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Commemoration of the 70th Anniversary of Hiroshima

On 6 August 2015 Sutton for Peace and Justice hosted a commemoration of the bombing of Hiroshima at Carshalton Ponds. The event was led by Doris Richards:

On behalf of Sutton for Peace and Justice I wish to thank you for coming to this 70th Anniversary Commemoration event to remember the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

We are here to remember the victims and ensure that such barbarity is never repeated. We will start with poetry, then the floating of the lanterns followed by a minute of silence; then there will be time for our own contemplation as we pledge ourselves never to forget.

Hiroshima – a poem by Hiromu Morishita

Watch dutifully
With your eyes
Here, something happened that shouldn’t have,
Here now, something irreparable continues,
Here tomorrow, signs of everyone’s destruction
may appear.
Don’t watch with one eye
Don’t watch with your arm or with your head.
With the heart of one who endures despair

Lighted lanterns were then launched on the pond and a minute silence was observed.

The following poem is inscribed on the Hiroshima Monument

No More Hiroshima – composed by Sankichi Toge

Give back the Human
Give back my father, give back my mother;
Give grandpa back, grandma back;
Give me back myself.
Give back the human race.
As long as this life lasts, this life,
Give back peace
That will never end.

A single bomber. A single bomb. The explosion’s suddenness and simultaneity were dumbfounding. It seemed everywhere in the city at the same time, but each individual experienced it as a direct hit on his or her neighbourhood.

And this marks the aspect of this event’s hugeness: the scale of human suffering.

The number of dead the witnesses saw, the monstrous burns and bloating bodies of those still alive, their insistent and unanswerable appeals for help from all sides. Since the weapon had never been used before, it made no sense and it fitted no pattern of warfare, let alone other human experience.

The bigger the event, the less we are able to recognise that, no matter how many people wail their laments, we will never come to terms with our truest feelings, indeed in our attempts to write and speak atrocity , language itself becomes suspect. Because we still live in this atomic landscape, locating ourselves in relation to Hiroshima informs our current experience.

We remember with deep sorrow the 6th August 1945 when the United States dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and 3 days later on Nagasaki. The bombs and the consequent firestorms raised temperatures to 4000 Degrees Centigrade obliterating the cities and killing everyone within one kilometre – between 150,000 and 246,000 people in total. Those closest to the explosion died instantly, their bodies turned to black char, and within minutes 9 out of 10 people half a mile from ground zero were dead.

We re-affirm that we must do all we can to ensure nuclear weapons are not used again.

The British Government should honour it’s signing of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, under which the UK has no right to possess nuclear weapons, is legally bound to disarm.

At this commemorative event we urge the government to scrap the Trident nuclear weapons system, and to spend that money for peaceful purposes – affordable homes, schools and hospitals.

At the dawn of the 21st Century,
We honour this passage through darkness.
We must have the courage to enter
The void again…….and again,
Emerging with new life
Healing only comes through learning to forgive,
And making peace with our past.
Peace cannot be kept by force,
It can only be achieved by understanding.

Please take your time to leave, remember to pass on this message to those around you and those in positions of power who can influence the decision making.

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