August 6th, 2020 marks the 75th year of the World’s First Nuclear Bomb Attack on Hiroshima in Honshu Island of Japan. At 8.15 AM that the nuclear weapon ‘Little Boy’ was dropped on Hiroshima by the American bomber plane ‘Enola Gay’. Just three days later, on 9th August 1945, Nagasaki city in Japan’s Kyushu Island was devastated with ‘Fat Man’.
A 1998 study posited a figure of 202,118 registered deaths resulting from the Hiroshima and 40-80,000 in Nagasaki. Half of the deaths happened on the same day. Large numbers of people continued to die for months afterward from the effects of burns, radiation sickness, and other injuries, compounded by illness and malnutrition. In both cities, most of the dead were civilians and they accounted for more than 90% of all deaths registered.
Each year, visitors gather in thousands in remembrance and support of the victims of the biggest man-made humanitarian disaster at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. However, owing to the covid pandemic outbreak only the survivors known as ‘hibakusha’, their relatives, and a few dignitaries were allowed to gather at Hiroshima’s main event. Many of them dressed in black were wearing masks and offered silent prayers.
“We must never allow this painful past to repeat itself. Civil society must reject self-centered nationalism and unite against all threats… We must unite against threats to humanity and avoid repeating our tragic past.” – Shinzo Abe (Prime Minister of Japan)
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged Japan’s commitment to a nuclear-free world by stating that the country would bridge between world nuclear powers to reach common ground on the issue.
In order to bring about a world free of nuclear weapons, we must carry out our mission of passing down to future generations, beyond borders, the memory of the atomic bombings, never allowing it to fade away. I renewed my resolution in this regard. (4/4)
— PM's Office of Japan (@JPN_PMO) August 6, 2020
After offering the prayers for those who lost their lives, Hiroshima’s Mayor Kazumi Matsui spoke about the present global scenario and that world must unite against global threats including the coronavirus pandemic outbreak.
He also added, “We must never allow this painful past to repeat itself. Civil society must reject self-centered nationalism and unite against all threats… We must unite against threats to humanity and avoid repeating our tragic past.” urging everyone to work towards a nuclear-weapon-free world and demanded that Japan sign and ratify the United Nations Nuclear Weapons Ban treaty adopted in 2017.
Even after 75 years of one of the biggest attacks on humanitarian understanding and fraternity, the world has failed to understand that it had to come together against the use of nuclear arms. The number of nuclear weapons that stood at more than 70000 weapons at the peak time of the Cold War era has steadily reduced since the late 1980s. However, by the end of 2019, it was estimated that around 14000 nuclear weapons existed. Though the USA and Russia together own more than 90% of these nuclear weapons, they are modernizing their nuclear arms. Even the other countries with smaller nuclear arsenals are either developing and deploying newer systems or have expressed intentions to do so which is alarming. Even more alarming is the trend of the nations to hide statuses about their nuclear weaponry. Even the military spending of almost all regions of the world have seen increases. It is only in the Sub-Saharan African region that we witness a reduction in military expenditure.
These indicate the trends of embracing violence can also be attributed to the rise of hyper-nationalistic discourses across the major world nations. Even in India, one can witness the rise of the hyper-nationalistic discourses as violence is welcomed over peace. A case in point is how the media outlets reported the issue of India-China territorial conflict. The disputes occurred in June 2020 between the two nuclear-armed superpower nations of the South-Asian region in June 2020. The media houses, especially the TV media both at the national and regional levels largely had irresponsibly and dangerously pushed for war in its rhetoric. They completely dismissed any thoughts on the need for maintaining peace and resolving territorial disputes with diplomacy. The media failed to take note that war is always an indicator of the failure of diplomacy and negotiations.
At these times, the world must unite – right from the grassroots against not just the use of nuclear weapons but also against all forms of human rights violations, more so against the state-sponsored human rights violations. We must care for citizens of our nation and also of other nations, especially of the “third-world” nations. We must push for peace-building and socio-economic and cultural equality among all nations and communities by addressing other immediate and important concerns and join in with the survivors of the nuclear attacks.