“I would like you to sit down in a calm place, close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and focus on the future of your grandchildren.”
It is my priviledge to publish this letter here. About ten years ago Mrs Deep Sandhu sent it to the leaders of every country in the world. She gave me a copy during my talk for Ealing U3A on Ethics of Nuclear Deterrence. That was a serious discussion on how to resolve the difficult moral questions, but here, heart speaks to hearts, and in the end they must listen. God help us if they can’t.
I am not a politician —just an ordinary seventy years old woman. When I was 22 years old I suffered from Tuberculosis. I still remember how awful it was watching people dying around me and thinking I might be next. It felt so great to be alive when I left the hospital. I decided to make good health my top priority in life. One can face or cope with anything as long as one is healthy.
I have always tried my best to tell my friends and family how important our health is. I am not Mother Teresa, but I would do ANYTHING to turn our world around from its present destructive course. The first step is to plant a seed in your brain, which hopefully will grow to ring alarm bells in time to save the world before it is too late.
You have children of your own, and one day, God willing, you may have grandchild as I have. It scares me to death what sort of world we are going to leave for them. The way things are going we can easily start World War three. It would not be like the last 2 World Wars, It will be the end of our planet, as we know it. Surely just thinking of that makes you feel that you want to be rid of all those nuclear weapons on the planet.
We are all one God’s children — drops of the same ocean. Surely we don’t want to poison the sea, as it will affect all of us? There will be no escape from it. Instead, why don’t we learn to take care of each other? We need to create balance in the world. In this day and age every human being should have the dignity to have at least their basic needs met – of food and shelter.
I am sure we can change things around and really start caring for each other. Instead of spending millions and trillions on war, we could feed humanity.
I have a very dear old friend who is a writer. In 1991 he wrote a book about Hiroshima. This book is about the endless suffering and pain of innocent people caused by Americans when they dropped the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima, and three days later another in Nagasaki when more than million people were killed. As a result, for decades there were a great many disabled and malformed, badly distorted faces and bodies. As you read the book you hear the cries of the wounded, see thousands of scattered parts of the blown up bodies, and smell the stench of huge piles of rotting dead bodies. These scenes keep playing over and over again in your mind, as if you are watching a video. After intensive research and talking to people who lived through those horrific experiences, the writer explains exactly the enormity of the pain and damage caused by those acts of madness. Years later, thousands of people are still suffering from leukemia, blindness, cancer and other dreadful diseases because of the poisonous gases.
Any thinking person must realize the danger of any nuclear weapons on this planet. There have been mistakes made, either through human beings or technology, that could have resulted in World War three — e.g. the Cuban Missile Crisis, not forgetting Chernobyl.
After reading my letter, I would like you to sit down in a calm place, close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and focus on the future of your grandchildren.
What would they inherit from us, a planet full of poisonous gases?
“This is what we are about:
We plant seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted,
knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces effects
beyond our capabilities.”
Archbishop Oscar Romero
And now the world is listening: http://www.icanw.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/BanPoster.pdf
And only two months ago, at the UN, 125 nations signed up to a statement demanding bold action to ban nuclear weapons: http://www.icanw.org/campaign-news/the-tipping-point-125-states-at-unga-first-committee-demand-bold-action/
The allies in World War 2 were not saints but there are many good examples of brave and virtuous acts necessary to combat the cynical war mongering of Nazi Germany, and of Japan which had outgrown its available resources and decided to steal some from others using extreme barbarism. However the nuclear bombing of civilians – mainly women children and the elderly, as fit fighting men were elsewhere – was certainly neither brave nor virtuous. Reading the historical record it is impossible not to conclude that the war was prolonged just long enough to prepare the bombs. A targeting committee chose the locations which were unscathed till August 6 to ensure an accurate measure of the atom bomb devastation. Truman said military targets were bombed. That was quite untrue. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were war crimes and so will any nuclear bombing be. The story about ending the war was just that. Japan had been trying unsuccessfully to negotiate surrender terms since February.
Simply calling it a war crime seems somehow completely inadequate when the full consequences are considered. If Japan and Germany behaved barbarically that does nothing to excuse the cynical atrocities of August 1946.
In the newly published history of CND to mark its 60th birthday the first chapter has some useful answers to those who argue that the atomic bombings were needed to end the war. Even the leaders later admitted otherwise!