Remembering the past and looking towards the future
August 8, 2014
This week marks the 69th anniversary of the appalling nuclear bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. In the Philippines, the Center for Peace Education and Pax Christi partnered to launch an exhibit titled “Remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki.” The exhibit featured images and materials from the Hiroshima Peace Museum, supplemented by artwork produced by local students.
In addition to commemorating the victims of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, the exhibit sought to educate and motivate younger generations to action. While remembering these past atrocities is, in itself important, it can also be a pathway to greater discussion about the future of nuclear weapons. Pax Christi President Mia Estipona emphasized that the exhibit was providing an opportunity “to look forward to a vision of the future. We want to live without worrying about the possible tragedies that may come,” said Estipona. “We want to have a world that is free of nuclear weapons, where we don’t have to worry about their harm and danger.” To support this focus on building a nuclear-free world, the exhibit featured a Freedom Wall where visitors could leave their thoughts and messages.
For decades, discussions about nuclear weapons have been restricted to state policy makers and security strategists, but the recent focus on the humanitarian impact has opened the door for greater public debate and civil society engagement. Any discussion about nuclear weapons needs to examine the real human and environmental impact of nuclear weapons, demonstrated by the destruction and enduring legacy of suffering in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Loreta Castro, the Program Director of the Center for Peace Education, emphasized the importance of focusing on the real impacts and risks of nuclear weapons. “True human security does not come from having weapons, including nuclear weapons,” said Castro. “It is high time that we redefine what would bring us a more secure future.”