Remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Seventy six years ago, atomic bombs were dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Thousands perished in these attacks, and countless others continued to suffer from the consequences of the bombings. This week and next Quakers are joining with others to remember the victims of this devastating violence, and to recommit to work for nuclear disarmament.
On 6 August 1945, an atomic bomb was detonated over Hiroshima. This was followed by a second bomb on Nagasaki three days later. As many as 220,000 people died from the bombing and its consequences.
Oliver Robertson, Head of Witness and Worship for Quakers in Britain said, "Nuclear weapons are horrific, inhumane agents of death. We must not let the passage of time dim our awareness of how utterly destructive they are. A fitting memorial to the dead of Hiroshima and Nagasaki would be ensuring that nobody else ever suffers the way they did."
There is no room for a nuclear weapon in an embrace.- Paul Parker for Quakers in Britain
Quakers in Britain support the work of Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, and others to rid the world of nuclear weapons. Alongside them and others, Quakers will be taking part in Hiroshima and Nagasaki remembrance events across the country to remember all the victims of the bombing, to reflect and to take action for nuclear disarmament.
The global nuclear disarmament movement achieved a historic milestone when, in January this year, the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons entered into force as international treaty law. However, the UK government refused to engage with the Treaty and decided to increase the number of Trident nuclear warheads the UK can stockpile by over 40 percent. In so doing, the UK is directly contravening its disarmament obligations under the UN's Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Quakers have supported and taken part in the nuclear disarmament movement since these weapons were first deployed. In 1955, Quakers' decision-making body, Meeting for Sufferings stated, "We believe that no one has the right to use [nuclear] weapons in their defence or to ask another person to use them on their behalf. To rely on the possession of nuclear weapons as a deterrent is faithless; to use them is a sin" (Quaker faith & practice 24.41).
Paul Parker, Recording Clerk for Quakers in Britain said, "Our planet faces a twin emergency. The crisis of climate change, and the crisis of nuclear arms. Both could destroy us all and render our planet uninhabitable – one through slow poison and the other a blinding flash. Both emergencies can only be resolved by people working together across our globe, reaching out our hands to one another in warm embrace. There is no room for a nuclear weapon in an embrace."