For the 70th anniversary of the bombings that in some short moments left over 200 000 dead and countless thousands wounded, various ceremonies commemorate these tragical events all around the world, of course at first in the two targeted cities. Seventy years later, the danger remains great of other cities and other populations being annihilated, including by accident, at a much larger scale. The very survival of humanity is at stake.
For its part, ACDN (Action des Citoyens pour le Désarmement Nucléaire) is organising with the Town Council of Saintes two Public Ceremonies at the Monument to the Fallen (Saintes, Cours national, in front of the Palais de Justice). One is on 6 August 2015 at 11am, the other on 9 August at 10 45am.
On 6 August the Nuclear Disarmament Flame, first lit in May 2001 by Mme Schmitt, Mayor of Saintes, will be lit again, as it regularly has been, in memory of the victims of Hiroshima. On 9 August it will be extinguished in memory of the victims of Nagasaki, at 11.02am (the time of the explosion). Between those two dates, it will burn to call for the abolition of nuclear weapons.
Saintes is, with Saint Pierre d’Oléron, one of only two French towns that belong to both the international network « Abolition 2000 » and to the « Mayors for Peace» network, both of which call for the abolition of nuclear weapons in conformity with the UN Charter and with International Law. « Abolition 2000 » groups over 2000 NGOs and municipalities around the world, and “Mayors for Peace” groups over 6700 towns in 160 countries, including over 150 French towns.
In 2004 Saintes received the visit of the Hiroshima Mission for World Peace, during which two hibakusha (nuclear bomb survivors) lit the Nuclear Disarmament Flame near the Monument to the Fallen and carried it through the city. In 2004, 2006 and 2008 Saintes hosted the RID-NBC rallies (International Rallies for Disarmament - nuclear, biological and chemical) during which the Hiroshima and Nagasaki trees were planted — two gingko biloba. In 2009 Saintes welcomed the World March for Peace and Nonviolence, accompanied by the Hiroshima Flame.
Now, on the 70th anniversary of the bombings that plunged humankind into the permanent anguish of a nuclear apocalypse — which is very possible since the current 16000 atom bombs are much more powerful than those of Hiroshima and Nagasaki — we say with the hibakusha : « Never Again! »
We know that the hibakusha are working for peace in the world and that they condemn militarism in all its forms, starting with Japanese militarism. As the Mayor of Hiroshima has reminded us (in his letter which will be read in French on 6 August), we know that they are not acting in a spirit of revenge but on the contrary with a desire to see their painful story serve all humanity.
It is in this spirit of solidarity and peace that we invite all you — and all citizens aware of the gravity of the stakes — to take part in these two ceremonies or in any similar event taking place nearer to their home.
More on this: Hiroshima, Nagasaki - an unknown story