August 6th, International Day for Peace. “Hiroshima Remembered”

August 9th, 2011

August 6th, International Day for Peace. “Hiroshima Remembered”

In Guelph, many members of the local chapter of the Council of Canadians and friends met at the Covered Bridge to share memories about the horrific atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki 66 years ago and our thoughts on the need for change.

Several people spoke about the problems created by the nuclear industry. Problems such as spending $35 billion dollars on new nuclear plants in Ontario that will create waste that is a continuing problem for hundreds of future generations as well as divert money from safer renewable energy and conservation.

Keith Bellairs, co-chair of the Guelph Chapter, reminded us of lessons learned from Hiroshima. He said that we should “speak truth to power” to overcome the spin and lies that persuade us to spend of billions of dollars on things like fighter planes and new nuclear power plants instead of finding better ways to live on this planet.

Keith Bellairs encourages us to “speak truth to power”.

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Rev. Arty Miller from Norfolk United Church reminded us that peace comes at a cost and that cost is justice. Until people are fair with each other all over the world, we will not have peace. For a peaceful world, we must be willing to share.

Dr. Ed Crispin spoke on behalf of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War.  http://www.ippnw.org/about-us.html He said we must recognize what we can do ourselves and we must never forget Hiroshima. If things are going to get better it is up to us.

Koto Nanjo, a young Japanese medical student who is visiting Guelph this summer, grew up hearing of many tragedies resulting from the bombs dropped 31 years before she was born. She told us how difficult it is for the Japanese to express their feelings about the tragedy of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. She was in tears as she described the new nuclear tragedy that Japan is suffering because of the failure of the power plants in Fukushima. She said, “People should understand how dangerous nuclear power is.” She was surprised and appreciative to find others outside her country who care about these issues.

Koto Nanjo shares her experience of Japan's nuclear plant failure at Fukushima.

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Kate Brookfield spoke about the work of The Voice of Women for Peace www.vowpeace.org and the importance of keeping informed through sources like PEACE magazine www.peacemagazine.org.

James Gordon , local activist concerned about many social justice issues, reminded us of the need to remember our common interests as we go from crisis to crisis. He then sang his wonderful song “Under the Same Beautiful Moon” urging us that “we must find ways to get all sides together” because we are all on the same side now.

Janet Wood said today,  August 6th in Hiroshima, the president of Japan declared that they are committing to phasing out nuclear power and shifting to a society that does not depend primarily on it in the future. Germany, France and Italy and other countries have all made similar commitments.

To close, we dropped flower blossoms from the covered bridge to float downstream with our hopes for unity and commitment to change.

Dropping petals for peace into the Speed River.

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Norah Chaloner, chapter co-chair, told us about a new book “The Rights of Nature”, that describes the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth.  Maude Barlow, David Suzuki, Margaret Atwood and others contributed to this book. The book is described on the www.canadians.org/rightsofnature/ and copies of the book are also at the Big Umbrella for $10 and will be at The Bookshelf in Guelph soon.

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