Two-hundred-thousand people disappeared within a 300-metre radius of ground zero on Aug. 6, 1945 in Hiroshima and Aug. 9, 1945 in Nagasaki, leaving thousands more to die and many more to live a tortured by disease, which they passed on to the unborn.
The long-term devastation was not considered when the U.S. dropped its weapon of mass destruction in 1945.
To date, the U.S. is the only country to have used the bomb, but not the only one to continue research, development and other applications of uranium. Nor did the U.S. remain the only country to have the bomb; eight more joined them with others in the process.
Sixty-eight years later, over 20,000 more deadly nuclear warheads encircle the globe.
The U.S. and Russia have about 1,500 on five-minute launch ready alert. Some nuclear weapon states reserve the right for first strike or the right to use conventional weapons on nuclear facilities.
As well, NATO (of which Canada is a member) maintains the right to use nuclear weapons.
The drive to build more nuclear power plants is of great concern. Power plant accidents do happen, as with Three-Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima, with many incidents not reported to the public.
These all bears witness of the danger to humans and the environment; water and soil emit radiation, which is passed down through the food chain causing a drastic rise in cancer and other devastating illnesses.
The powers that be minimize the danger and even raise the levels they consider safe.
Yet each incident adds its disease to the mix.
The danger does not stop with warheads or power plants, either. The use of radioactive waste dubbed “Depleted Uranium,” or DU, coating missiles, bullets and tanks in order to protect our soldiers continues.
The effects of this low-level ionization/radiation are showing up in Serbia, Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan and who knows where else.
Medical staff in these countries are documenting the unprecedented rise in cancer, diabetes, auto-immune diseases and birth defects.
Yet these effects are denied or minimized by the user states.
Soldiers who served in these areas suffer from Gulf War Syndrome but are not being tested for radiation poisoning and therefore, receive no treatment.
As well, the fine dust from exploding DU flies on the wind and infects the world, including you and I.
A campaign by anti-nuclear activists instituted a legislated ban on uranium mining and exploration in B.C., but it can be lifted very easily.
In the Kootenay/Boundary/Okanagan we have uranium deposits. Disturbed deposits become radioactive and the emissions can’t be stopped.
If people are serious about not exposing children to further radiation, people must be vigilant. The public must let politicians of all levels know it does not support exploration and mining of uranium, it must insist that all excavation ensure no uranium lies underground.
People must work to bring the legislated ban into law that cannot be changed at the whim of the sitting government.
People must work to stop Canadian export of DU, Canadian complicity with nuclear weapons through NATO, and the drive to establish more nuclear power plants at home and globally.
If people truly care about life, they must stand up and voice the need for a planet free of human made destruction, whether that comes from fossil fuels or all the facets of the nuclear industry.
There are millions that raise their voices daily, with many more during Hiroshima/Nagasaki week.
People are asked you to join a gathering at Gyro Park in Grand Forks on Aug. 10 at 1 p.m.
There will be speakers, entertainers and information.
There will also be a silent auction, which local businesses and individuals have donated items to.
– Contributed by Laura Savinkoff