NewsMy message from Hiroshima

My message from Hiroshima

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On Saturday, I was proud to join the Prime Minister of Japan, Fumio Kishida, and the people of Hiroshima at a commemoration ceremony for an unprecedented catastrophe.

77 years ago, the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were attacked with nuclear weapons.

In the blink of an eye, tens of thousands of women, children and men were incinerated in a hellish fire, all the buildings were destroyed and the beautiful rivers of the two cities were stained with blood.

The nuclear bombardment condemned those who survived to live with a radioactive legacy, which caused them countless health problems and stigmatized them for life. 

I had the great honor of meeting with a group of such survivors, the hibakusha, whose numbers dwindle as the years go by, who told me, with unwavering courage, what they witnessed on that terrifying day in 1945.

It is time for world leaders to have as clear a vision as the hibakusha and to recognize what nuclear weapons really are, that is, that they do not make any sense or offer any kind of security, protection or shelter, but only generate death and destruction.

Three quarters of a century have passed since the nuclear mushrooms were erected over Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Since then, humanity has been through a Cold War, decades of absurd chicanery, and several terrifying near misses that could have wiped out humanity.

However, even during the most tense phases of the Cold War, the nuclear powers significantly reduced their nuclear arsenal. There was a broad consensus against the use and proliferation of nuclear weapons and nuclear tests.   

Today, we run the risk of forgetting what we learned from what happened in 1945.

A new arms race is gaining momentum, with governments spending hundreds of billions of dollars to upgrade their nuclear arsenal. Worldwide, nuclear arsenals number about 13,000 weapons. From the Middle East to the Korean Peninsula to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, geopolitical crises with serious nuclear overtones are spreading fast.

Once again, humanity is playing with fire. Only a mistake, a misunderstanding, a miscalculation separate us from the Apocalypse.

Leaders must stop taking the possibility of catastrophe lightly and eliminate the nuclear option once and for all.

It is unacceptable for nuclear weapon States to accept the possibility of a nuclear war breaking out, which would mean the end of humanity.

On the other hand, countries that possess nuclear weapons must be determined not to be the first to use them, reassure non-nuclear weapon states that they will not use—or threaten to use—against them, and be transparent about all time. We must end the drums of nuclear war.

Ultimately, there is only one way to solve the problem of the nuclear threat: not have any kind of nuclear weapons. In other words, all channels of dialogue, diplomacy and negotiation must be enabled to ease tensions and eliminate these deadly weapons of mass destruction. 

There are new signs of hope in New York, where the world has gathered for the Tenth Review Conference of the Parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. The Treaty is one of the main reasons why nuclear weapons have not been used since 1945, since it establishes legally binding commitments to achieve nuclear disarmament and can be a powerful catalyst for disarmament: the only way to eliminate these hideous weapons forever.

In addition, in June, members of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons met for the first time to develop a road map for a world free of these doomsday devices.

We cannot continue to accept that nuclear weapons jeopardize the future of humanity.

It is time to take into account the timeless message of the hibakusha : “No more Hiroshimas! No more Nagasakis!”

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