Making Peace Vigil

Standing up for peace

MAYORS FOR PEACE

Posted by strattof on December 4, 2016

Mayors For Peace is an initiative of the Mayors of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the only cities to have ever experienced the terrible effects of nuclear warfare. In August 1945, the US dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, instantly killing tens of thousands of people, most of them civilians, and devastating both cities.

The goal of Mayors For Peace is the abolition of nuclear weapons. 

7,164 cities have already joined the movement. They include 105 Canadian cities—among them Saskatoon, Edmonton, Calgary, and Winnipeg. 

In April, Regina’s Mayor Michael Fougere was invited to join Mayors For Peace. Six months later, he still has the matter “under consideration.”

THE THREAT OF NUCLEAR WARFARE

71 years after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the threat of nuclear warfare still looms over humanity. The threat will remain as long as nuclear weapons exist.

THE NUMBERS

Nine of the world’s nations are nuclear powers. Together they possess close to 16,000 nuclear weapons, enough to destroy the earth hundreds of times over:

Russia: 7,300

US: 6,970

France: 300

China: 260

UK: 215

Pakistan: 130

India: 120

Israel: 60 – 400

North Korea: 10

 THREE MAJOR NUCLEAR THREATS

  1. The US and Russia, which together account for 93% of the world’s nuclear weapons are the main threat. The two nations are already facing off in Syria and Ukraine. Both are also currently “modernizing” their nuclear arsenals.
  2. NATO, a US-led military alliance which insists on its right to a nuclear first strike, has, since the fall of the Soviet Union, offensively pushed eastward to Russia’s borders to include Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia. NATO has also made overtures to Ukraine and Georgia.
  3. A nuclear accident is an ever-present possibility.

NUCLEAR COUNTDOWN

Every year since 1947, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has set its Doomsday Clock to indicate how close humanity is to destroy-ing itself. This year, scientists have set the clock at three minutes to midnight, in part to reflect the threat of nuclear weapons. (The other major threat to human existence is global warming.)

Time is running out! Producing a concrete plan to eliminate nuclear weapons is an urgent priority.

CANADA & NUCLEAR WEAPONS

Canada is not a nuclear power. However, Canada has been very much involved in nuclear weapons from the beginning.

For example: Canada was the primary source for the uranium for the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. A Canadian nuclear reactor was used by India to produce plutonium for its first atomic bomb. 

Today, Canada is the world’s second largest producer of uranium, exporting it to the US, Europe, China, and India.

CANADA AT THE UN

Canada’s voting record on nuclear matters at the UN isn’t very pretty either. Just last month, Canada voted twice in support of the nuclear industry.

  1. Canada voted against a UN resolution calling for negotiations on a global treaty banning nuclear weapons. The official explanation for the vote is “that the most effective approach to nuclear disarmament is an incremental process” (Stéphane Dion, Minister of Foreign Affairs). A more likely reason is support for NATO and its reliance on nuclear weapons, as well as support for Canada’s uranium industry.
  2. Canada abstained on a UN resolution that draws attention to the health and environmental risks posed by depleted uranium (DU) weaponry. Canadian uranium is the source of much of the DU weaponry the US used in Iraq. The US recently admitted that it has also used DU weaponry in Syria.

THE PEACE SYMBOL

The peace symbol was designed in the 1950s for the nuclear disarmament movement. It is based on semaphore signals for the letters N and D, which, when put together, make the shape at the centre of the peace symbol.

Make a peace symbol as a reminder of the need to rid the world of nuclear weapons. Any surface will do: snow, a sidewalk, cookies, cloth—the possibilities are endless.

TAKE ACTION

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