It’s easy to get into a social justice silo: ‘I’m a peace activist’ or ‘we must do more about Climate Change’. Well, if you need any convincing of the connectedness of these issues then try this quote by Bruce Kent, President of MAW(Movement for the Abolition of War), Vice President of CND
“The elephant in the kitchen when it comes to Climate Change is clearly the world’s military. The world spends something like 2 trillion US dollars a year on its military. At least half of that vast sum goes on military production with a massive CO2 output. The military are both a major cause of climate change and hence, of the conflicts which result from the movement of peoples as deserts spread.”
We briefly reported last month how Bishop Marcus had signed a call to action by Christian CND on the issue of the continuing possession of nuclear weapons. Their statement was very clear:
“As Christians we reject nuclear weapons. We believe that their capacity to indiscriminately kill millions of our brothers and sisters, and to catastrophically destroy God’s creation, makes them contrary to the teaching of Jesus Christ.”
It echoes the words of Pope Francis, who said in 2017 that humanity cannot fail
“to be genuinely concerned by the catastrophic humanitarian and environmental effects of any employment of nuclear devices. If we also take into account the risk of an accidental detonation as a result of error of any kind, the threat of their use, as well as their very possession, is to be firmly condemned …”
Last month it was the 75th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Across Yorkshire there were commemoration events to mark this significant anniversary.
In Bradford, there is a memorial event in Norfolk Gardens every year at this time. However, concerns about the limited space available led them to moving the event online. Our photo shows two veretan J&P supporters (Mollie & David Somerville on the far left and far right of the picture).
In Leeds there was a vigil in Park Square attended by over 40 people (suitably distanced). After laying down a wreath at the foot of Park Square’s Ginkgo tree, the Lord Mayor (in the pink jacket) proceeded to read out the Mayor of Nagasaki’s own anniversary speech commemorating the lives lost 75years ago and reaffirming the peace movement’s commitment to nuclear abolition. Councillor Blackburn read out the Mayor of Hiroshima’s annual speech.
There were also events held in Hebden Bridge and in Keighley.
On 7 July 2017 – following a decade of advocacy by ICAN and its partners – an overwhelming majority of the world’s nations adopted a landmark global agreement to ban nuclear weapons, known officially as the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. It will enter into legal force once 50 nations have signed and ratified it.
So far, 44 nations have ratified this treaty. The UK is not among them. It is only through continued pressure from people like ourselves that we will be able to change UK Government policy. Given the current pandemic situation, and the financial consequences of what we are going through, it makes it all the more obscene that, in our name, our Government continues to spend billions on immoral weapons of mass destruction.