An Open Letter to Nikki Haley

20170316_112620Dear Ambassador Haley,

I was at the United Nations conference to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, which started on March 27.  I find it intriguing that those of us “activists” were inside the room, participating in the international law making process, while you and some other government leaders decided to boycott and protest it outside the room.

While we were celebrating the beginning of this historic process, with the determination to make the 72-year-old goal of abolishing nuclear weapons a reality, you held a press conference.

You said:

“As a mom, as a daughter, there is nothing I want more for my family than a world with no nuclear weapons. But we have to be realistic. Is there anyone that believes that North Korea would agree to a ban on nuclear weapons?

…. in this day and time we would love to have a ban on nuclear weapons but in this day and time we can’t honestly say that we can protect our people by allowing the bad actors to have them and those of us that are good trying to keep peace and safety not to have them.”

To me, it is beyond my intellectual comprehension to say that we need nuclear weapons in order to protect our families, communities, cities, and countries, when those very weapons can not only destroy everything in an instant, but also have long-lasting, devastating impacts on health and environment for generations to come.

I am also a mother.  My son recently turned 16 months.  At the conference we heard a testimony of Mr. Toshiki Fujimori, who was 16-month-old when the atomic bomb was detonated in Hiroshima.  He lost his sister in the attack.  He recalled:

“Every year, on August 6th, my mother would gather all of us children and would talk to us about her experience in tears. I once asked my mother why she would speak about it if recalling the experience makes her suffer. ‘I can’t make you go through the same experience.’ That was her answer.

Her tears were her heartfelt appeal. She called, as a mother, for a world with no more hell on earth.”

Imagining the sadness of his mother for losing her child to the senseless attack, I’m at loss of words.  But one thing is certain: I, too, want no nuclear weapons on this planet, so that no person will have to ever suffer the same hell they experienced.  Nuclear weapons do not provide us with security; they make it possible that, their intentional or accidental use can cause tremendous suffering to countless people.

I know that, when my son grows up, he will be proud of me for being part of this movement to rid the world of nuclear weapons.  He will understand that there is no better way to make this world safe, than removing the very causes of danger.

As a mother, I fight for nuclear abolition.

Yours sincerely,

Anna Ikeda

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Dismantling the “Atomic Bomb” in Our Hearts

This is a slightly-modified version of an article I wrote with my friend Eric last summer.  Since the theme of the article is so closely related to the goal of this blog, I asked for permission to post it here. 

Anthony Freda "War Mind"

Anthony Freda “War Mind”

When we engage in dialogue with youth about nuclear abolition, one question often comes up: “How does this relate to my life?”  True, discussions around nuclear abolition usually involve policies and politics, and it is only natural for young people today to feel disconnected from the issue.  The Cold War is over, and for many of us, nuclear weapons were never a fear we actually grappled with. Nuclear weapons have always existed in our lives. Abolishing nuclear weapons seems so far away from our day-to-day activities.  So, how does it relate to our lives? Continue reading

“Ridding the world of nuclear weapons will take courage”

In examining the issue of nuclear weapons, it is always important to remember their humanitarian consequences. This is not an abstract theory – it is a real threat.

IPPNW peace and health blog

ICAN closing statement to the Second Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons

February 14, 2014

[Ray Acheson of WILPF’s Reaching Critical Will project and a member of ICAN’s International Steering Group, read the following statement during the closing session of the Second Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons in Nayarit, Mexico.]

Ray Acheson speaks on behalf of ICAN Ray Acheson speaks on behalf of ICAN

I am speaking on behalf of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, a coalition of over 350 organisations in 90 countries.

We have been given over the past two days a chilling reminder of what nuclear weapons are, and what they do.

They do not bring security. They bring death and destruction on a scale that cannot be justified for any reason.

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