views affecting how people all over the world changed the ways we all look at how we will deal with problems faced by freedom- and justice-lovers the world over.  The U.S. government has moved to become the world’s most feared country, because they saw what happened to Japan’s own imperialist effort.  The beginning of the new world order was taking its first steps as a so-called superpower… meaning “I’ve got the bomb so beware… or you will be next!!”  World Peace In JapanThe USSR, as it was known then, developed its own bomb – followed by France, then China, Israel, Pakistan, India and South Africa (though not necessarily in that chronological order – nor are they the only ones) – and for more than 40 years the so-called “Cold War” held the world hostage with threats and counter threats of world annihilation.  The right wing in the U.S. invented a word for it – Armageddon.  These same right wing forces the world over have been operating as fascist states –fascism, where government and business work together.  During this period, some of the worst atrocities of Imperialism happened to so many countries that even the United Nations, founded on principes of equality for all, became a victim – with special countries that operate as plutocracies at home holding veto power over the will of the World, forcing people to go without justice.  There have been many years without a world war, yet many countries all over the world have been bullied and/or actually bombed into the stone age, i.e., Afghanistan, Iraq and others, all because they had something the Nuclear Boys wanted; and attacked to take their stuff!  Now, those of us who want peace are working tirelessly to get rid of the bomb, but none of the craziness started with the contraire – it all started with an imperialist aim and fight – in short, war.

The above-mentioned just barely touched upon the logical conclusion, that “Peace is not just the absence of war, but the presence of Justice”.  What does this mean?  Real justice, i.e., housing, food, jobs, education, medical services, all social, economic and political justice and equality – Real justice relates to all countries and their people.  This might mean looking at some giant corporations – the World Bank, IMF, even the WTO and their practices for starters; All other organizations that oversee nuclear and ‘fair trade’ including the IAEA, as well as NAFTA and GATT – any organization with fiduciary responsibility.  This will not happen until a good portion of this/our world governments or its people demand justice for all.  Even questions of global warming, hunger, the commodification of water, AIDS and genocides of any group of people can be helped by such a movement to stand for justice and against imperialism.

This can, must and will be the direction of the next few generations once we first identify the problems of thinking and not weapons.  Because it is ideas that control what we do; and it is not what we do it is who we are.  People are basically good, even the bad ones; but even they can be convinced to use diplomacy driven by justice and not by fear.  Fear comes from not knowing.  We know that justice takes away the need to win freedom by fighting.  It is the need for justice that drives the necessity for class warfare.  This is not easy when the experience of humankind over several thousand years has been to fight for freedom and, in some instances that thinking will continue for a few hundreds more.

But we who want peace must understand and believe that peace is a product of a just world and not one at war.  By helping victims of bullies to survive and bring justice to their cause is the only recipe for peace.  These ideas are driven by feelings of love and respect for all humankind; also, a recognition of the beauty of the diversity that lives in all of us.  We must eliminate that suffering of our brothers and sisters, today with the rise of worldwide gas and food prices, plus families losing their homes and savings and investments, by understanding the potential and the mission has to be much greater than to rid of world of bombs.  The struggle to support Article 9 embodies the larger goal before us.  Our task is to rid the world of bad ideas, i.e., “because I told myself that I am special and you are inferior; I have the right to treat you anyway I please…”   This is, and has always been a bad idea.  What about “Do unto others as you would have them do to you,” an idea that is found in every major religion.  This is the road to No More Nagasakis and Hiroshimas and the many others.  Remember, Nuclear, from mining to the bomb, kills.  And, finally, Peace is more than the absence of war – it is the presence of justice.

By Rick Tingling-Clemmons, Hiroshima-Nagasaki Anti-War Coalition, Washington, DC

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