Nuclear Weapons Belong in Dustbin of HistoryMarch 30, 2017
1199SEIU President George Gresham holds the anti-nuclear petition our union signed onto, and stands in brotherhood with Keisuke Fuse, Director of International Affairs for Zenroren, the Japanese labor federation with one million members.
At a recent meeting with a representatives of Zenroen, a national trade union federation in Japan, 1199SEIU was asked to become a signatory to an international appeal for the elimination of nuclear weapons. We gladly agreed.
The signature campaign was initiated by the Hibakusha, a Japanese word for the surviving victims of the 1945 U.S. bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The bombings, at the very end of WWII, killed or injured more than 200,000 Japanese citizens, primarily civilians. Today, many Japanese citizens suffer from the radiation effects of the bombings.
We agree with the Hibakusha characterization of nuclear armaments as “weapons of the devil.” And today’s nuclear weapons, vastly more powerful than those dropped on Japan, have no place in any country’s arsenal. That is why, since WWII, nations have signed numerous agreements to reduce their stockpiles of nuclear weapons. These agreements all have represented important steps toward the ultimate goal – the total elimination of all nuclear weapons.
The dangers of nuclear weapons are many. Their use can destroy entire cities and nations. They also risk countless deaths through miscalculation by those who control their use. They also are vulnerable to theft or attacks by terrorists. And they are a drain of enormous resources that could be put to far better use improving the lives of millions, particularly those most in needsuch as quality affordable healthcare for all.
We signed the appeal also as a clear rebuke to our nation’s current administration, which has called for the senseless increase of our nuclear arsenal. In fact, the statements and policies of the administration have caused the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists to move the symbolic Doomsday Clock to two and a half minutes to midnight. The closer the minute hand is to midnight, the closer the scientists believe the world is to global catastrophe.
We will continue to stand with our Japanese sisters and brothers and all those who work for peace and disarmament until nuclear weapons are consigned to where they rightly belong – the dustbin of history.