It’s been 70 years since the the US dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during WWII. The attack killed at least 140,000 people in Hiroshima alone and remains the only incident of nuclear warfare in the history of man.
As a Vice President of Mayors for Peace, Manchester commemorated the 70th Anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to show solidarity with their common aim for a nuclear weapons free world.
Organised by the NFLA, the event was held at the Manchester University Museum and featured readings by the Lord Mayor of Manchester, Cllr Paul Murphy, OBE, Sean Morris, Principal Policy Officer at MCC and UK and Ireland Mayors for Peace Secretary, and Will Spinks, the Chief Operating Officer at Manchester University.
I was honoured to read the official City of Hiroshima Peace Declaration which was given by Mayor Kasumi Matsui, Mayor of Hiroshima. The declaration details the cry of the Hibakusha (atomic bomb survivors) who still live with the physical, emotional and mental trauma of their past. You can read the declaration here:
Gianni Pittella MEP, President of the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament, also attended the event and read the UN Peace Affirmation which declared its hope in the future and its choice for life over death. You can read it here:
My North West Labour colleague, Julie Ward also attended the event and also did a reading in memory of the victims and their families.
There are still some 15,000 nuclear weapons in the world today, the majority of which are owned by the United States and Russia. The UK, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and possibly North Korea are also nuclear-armed. Trident is Britain’s nuclear weapons system and is made up of four submarines – one of which is on patrol at all times – carrying up to 40 nuclear warheads on board. Each of these warheads is eight times more powerful than the atomic bomb which was dropped on Hiroshima.
At the commemoration, we called for a redoubling of efforts to eradicate nuclear arms so that the world can live in peace and safety. Large scale death and destruction is not the answer to our global challenges be they war, climate change or poverty. Movements like World Mayors for Peace and the NFLA work to encourage local authorities to adopt anti-nuclear policies and to eventually influence national policy. Let us look forward to a day when the world is safe from nuclear disarmament.