Message from Hiroshima to Kansas City

By Steve Leeper

The people of Hiroshima are grateful to Kansas City peacemakers for their tireless efforts to fight the misguided plan for a new nuclear bomb-making plant in Kansas City.

Kansas City peacemakers have helped Hiroshima do several poster exhibitions and videoconferences, so we know they can show you exactly what happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. If you look at those posters and then stop to think that, compared to the bombs the Kansas City Plant is helping to build, the Hiroshima bomb was a toy, I think you can easily understand that nuclear weapons represent a clear and present threat to human survival on planet Earth.

When you hear your friends and neighbors or local politicians talking about nuclear deterrence, you should perform a citizen’s arrest. Anyone who talks about nuclear deterrence is threatening an exchange of nuclear weapons. Any exchange of nuclear weapons will result in catastrophic climate change that will make global warming look like a picnic. The concept of nuclear deterrence is a threat to your future, and anyone who supports it is an enemy of humanity preparing to commit ecocide. He or she should be tried in The Hague for threatening to destroy humanity.

Human beings may not yet be ready for Gandhian nonviolence, but we must be ready right now for nuclear nonviolence. That is, even if attacked with nuclear weapons, we must never under any circumstances respond with nuclear weapons. That is the only way to survive. And yet, you never hear the pro-nuclear crowd talking about the possibility of climate change. Next time, make them talk about it. You can get the facts from a website: www.nucleardarkness.org.

Here in Japan, we are in the process of eliminating the whole nuclear industry. Previously, the vast majority of Japanese were against the weapons, but in favor of nuclear electricity. Now, despite an enormous propaganda effort by the nuclear industry, that public support is evaporating. The Fukushima accident is not yet over. It is still spewing radiation into the environment, so we don’t yet know how much of Fukushima Prefecture has been permanently lost. However, it is already obvious that this will be the most expensive industrial accident in the history of the world. The economic damage to Japan from this accident will probably be greater than the value of all the electricity produced by all its nuclear power plants. The damage to the health of the Japanese people and others around the world will gradually come into view, but, like Chernobyl, will probably never really be known. Just last night I had dinner with a Polish woman whose mother died of thyroid cancer about six years after Chernobyl.

Nevertheless, here in Hiroshima our main concern is the weapons. The US and Soviet Union are no longer able to control these weapons. Every country is now in a position to decide for themselves whether to have them or not. As long as a few countries have them, and especially as long as the nuclear weapon states are permanent members of the UN Security Council with veto power over everything that happens at the UN, all other countries will be looking to get nuclear weapons in order to become first-class countries.

Thus, we stand at a perilous crossroads. Either we get rid of them all, including US weapons, or we let everyone have them. If we let everyone have them, it is only a matter of time before they are used, so we are actually deciding right now whether to eliminate them or use them. And if we use them, that will certainly be the end of civilization as we know it and possibly the end of the human experiment on this planet.

This is not political rhetoric. This is your future. I hope you will do everything in your power to help us make the right decision. And for you, the first step is to shut down your local ecocidal factory. Thank you for your effort.

Steve Leeper, who has dual citizenship in Japan and the United States, is the chairperson of the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation.