Individual members of the Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) will join with Mayors for Peace members in the UK and Ireland and around the world to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the nuclear weapon attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which occur this week.
The August 6th and August 9th 1945 attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki devastated each city and led to the deaths of over 200,000 people. They remain testament to the hugely destructive power of the atom bomb.
The survivors of the atomic bombs – the hibakuska – along with the political leaderships of both Hiroshima and Nagasaki have advocated peace and reconciliation ever since the attacks. Led by Mayor Kazumi Matsui of Hiroshima and Mayor Tomihisa Taue of Nagasaki, the two Japanese cities will be holding moving peace ceremonies this week, and have urged the 6,777 fellow members of Mayors for Peace to host similar events.
The Nuclear Free Local Authorities were established 35 years ago in November 1980 to campaign for a nuclear weapons free world, and its members will hold special commemorative events this week. NFLA co-operates closely with the Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the Mayors for Peace (1) and will remember all those innocent civilians who have been affected in conflicts up to the present day, particularly from the effects of radiation from the weapons and the many weapon tests around the world over the past seven decades.
Manchester City Council, a Vice President of Mayors for Peace, will be holding a special event in conjunction with Manchester Museum on August 6th. Led by the Lord Mayor of Manchester, it will include readings given by MEPs, senior councillors, members of faith communities and peace groups, children and teachers and will be centred on a two minutes silence.
Glasgow City Council is holding a special ceremony in Glasgow City Chambers in cooperation with CND Scotland including readings and music led by the Lord Provost of Glasgow. There are also civic events at various NFLA and Mayors for Peace members across the UK and Ireland in places as diverse as Edinburgh, Paisley, Dundee, London, Leeds, Bradford, Sheffield, Birmingham, Milton Keynes, Oxford, Hebden Bridge, Dublin, Cardiff, Newport and at the National Eisteddfod in Wales. (2)
Amongst the events taking place in London include a showing of the controversial film ‘The War Game’. This film showed what a nuclear weapon attack in the UK could have looked like. Made in 1965 by the BBC, it was banned and did not receive transmission until 1985. This event on August 6th will include a discussion with the film’s editor Michael Bradsell, CND Chief Executive Kate Hudson and Bruce Kent in the London Friends Meeting House, to conclude a full day of events across London. (3)
Dozens of smaller events are taking place across the British and Irish Isles and across the world. All of them are calling for the nine nuclear weapon states and non-nuclear weapon states to return to the negotiating table after the dismal failure of the recent Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference.
NFLA Vice Chair and NFLA Scotland Convener Councillor Bill Butler said:
This year’s commemoration events for Hiroshima Day and Nagasaki Day are particularly poignant with it being 70 years since the devastating attacks on the two cities. As councillors we know such attacks could have easily been on our own cities at many points since August 1945. There remain thousands of nuclear weapons pointed at our town and cities ready to be used at a moment’s notice. It remains as imperative now, as it was when the NFLA was established in 1980, to work intensively for a nuclear weapons free world. NFLA is immensely proud to stand in full solidarity with the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and billions more people across the planet who want to see these horrendous weapons being completely disarmed. The average age of the survivors of the bomb is now over 80 years old. For their sake, and for the sake of our children and grandchildren, we have to still campaign tirelessly for a nuclear weapons free world.”
For more information please contact Sean Morris, NFLA Secretary on 0161 234 3244.
Notes for editors:
(1) Mayors for Peace http://www.mayorsforpeace.org
(2) For a full list of UK and Ireland events taking place to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear weapon attacks go to the Network for Peace website – http://www.networkforpeace.org.uk/calendar or CND’s Remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki webpage – http://www.cnduk.org/cnd-media/2203
(3) CND UK screening of ‘The War Game’, Friends House, 173 – 177 Euston Road, London from 6pm – 8pm. http://www.cnduk.org/e/hiroshima-day-screening-of-the-war-game