70 years on: what have we learned from Hiroshima?

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We still live in a world where this disaster can be repeated.

It’s one of the darkest events in our history. At 8.15am, August 6 1945. The moment the ‘Little Boy’ atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.

Three days later, the ‘Fat Man’ bomb hit Nagasaki, killing more than 70,000 and prompted Japans surrender on August 15.

Although it was the atrocity that unleashed nuclear war on the world, it may have saved half a million lives and was used to end World War II at the earliest time possible.

A blinding light, a deafening explosion, and a fireball spanning over 256 meters with a temperature estimated to have been well over a million degrees Celsius. ‘Little Boy’ took the lives of more than 140,000 unsuspecting people and seriously injured 100,000 more.

The co-pilot who dropped the bomb could only remark, “My God, what have we done?”

70 years later, Hiroshima still remembers. More than ten thousand people gathered in Hiroshima’s peace park and stood for a minute silence, reflecting on the horror that unfolded there.

Sadly it seems that important lessons have gone unnoticed. With more than 20,000 tons of TNT unleashed and over 2,000 additional nuclear tests having taken place since that day across Central Asia, North Africa, North America, and the South Pacific.

Unsurprisingly many of the areas used for testing have never recovered. Radioactive fallout, poisoned ground water, cancer, leukaemia – just some of the poisonous legacies of nuclear testing.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon states that “The best way to honor the victims of past tests is to prevent any in the future.”

So what can we do?

1.Talk about it

Start a conversation with our policy makers.

70 years on, Hiroshima’s mayor, Kazumi Matsui is doing just this- he is challenging all world leaders to confront the reality of atomic bombings to initiate a national framework to eliminate them.

For every nuclear weapons test performed over the globe, Matsui issues a formal letter of protest to the country responsible.

We need to follow his lead. One way to ban nuclear explosions everywhere, by everyone is The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban-Treaty (CTBT). Sadly this treat is yet to be implemented due to key countries still to sign, they must be called upon to act now to protect not only our future, but our younger generations future.

Reach out to your local member and let them know why an international treaty to ban atomic weapons is important to you.

2. Educate yourself

In order to truly understand the atrocity of nuclear war, we must listen to their stories so we can never forget what horror nuclear arms can cause.

Those who survived these attacks are now over 70 years old.

If they are not in hospital, they living in fear for the day when the effects of the radiation may strike them down.

Many have documented their stories so they can be passed onto the next generation so that what they saw is never forgotten.

There are many articles online that can help us to learn and educate ourselves to fully understand what the current situation around nuclear testing means for us and our future.

  3. Join the fight

The 70th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing reminds us that atomic weapons remain a very real threat to our way of life. There is no better time to work together to stigmatize and condemn nuclear weapons testing.

Together, we can send our leaders a strong message that nuclear weapons have no legitimate place in our world.

You can make a difference by supporting organizations that are actively working towards nuclear disarmament.

With International Day Against Nuclear Tests coming up on August 29th why not set up a fundraising page for one those many causes to show you really care about making a positive difference.

You can create your page quickly and easily with everydayhero here.

 

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