Remember Hiroshima


“Learning about the bomb through presentations was one thing, however, seeing with my own eyes how it changed the landscape of Hiroshima was an emotional, heavy experience.”

Yorkshire Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND)’s Sam Legg travelled to Hiroshima earlier this year. In this article he writes about how the trip impacted his campaigning for a world without nuclear weapons.

In April, I visited Hiroshima for the G7 Youth Summit. I was very grateful to have been chosen as a representative for the UK peace movement at this meeting, alongside other representatives from Christian CND and SCRAP Weapons. Whilst the anti-nuclear movement in the UK is not as strong among young activists as it once was, meeting over 50 other young peace activists filled me with enthusiasm for what is possible.

The summit aimed to present a youth voice to the G7 leaders, by using the summit’s presence in Hiroshima as an opportunity to highlight the dangers of nuclear weapons. Over the course of three days’ worth of workshops, talks, and museum trips, all the participants gathered knowledge to strengthen our understanding to collectively write a youth statement for the G7 leaders.

Learning about the bomb through presentations was one thing, however, seeing and hearing its impact was another. Seeing with my own eyes how it changed the landscape of Hiroshima was an emotional, heavy experience. But it was the voice of the Hibakusha – those directly affected by the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki – that really stood out to me as the most powerful part of the trip.

The voices of those that lived a life pre, during, and post-bomb won’t be around forever. These stories are heartfelt and first hand. Whilst it is indeed important to recognise the statistics, being told stories from Hibakusha definitely deepens the realness of the bomb and, perhaps most importantly, its impact on the individual daily lives of people. Having reflected on and heard of the abuse that survivors such as Ms. Keiko Ogura would endure for years afterwards – the constant prejudice, and constant worry about whether the radiation would affect her children, what needs to be spoken of more is the post-bomb impact.

Whilst the G7 summit did not bring the progress we wanted, we must not give up! Moving forward, we must think of ways to utilise the powerful stories of Hibakusha, so that we create no further victims of nuclear weapons. There is no action without inclusion, so we must consider intersectionality and seek ways to engage in more discussions internationally. This should be with other peace activists and those affected communities of nuclear weapons (including those outside of Japan e.g., the Marshall Islands). I strongly believe that a more peaceful world is possible. It will take time, but it is worthwhile pursuing that goal.

Please mark the anniversary of the bombings (6th & 9th August). Use this time to reflect, strategise, and enthuse new audiences (and old ones!).

Featured image: Genbaku Dome, a surviving building on the corner of the Hiroshima peace memorial park. Photo credit: Oilstreet under the Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0)

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