Unless public opinion is mobilised and nuclear abolition becomes a serious issue, nothing much will change globally. A citizens’ movement is needed to challenge the countries that possess the world’s suicidal, genocidal and ecocidal weapons and to put nuclear abolition at the top of the international political agenda.
The Canberra Commission on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons was established by the Australian Government in 1995 to propose practical steps towards a nuclear weapons free world. It was later closed down. “A nuclear weapon free world can be secured and maintained through political commitment, and anchored in an enduring and binding legal framework,” The Commission stated. Australia should contribute to the growing pressure to finally abolish all nuclear weapons.
All our hopes and plans for the future exist under the shadow of a catastrophic threat – one that could kill millions of people in a few moments and destroy civilisation. Although there are other threats, such as global warming, it is nuclear weapons that are the greatest immediate danger.
2011 was the 66th Anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, August 6 1945 and the bombing a few days later of Nagasaki. A grim kind of similarity is evident in Japan today.
The Fukushima nuclear reactor hit by a tsunami after one of the biggest earthquakes on record is still some 4 months later suffering meltdown and spewing out radiation many times the accepted limit. The Government and the electricity company has ordered residents to abandon a bigger and bigger area till at present the area there is a 30 km exclusion zone known as the ‘zone of alienation’. Radiation has leaked into the sea and ships are advised to avoid the area by 30 kms but many shipping lines are unsatisfied by that and are sailing some as much as 140 kms around the area.
In the union movement it has always been said that peace is union business and nowhere is more evident as we approach Hiroshima Day 2011. The risk of Japanese products being contaminated and being a risk to workers (sailors and dockworkers) as well as to the ordinary consumer in Australia has been highlighted recently by the MUA. The pro nuclear industry has hit back and attempted to quieten any dissent about Australia’s nuclear industry from its uranium mining and its participation in the nuclear war fighting policies of the US. If one faulty reactor can cause so much grief and economic harm we can easily see what absolute havoc would be unleashed on the world if we went onto a nuclear war.
Fukushima and Hiroshima have many similarities both have ground zeros, civilian causalities of enormous numbers, and victims condemned to slow lingering deaths from radiation induced cancers. The fight against the nuclear industry and nuclear war has to be reengaged this Hiroshima day and the message by the Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki heeded rather that politely ignored. Each year they say “Hiroshima Never Again’ with a few variations.
Hiroshima Day is more than a look at the nuclear industry it is also an anti-war day and pro peace day. Nuclear weapons were produced for war and have been used once in anger but now with many countries owning multiple warheads the risks of a nuclear war are even greater. The war in Afghanistan continues to use up the lives of Australian soldiers (total now 27 at June 29) with nearly 200 seriously injured who will be a burden on the tax payer for the rest of their lives. On top of this war continues to eat up about $1.3 billion per year and has cost us in excess of $10 billion so far.
The exorbitant amount of money spent by the Australian Government on the military continues to rob ordinary people of much needed resources for housing, welfare, fair wages and education. Hiroshima Day 2011 is a time for unionists to get out and protest for an end to the nuclear war cycle and an end to war and preparation for war.