THE 75th anniversary next month of the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki is being marked by renewed campaigning against nuclear arms.
Between 129,000 and 226,000 people are thought to have died in the attacks, most of them civilians, which led Japan to surrender to the Allies. Many others died of the bombs’ effects afterwards.
The Quakers are among those who have pledged their support for an open letter from Christian CND, which calls on the UK government to abandon its plans to replace Trident and work towards a global ban on nuclear arms. It states: “As Christians we reject nuclear weapons. We believe that their capacity to indiscriminately kill millions of our brothers and sisters, and to catastrophically destroy God’s creation, makes them contrary to the teaching of Jesus Christ.
“Recent events have shown that the global community must work together to overcome the challenges facing us in the 21st century. We must speak out and call for action to ensure that the horrific events witnessed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki are never repeated.”
The head of peace programmes and faith relations for Quakers in Britain, Marigold Bentley, said: “Humanity finds itself in 2020, 75 years since the world realised with horror the devastation it was able to inflict on itself, shamefully still unable to reject nuclear weapons.
“Quakers have consistently regarded them as both faithless and sinful, and are committed to working for nuclear disarmament, holding hard to our religious vision of a world without war. We are tasked with educating each generation of the danger of nuclear weapons, and to the many opportunities we have before us to rid the world of them.”
The UN has said that the “dangerous legacy” of nuclear weapons is still having an impact on many communities. In New Mexico, where the Trinity nuclear tests, in July 1945, preceded the use of the use of the weapons against Japan, the detonation of hundreds of nuclear bombs was still affecting the lives of numerous indigenous people, it said.
UN Special Procedures, the organisation’s group of human-rights experts, posted on Twitter this month that “75 years after the #TrinityTest, the hazards of nuclear testing continue to affect the lives of many innocent victims. Governments worldwide should redouble efforts for global nuclear disarmament.”
The World Council of Churches has also marked the forthcoming anniversary by calling for an end to nuclear weapons. It applauded the five additional states that have ratified a ban on nuclear weapons — Namibia, Belize, Lesotho, Fiji and Botswana — bringing the total number to date up to 40.
Owing to Covid–19, many planned anniversary events will be organised online, including webinars, music, teach-ins, fasts, vigils, and exhibitions.