Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Hiroshima Day in London

By New Worker Correspondent

ON THE 6th August 1945 the American Air force dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, causing the deaths of about 100,000 people leaving countless others to die over the coming decades of radiation related illnesses.
Three days later Nagasaki suffered a similar fate. Since 1967 the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament has organised an annual commemoration of these terrible events in London’s Tavistock Square, which itself was the site of the bomb which killed 13 people on number 30 bus in July last year.
The ceremony was chaired by Left Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn, who is also Vice Chair of CND. It began with the Liberal Mayor of Camden laying a wreath to the victims.
Veteran pacifist Pat Arrowsmith then read two of her poems while the Workers’ Music Association and Raised Voices choirs sang a number of Japanese and English songs.
The Vicar of nearby St Pancras Church, a priest from the Battersea Park Peace Pagoda and an Imam from the Interfaith Alliance UK all spoke in favour of nuclear disarmament.
Two speakers were from the opposite ends of the age spectrum: 100-year old Rose Hacker, a long-time peace activist and Labour Party member was followed by 11-year-old Sonia from Children Against the War.
Near the end of the ceremony former Labour MP Tony Benn reminded the audience that the dropping of the atomic bombs was not carried out to defeat the Japanese who were already on their knees, but were the intended as a warning to the Soviet Union. They were in fact the first acts of the Cold War.
Benn was one of several a speakers to stress that in the coming months every effort has to be made to prevent Blair, or whoever succeeds him, from committing this country to a replacement for Trident missiles.