Thursday, February 22, 2007

Be alert

Of course it is a sad thing that the NPT is weak, yet stating this makes me feel hypocritical. It is o.k. if we - the West - have nuclear weapons: the US, France, Britain… and a few others unspoken of like Israel are deemed to be responsible enough to own these horrible weapons. But suddenly India and Pakistan pose a threat; Iran is too dangerous to even use civil nuclear energy and North Korea.... Now lets be clear about where I stand on this too: the risks of nuclear energy are too big, the nuclear waste with a half life of 10.000 years, that are 100 centuries, is still unsolved. Even when we leave detailed information for future generations, they may not be able to read them. Can you still read the text saved on the old diskettes, or even your floppies of your old computer of just a few years ago? Can you still play your home movies? After only 4.000 years some now extinct languages are barely deciphered…

Anyway, is it the general view that nuclear power and nuclear weapons are to be reserved to ‘responsible’ western nations? What about the US thinking about allowing a pre-emptive nuclear strike against a perceived threat? What perception would apply? The same perception that declared Iraq an immediate danger to the US? The West speaks casually about second strike, first strike and pre-emptive strike with nuclear weapons… as if that is an acceptable response to terrorism, to aggression. As if that is a valid expression of our civilization. Now what is this all about? Can only we have nuclear weapons? Are the brown people from India and Pakistan, the yellow from China of a different order, not equal to the ‘white west’?

Never forget, when weapons exist, a reason to use them will be found – as in Hiroshima, like in Nagasaki. There was no reason, no “need” to drop the A-bomb on these cities. It was an experiment camouflaged as the last blow that broke the Japanese and brought about their surrender. Up to now, only the West has reduced, children, men and women to a shadow burnt into the walls of two cities. Only the West has wreaked havoc on future generations: sixty years later the Japanese still bear consequences of too many children born with leukemia, born under the sign of cancer, and we still see the results in the fewer and fewer survivors. Even today, the US is disposing of its Depleted Uranium by using it to make ‘more effective’ weapons in Iraq, thus condemning the Iraqi soil and people to radioactive contamination for generations to come.

Today’s nuclear weapons dwarf the power of the A-bomb. As a consequence resistance to nuclear weapons is an urgent duty because war has become just another option to be taken. Someone decides to declare war and the mass of soldiers and national guards execute the orders by executing those who have been singled out as the enemy. My peace pal is right: Peace does take more guts. It takes courage to believe that non-violent protest will make a difference, and act on that belief. We all have been the brunt of the insults of people thinking differently and treating us with enmity and contempt in the light of the generally acclaimed ‘war on violence’.

It is a very Old Testament attitude to fight fire with fire, leaving only scorched earth, ashes blowing in the wind. Ashes that could be you, my daughter, the beauty of nature, man made beauty in museums.
That attitude leads to more sickness, poverty, homelessness, and despair. To more domestic violence and the daily humiliation of powerlessnes. We – peace people- should not be frightened into silence by the tumultuous clamor about “war against terrorism”, claiming bigger and better weapons. We need to protest the stockpiling of these weapons. We need to claim that money and effort for health care and education.
Our means are: steadfastness, strong resolve, asking questions, thinking, resisting, being in the way, laying in the path of destruction… All this breaks the circle of violence, replacing it by listening to each other, finding common ground in this realization: We all have the same grooves in our soul when we experience our lives to the fullest: grooves for joy, sadness, the same need for food and shelter – and a longing for peace and love.

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