The historic visit of Barack Obama to Hiroshima marks a new stage in the international mobilization against nuclear weapons


An article from the Huffington Post by Eddie Ait, Deputy Secretary General of the Radical Left Party (PRG), Philippe Rio, Mayor of Grigny and President-AFCDRP Mayors for Peace France, and Jacqueline Belhomme, Mayor of Malakoff and vice-President of the International network (translated by CPNN)

The president of the United States, Barack Obama, is at Hiroshima today [May 27] for an historic visit: the first by a US leader almost 71 years after the order of President Truman launched the first two nuclear attacks in history on Hiroshima (August 6) and Nagasaki (9 August).


For the International Mayors for Peace network, chaired by the mayors of these two martyr cities, and its French branch AFCDRP, such a visit is a positive sign which may mark a new stage in the international mobilization for achieving the complete elimination of nuclear weapons, as provided in the Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Since its creation in 1982, Mayors for Peace has continued to invite world leaders to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Over the years, more and more embassies have attended its commemorations. Last April, the arrival in Hiroshima of the Foreign Ministers of the G7, including three representatives of nuclear states -United States, France and United Kingdom- was already a step forward. As senior officials of States, all NPT signatories, they were willing to see with their own eyes the city that was a victim of this inhuman weapon, with indiscriminate effects.

US atomic bombs completely destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They turned the cities into immense mass graves. In Hiroshima, the chamber of commerce building, now the Dome of the atomic bomb, could hardly stand. It now shows the power of the blast. In 1945, over 200,000 people have died, victims of the explosion or radiation in the days and weeks that followed. After such horror, the survivors, the Hibakusha, have never ceased to carry a message of peace that no one should suffer as they have suffered. Their message has been relayed tirelessly by local representatives of more than 7,000 communities in 161 countries who are members of the Mayors for Peace network.

Primarily responsible for the safety of our citizens in case of conflict, we have a keen awareness of the magnitude of the nuclear threat to the world as a whole. We cannot take the risk of Hiroshima or Nagasaki being repeated, because today it would entail a suicidal escalation. For this reason, we must act on two levels: locally, by addressing the roots of conflict, drawing on the resources of the culture of peace as defined by UNESCO, and globally by working together with Hiroshima and Nagasaki to accomplish the total elimination of nuclear weapons.

There are still about 16,000 nuclear weapons on the globe. These weapons threaten the very existence of the human being and his environment. This “total risk” undermines humanity, opening the way to all sorts of deadly excesses that only a culture of peace and reconciliation can solve.

All elected officials in France who are inspired by the symbolic gesture made by the American President in Hiroshima are encouraged to join our network, the French Association of Communities, Departments and REgions for Peace.

(Click here for the original version in French)

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