The Israeli Coalition for a Middle East Free of Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Weapons demonstrated in a vigil to mark Hiroshima Day in front of the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv on 6 August.
Their statement called for
- An international initiative to create a Middle East free of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, in a step-wise process to include all countries in the region.
- An end to all threats by the U.S. and Israel of a war against Iran, the result of which will be a disaster for all.
- An end to the production of weapons of nuclear mass destruction in Dimona in southern Israel, and biological and chemical WMD in the Israel Institute of Biological Research in Ness Ziona, which is fuelling a WMD arms race in the Middle East.
- Immediate shutdown of the nuclear reactor in Dimona, and opening of the facility to international inspection.
- No to another Hiroshima and Nagasaki! No to further threats of WMD!
Largely in this spirit is the Jewish International Opposition Statement against Attack on Iran, now circulating with a growing number of signatories.
Significantly, the protest vigil called attention to CBW (chemical and biological weapons) research and development at the top-secret Israel Institute of Biological Research in Ness Ziona, 20 km southeast of Tel Aviv. Despite the differences between Israel’s nuclear, chemical, and biological weapon programs, there are intriguing historical and organizational parallels, linkages, and interactions among them.
Meanwhile, the approaching 63rd commemoration of the destruction of Nagasaki on 9 August 1945 is marked this year by protests in Nagasaki Prefecture against the docking of the U.S. nuclear submarine USS La Jolla in Sasebo City near Nagasaki on 4 August, just days after it emerged another sub may have suffered a small radiation leak earlier this year. Dozens of atomic bomb survivors and peace activists gathered in Nagasaki earlier this week bearing banners reading “Nuclear vessels are not welcome in NagasakiPrefecture.”
John Pilger reminds us that the “atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was a criminal act on an epic scale. It was premeditated mass murder that unleashed a weapon of intrinsic criminality [. . .] the real threat remains almost unmentionable in western establishment circles and therefore in the media. There is only one rampant nuclear power in the Middle East and that is Israel.” As Israeli generals, with top-secret WMD at their willful disposal, now perhaps finalize plans for an attack on Iran, we can recall on the anniversary of Hiroshima/Nagasaki the words of Nazim Hikmet, a socialist poet whose voice today is as relevant as decades ago:
I come and stand at every door
But none can hear my silent tread
I knock and yet remain unseen
For I am dead for I am dead
I’m only seven although I died
In Hiroshima long ago
I’m seven now as I was then
When children die they do not grow
My hair was scorched by swirling flame
My eyes grew dim my eyes grew blind
Death came and turned my bones to dust
And that was scattered by the wind
I need no fruit I need no rice
I need no sweets nor even bread
I ask for nothing for myself
For I am dead for I am dead
All that I need is that for peace
You fight today you fight today
So that the children of this world
Can live and grow and laugh and play
Bill Templer is a linguist based in Southeast Asia.