Socorro Gomes: Honor the victims of the US atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and abolish nuclear weapons!

Friday, August 5, 2022

As every year, we must take the occasion of the 6th and 9th of August to honor the victims of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the United States in 1945, and to reinforce our determined struggle against nuclear weapons, weapons of mass destruction whose use was then inaugurated by the imperialist power.

In those days of August in Japan, more than 200,000 people were killed and countless others died as a result of the United States' decision to drop its atomic bombs on the Japanese people. The brave survivors, hibakusha¸ recount scenes of despair and horror to which no people should be subjected, and to this day resist the consequences of radiation and trauma caused by the bombings.

More than seven decades later, the US has not yet been held accountable for such an atrocity. Worse, the perpetrators arrogate to themselves the right to continue developing new, more modern and “efficient” weapons in the business of death and terror, reprimanding those who seek security guarantees against imperialist war power, developing their own defenses.

The US has carried out nuclear tests and that of other weapons of mass destruction, including in territories it occupies, such as Puerto Rico, which was the stage of tests for more than six decades and whose people, in their struggle for independence, continue and will continue to suffer the consequences for many years. It is estimated that more than 900 kilograms of bombs with depleted uranium and napalm, among other chemical weapons and heavy metals, were dropped on the island in military exercises, including near places inhabited by civilians.

The US double standard is outrageous. Another example is the fact that the imperialist power sustains, with almost USD 4 billion annually, the war sector of the State of Israel, oppressor of the Palestinian people and an offender against practically all of its neighbors, which holds about 90 uninspected nuclear warheads, while the two allies maintain a constant political and economic offensive, in addition to belligerent threats, against Iran, which they accuse of developing nuclear weapons. While Israel has never committed to refraining from developing nuclear weapons or allowing inspection visits, Iran has signed an agreement with the US and the European Union (EU) that the US has violated.

According to the Swedish institute SIPRI, there are currently around 13,000 nuclear warheads in the world, 3,732 of them deployed, that is, already installed in missiles or located in operational bases. Of the total, more than 5,000 belong to the United States —about 1,700 deployed, and more than 6,000 belong to Russia —about 1,500 deployed. These are followed by the UK and France, with 225 and 290 warheads in total, respectively. China, in fifth, has 350 warheads in total, followed by India with 156, Pakistan with 165, Israel with 90, and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea with around 50.

In addition, the US and the EU, with its 27 member states, also form with Turkey the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), through which they spread dozens of nuclear warheads across Europe, in their nuclear sharing program. NATO, imperialism's armed wing, admits that nuclear weapons are a key part of its military policy, as a “nuclear alliance” that has been constantly expanding since it was founded in 1949. That is, just four years after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and while the world was still seeking to heal from the devastation of World War II by laying the foundations for a United Nations Organization, the founders of NATO chose to unite in a belligerent alliance against the Soviet Union that not only survived but expanded and became more brutal in the 1990s, after the fall of the USSR.

Today, its provocative and inconsequential expansion puts us before another war that needs to be stopped immediately. It is therefore necessary to emphasize the urgency of negotiations for the end of the conflict with Russia in Ukraine, for the sake of peace in the region and also to mitigate the risk of expansion and escalation of the confrontation, which puts humanity at grave risk of a nuclear hecatomb.

A few days ago, at the opening of the Conference for the Review of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) António Guterres warned again of what anti-imperialist and peace-loving forces have repeatedly warned: a mere miscalculation can cause world-wide nuclear annihilation. The NPT, signed today by 191 countries, has already completed five decades and, in addition to being insufficient by nature, since it is an agreement for the control, not the end, of these weapons, it is fundamentally outdated. It needs to be not only updated, as argued by Guterres, but also deepened: commitments for the complete abolition of nuclear weapons cannot be postponed!

It is necessary to maintain and reinforce the denunciation of the devastation, suffering, death and horror that these weapons impose on their victims and on all humanity, threatened by their use. That nuclear weapons have become an instrument of foreign policy, a threat of destruction and indiscriminate killing by a handful of powers that hold them, remains an anachronistic fact in the history of humanity, who in turn aims to advance towards a future of peace and respect for life and equality among all nations, past a global dynamic based on terror guaranteed by the asymmetry of power.

The World Peace Council (WCC) was founded precisely on the anti-imperialist struggle against war in general and against nuclear weapons in particular. One of its founding documents is precisely the Stockholm Appeal of 1950, which demands the complete abolition of these instruments of terror and death. This is the desire of all humanity, as evinced by the quickly collected signatures of hundreds of millions of people to this document in defense of peace and life.

Therefore, while the struggle for the abolition of nuclear weapons takes place every day, we take these dates to pay our tribute to their first victims, the Japanese people inhabitants of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It is also in their honor that we struggle, so that there is accountability for the catastrophe that the United States has imposed on thousands of people, with lasting consequences, and so that these instruments are never used again, not even as tools of terror for the expectation of an imminent total annihilation!

Humanity cannot remain hostage to this strategy that threatens the destruction of life on the Planet. Abolish nuclear weapons now!

Socorro Gomes
President of the World Peace Council