The terror of Hiroshima, a reminder that nuclear weapons remain a global threat – a global issue

The first nuclear weapons deployed by the United States indiscriminately killed tens of thousands of non-combatants, but also left indelible scars on the immediate survivors, which they and their descendants still carry today.

“The Red Cross hospital is full of corpses. A person’s death is a solemn and sad thing, but I don’t have time to think about it because I have to collect their bones and dispose of their bodies,” said a 25-year-old at the time The woman gave testimony on tape, 1.5 kilometers from Hiroshima Ground Zero.

“It’s really been a living hell, I think, and the cruel vision is still in my head.”

To highlight the tireless work of survivors, known in Japan as hibakusha, the UN Office Disarmament Affairs, at the just-concluded United Nations Headquarters in New York with an exhibition titled: Three quarters of a century after Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Hibakusha – the brave survivors working for a nuclear-free world.

It vividly reproduces the devastation and devastation caused by the first atomic bomb (the atomic bomb) and its successor, the more powerful hydrogen bomb (hydrogen bomb), which began testing in the 1950s.

seek to save humanity

In the wake of the bombings in Japan, the bombers conducted an intense investigation aimed at preventing history from repeating itself.

Today, the dwindling band, with an average age of 83, continues to share their stories and discoveries with supporters at home and abroad, “to save[ing] Humanity … saves itself at the same time by learning from our experience,” they said in the brochure No More Hibakusha – Message to the World, which accompanies the exhibition.

Recounting a day in Hiroshima where 11 members of her family slept together in a bomb shelter, a then 19-year-old woman recounts three young children who died during the night while demanding water.

A shirt torn apart in a nuclear explosion is an artifact in the disarmament exhibition.

“The next morning, we carried their bodies out of the shelter, but their faces were so swollen and black that they couldn’t tell them apart, so they were laid flat on the ground and identified by size”.

These brave survivors proved that peace can never be achieved with nuclear weapons.

“Absolute Evil”

A group of elderly hibakushas named Nihon Hidankyo have dedicated their lives to a non-proliferation treaty that they hope will eventually lead to a total ban on nuclear weapons.

“On the crowded train on the White Island Line, I was dazed for a while with my eldest daughter, one year and six months old, in my arms. I regained my senses from her cries and found that there was no one else on the train,” said one A 34-year-old woman testified in the pamphlet. She was only two kilometers from the epicenter of Hiroshima.

Another 24-year-old woman who fled to relatives in Nagasaka remembered “People, skin drooping, stumbled along.They slammed down and died one by one‘, adding, “Until now I still have nightmares and people say, ‘It’s a neurosis'”.

One person who entered Hiroshima after the atomic bomb recalled in the exhibition, “That horrific scene – even decades later, I can’t forget it”.

A woman who was 25 at the time said: “When I was out, it was as dark as night. Then it got brighter and brighter and I could see the burnt people crying and running in the utter chaos. It was hell. …I found my neighbor trapped under a collapsed concrete wall…Only half of his face was exposed.He was burned alive“.united for peace

Hidankyo’s firm belief remains: “Nuclear weapons are an absolute evil that cannot coexist with humanity. There is no alternative but to abolish them”.

A photo in a nuclear disarmament exhibit where an atomic bomb survivor is being treated.

In August 1956, survivors of the 1945 atomic bombing formed the “Japan A and H Bomb Victims’ Organization Federation” in Hiroshima and three days later in Nagasaki.

In 1954, 23 men on a Japanese tuna fishing boat were contaminated with nuclear radiation from a hydrogen bomb test at Bikini Atoll, and they were not shaken by the movement to ban atomic bombs sparked by the Daigo Fukuryu Maru disaster. Work to prevent others from becoming nuclear victims.

“We have assured us of the will to save humanity from crisis, but also ourselves, through the lessons we have learned from our experience,” they declared at the forming meeting.

The spirit of the manifesto, linking their own suffering to the arduous task of preventing them from continuing, still resonates in the movement today.

‘strong, strong’

In an interview with UN News, Erico Platt, the Japanese art director who designed the exhibition at UN headquarters, acknowledged that the COVID-19 pandemic has inevitably reduced the number of people able to see the exhibition in person and has deterred older hibakusha participate.

past, “at least 10 to 30 [hibakusha] Come on-site and do on-site referrals outside the UN, such as churches, schools,” she said. “But this time because of the pandemic, no one can come.”

She also shared another challenge of working with seniors, explaining that one of the bombers had died after the exhibit was sent to print.

“I listed him as one of the survivors group, but since he died I have had to call the printing company to stop it and revise the text…to the past tense…[leaving] It only takes two weeks to produce nearly 50 panels, she said.

According to his team, the late Sunao Tsubo was studying at a university in Hiroshima when the bomb struck.

“I was blown away at least ten meters…I was burned to almost all parts of my body. After a week, I lost consciousness. It took me over a month to recover [it]”.

Since 1945, Mr. Tsuboi has been hospitalized several times for radiation sequelae.

Ms Platt said she hoped there would be more media coverage to “get some attention”, saying, “I think it’s the best show I’ve ever done. I think it’s very strong, strong but in a way very beautiful”.

promote disarmament

Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty) negotiated in the late 1960s to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament.

About a decade later, a Japanese delegation calling for the UN to ban nuclear weapons has asked the UN to investigate the damage caused by the atomic bombs used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the conditions of the survivors.

The first international symposium on the situation was held in 1977, based on three national surveys of atomic bomb survivors and documented work by experts in various fields. explosion car become internationally recognized.

The exhibit shows five years later, with the rise of anti-nuclear and peace movements, the United States and Russia have attempted to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Europe. Hidankyo sent a 43-member delegation to the Second UN Special Session on Disarmament (SSDII).

speak, be heard

The bombers then became increasingly vocal about their suffering, hoping it could help chart a roadmap to abolishing nuclear weapons.

In oral testimony, they shared their experiences during and after the bombing, and issued a written message appealing to the world at the 2010 NPT Review Conference.

In July 2017, the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), which complements the NPT, was adopted and entered into force on January 22 last year.

exist emission UN Disarmament Agenda 2018, secure our future, Secretary-General Antonio GuterresSay, “The existential threat posed by nuclear weapons to humanity must inspire us to complete new and decisive actions to completely eliminate nuclear weapons. We owe Hibakusha…and our planet”.

“Bold Steps” Required

The UN secretary general said the world thanked the bombers for their “courage and moral leadership in the global fight against the nuclear threat”.

In addition, the United Nations is committed to ensuring that their testimony continues as a warning to each new generation.

“Hibakusha is a vivid reminder that nuclear weapons pose an existential threat and that the only guarantee not to use them is their total elimination,” Mr. Guterres said. “This goal has remained a United Nations goal since the first General Assembly resolution in 1946. Top Disarmament Priority”.

Although the Tenth Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, originally scheduled for January Coronavirus disease During the pandemic, he continued to urge world leaders to “draw in the spirit of Hibakusha”, put aside differences and take “bold steps towards the collective goal of eliminating nuclear weapons.”