Passing on the legacy to future generations

October 1, 2013

On 9 September ICAN partner organizations Peace Boat and the Caribbean Institute for the Rule of Law (Instituto Caribeno para el Estado de Derecho, ICED) jointly held an event in Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic featuring testimonies from Hibakusha (survivors of the atomic bombing in Hiroshima and Nagasaki). The gathered participants heard first-hand accounts of the catastrophic humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, and were encourage to take part in the call for a nuclear-free world.

The event was organized as part of the “Global Voyage for a Nuclear-Free World: Peace Boat Hibakusha Project”. Launched in 2008, the project invites Hibakusha to participate in around-the-world voyages to share their tragic experiences, educate people and youth in particular about the human costs of nuclear weapons and call for their abolition. The messages from Hiroshima and Nagasaki have the potential to deeply move people around the world who are affected by war, violence, poverty and environmental issues. Over 150 Hibakusha have participated in this project to date.

Asami Yoriko was 17 when she survived the bombing of Hiroshima. In her moving testimony to the large audience gathered at the Bono Centre Philosophy Institute in Santo Domingo, she spoke of her own experience, the suffering her brother endured due to his burn injuries and cancer, and of the societal stigma she was forced to face as a Hibakusha.

Also speaking at the event were Orlidy Inoa, Executive Director of ICED, and Pablo Mella of Centro Bonó, as well as other youth participating in Peace Boat’s global voyage, including Youth Special Communicator for a Nuclear-Free World Seto Mayu and Takano Sakura, a university student who was forced to leave her hometown in Fukushima following the nuclear disaster.

Ms Asami is one of a group of 9 Hibakusha from Hiroshima and Nagasaki travelling onboard Peace Boat’s 80th Global Voyage for Peace. They have given testimony onboard the ship and at twelve ports of call, exploring the theme of “passing on the legacy to the next generations.” These programmes have included a cultural exchange with youth and Agent Orange survivors in Da Nang, Viet Nam, and discussions with students from Fukushima University exploring issues of nuclear power generation and alternative energies for the future.

In the words of Akira Kawasaki, executive committee member of Peace Boat and co-chair of ICAN’s International Steering Group: “The evidence is clear - any use of nuclear weapons would create a humanitarian catastrophe on a massive scale. But we can only imagine the shock, horror and fear of a nuclear weapon detonation. The survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki don’t have to imagine. They have clear images of the aftermath of the bombing. Even today, 68 years on, they are still sufering. For them it is not possible to mask the true impact of nuclear weapons behind any military theories. The power of the testimonies of Hibakusha is bringing the truth into the light - once used, there can be no mitigation of the effects of nuclear weapons. The only guarantee that they will never be used is to eliminate them. That is why we need a treaty to ban nuclear weapons.

Read more about “Global Voyage for a Nuclear-Free World: Peace Boat Hibakusha Project” here (http://www.peaceboat.org/english/?page=view&nr=83&type=28&menu=105 ) and the report about the event on ICED’s website here (http://iced.org.do/?p=180 )

Photo credit: Ari Beser/Peace Boat



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