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The Nuclear Family

by John K. Stoner (December 15, 2017)

Of all the things for which Americans give their country a pass, claiming "exceptionalism," one of the most egregious is this nation’s history of use, threatened use, and stockpiling of insane numbers of nuclear weapons.

In my last blog I recommended an Advent reflection on the Holy Family in which we think of humanity as our family, and actually The Holy Family. click here  If we thought of our fellow humans as the holy family we would not be at peace with our country’s use of nuclear weapons against them, and stockpiling thousands of weapons as a threat against them.

Last Sunday, December 10, the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the International Campaign Against Nuclear weapons.  Did American media report that?  The speeches of the two women recipients can be seen here.  click here 

Today let us celebrate and give thanks for people of conscience who say "no" to the unconscionable in our world, and call the bluff of our ridiculous claims of exceptionalism. 

I will let Beatrice Fihn and Setsuko Thurlow, who received the prize, speak for themselves here in excerpts from their acceptance speeches.  The link to their full speeches is above. 

Nobel Lecture given by the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 2017, ICAN, delivered by Beatrice Fihn and Setsuko Thurlow, Oslo, 10 December 2017.
[Beatrice Fihn:]

At dozens of locations around the world - in missile silos buried in our earth, on submarines navigating through our oceans, and aboard planes flying high in our sky - lie 15,000 objects of humankind's destruction.

Perhaps it is the enormity of this fact, perhaps it is the unimaginable scale of the consequences, that leads many to simply accept this grim reality. To go about our daily lives with no thought to the instruments of insanity all around us.

For it is insanity to allow ourselves to be ruled by these weapons. Many critics of this movement suggest that we are the irrational ones,  the idealists with no grounding in reality. That nuclear-armed states will never give up their weapons.

But we represent the only rational choice. We represent those who refuse to accept nuclear weapons as a fixture in our world, those who refuse to have their fates bound up in a few lines of launch code.
Ours is the only reality that is possible. The alternative is unthinkable.
The story of nuclear weapons will have an ending, and it is up to us what that ending will be.
Will it be the end of nuclear weapons, or will it be the end of us?
One of these things will happen. ...
[Setsuko Thurlow :]
Your Majesties,
Distinguished members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee,
My fellow campaigners, here and throughout the world,
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great privilege to accept this award, together with Beatrice, on behalf of all the remarkable human beings who form the ICAN movement. You each give me such tremendous hope that we can - and will - bring the era of nuclear weapons to an end.
I speak as a member of the family of hibakusha - those of us who, by some miraculous chance, survived the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. For more than seven decades, we have worked for the total abolition of nuclear weapons.
We have stood in solidarity with those harmed by the production and testing of these horrific weapons around the world. People from places with long-forgotten names, like Moruroa, Ekker, Semipalatinsk, Maralinga, Bikini. People whose lands and seas were irradiated, whose bodies were experimented upon, whose cultures were forever disrupted.
We were not content to be victims. We refused to wait for an immediate fiery end or the slow poisoning of our world. We refused to sit idly in terror as the so-called great powers took us past nuclear dusk and brought us recklessly close to nuclear midnight. We rose up. We shared our stories of survival. We said: humanity and nuclear weapons cannot coexist.
Today, I want you to feel in this hall the presence of all those who perished in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I want you to feel, above and around us, a great cloud of a quarter million souls. Each person had a name. Each person was loved by someone. Let us ensure that their deaths were not in vain.
I was just 13 years old when the United States dropped the first atomic bomb, on my city Hiroshima. I still vividly remember that morning. At 8:15, I saw a blinding bluish-white flash from the window. I remember having the sensation of floating in the air. ...
There is much here to think about.  I invite you to think about it.  

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