- The Guardian
- Issue #2065
Hiroshima/ Nagasaki Day 2023, was one of the best attended for years. The bombing of two cities in Japan on 6th August and 9th, 1945 by nuclear weapons incinerated almost a quarter of a million people instantly. We must never forget that crime. The rally started at Sydney Town Hall and moved onto the Defence Department where wreaths were laid in honour of the dead in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the victims of nuclear testing in the Pacific and finally the victims of nuclear testing in Australia at Maralinga. We were very privileged to have a stunning array of speakers from the First Nations, the Rev Ray Minniecon, Alan Behm of the Australia Institute, Fr. Claude Mostowik of Pax Christi, Professor Jake Lynch of the Sydney Peace Foundation, Dr Vince Scappatura of Macquarie University, and Naruaki Cann, a Communist Party of Australia member who spoke at the Defence department. Cann is a 24-year old Japanese Australian, born in Hiroshima and raised in Sydney. The messages were very clear during the rally: the barbarism of the use of nuclear weapons in WW2 and the need in the present to stop the likelihood of nuclear war in our region. It is time to cancel AUKUS and time for the Australian government to sign the Treaty to Prohibit the use of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).
Keep working for peace, Hiroshima/Nagasaki never again!
Melbourne comrades joined the rally at the State Library, and heard speakers including Jack Howard from Labor Against War, Margie Beavis from Medical Association for the Prevention of War, David Ball from the Maritime Union of Australia, Korean peace and union activist Joon Shik Shin, and Greens Senator Janet Rice. The rally was also entertained by the Riff Raff Radical Marching band. Joon Shik Shin spoke from the heart against recent attempts by the US to further militarise the Korean Peninsula by bringing the nuclear submarine Annapolis for a visit, while Senator Rice went into detail about what Australia could afford in terms of schools, hospitals and housing if it cancelled the AUKUS agreement. Jack Howard also spoke against the obscene cost Australia has been signed up to for AUKUS. Melbourne comrades also supported the action as marshals.
Bad weather forced the IPAN Hiroshima Day rally in Geelong off the streets and into the Trades Hall. It was the first such event for some years in Geelong. About 50 people listened to speeches from William Briggs, an international relations analyst, Sarah Mansfield, Greens MLC for Western Victoria and Joon Shik Shin, Korean trade union and peace activist. Following the rally, John Pilger’s The Coming War on China was screened as a fund raising activity ahead of a trade union speaking tour that will feature Arthur Rorris from the South Coast Labour Council.
Hiroshima-Nagasaki – Never Again Vigil – Call to Ban Nuclear Weapons.
On Sunday August 6th people gathered for a peace rally at Perth Cultural Centre in Northbridge to mark the 78th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The gathering was welcomed to country by Noongar elder Uncle Ben Taylor.
The rally reflected on the impacts of nuclear war and called nuclear weapons to be banned and to cancel the AUKUS pact and nuclear submarines. The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki resulted in over 200,000 deaths and tens of thousands of survivors contracting cancer and experiencing other effects of radiation, including ongoing birth defects.
Long term nuclear disarmament and peace activist, former senator Jo Vallentine reminded the crowd that “It’s a day to remember all the victims of the nuclear industry, of course with Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the front of our minds – the only times when nuclear weapons have been deliberately used in war”.
Jo also remembered the many who suffered through nuclear testing and as a result of nuclear accidents particularly in our region both the Pacific Ocean and Maralinga in Australia where there are survivors still suffering and peoples unable to regain their homelands.
There have also been many more accidents, including with nuclear submarines, nine on the ocean’s floor in the northern hemisphere.”
The gathering heard that we need to reclaim our sovereignty, and build peaceful relations with our neighbours, not spend up to $368 billion on nuclear submarines only to stumble into yet another disastrous offensive US-led war.
Nuclear Free WA co-convenor, Kerrie-Ann Garlick added “Many West Australians have felt the impacts of nuclear weapons tests and have rejected uranium mining which ends up as nuclear waste – weapons grade material which can be diverted to weapons programs. “We are happy to say no West Australian uranium is being mined and we will continue to work towards keeping uranium in the ground and out of the supply chain that fuels nuclear weapons and poses one of the greatest existential threats on earth – nuclear war.”
Event MC and member of Independent Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) and Stop AUKUS-WA, Christopher Crouch concluded, “Remembering the atrocity of the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is not enough. We have to build for peace just as those with power build for war. In acknowledging the horror of what nuclear weapons have done in the past we have a duty to ensure it never happens again.”
We’re seeing growing militarisation and nuclearisation of our economy and education system, Australia increasingly becoming “a vassal US state,” escalating tensions in the Indo-Pacific, and, the rising threat of nuclear weapons use.
A strong message was sent to Labor in the lead up to their National Conference to sign and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, as it promised in 2018. Speakers included former Federal Labor member for Fremantle and ICAN Australia Ambassador, Melissa Parke, former senator, long term peace and nuclear disarmament activist, Jo Vallentine, Greens MLC Brad Pettitt; Quakers Asia West Pacific Secretary, Adrian Glamorgan, Nuclear Free WA Co-Convenor, Kerrie-Ann Garlick, Dr Peter Underwood from the Medical Association for the prevention of war (MAPW) and NUS education activist, Ella Marchionda. The event was closed by Stop AUKUS WA campaigners Sam Wainwright (SA) and Elly Hulm also from the Communist Party of Australia, who invited all people concerned with peace, against war, for the environment and for our tax payers’ dollars being spent on delivering real security – housing, health, education and jobs to join Stop AUKUS. Elly spoke the demoralising time when the invasion of Iraq went ahead despite mass mobilisation of people against it. She reminded the crowd that circumstances are different today in that a war has not yet started and now is a time of opportunity to rebuild the movement and send a strong message to government that we are not prepared for a build up to war on our watch – never again!