My message from Hiroshima | New Europe

On Saturday August 6, I was proud alongside the Japanese Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, and the
residents of Hiroshima in remembrance of an unprecedented disaster.

Seventy-seven years ago, nuclear weapons were dropped on the people of
Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Tens of thousands of women, children and men were killed in the blink of an eye,
incinerated in an infernal fire. Buildings turned to dust. The beautiful rivers of cities
was flowing with blood.

Those who survived were cursed with a radioactive legacy, stalked by health
problems and lifelong stigma from nuclear bombing.
I had the great honor of meeting a group of these survivors — the
hibakusha, whose number is decreasing every year. They told me without flinching
bravery they witnessed on that terrifying day in 1945.

It’s time for world leaders to get as lucid as the hibakusha and see nuclear
weapons for what they are. Nuclear weapons make no sense. They can’t deliver
safety, protection or security. By design, they only deliver death and destruction.

Three quarters of a century have passed since mushroom clouds billowed overhead
Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Since then, humanity has endured a Cold War, decades
of an absurd whim, and several terrifying near-misses that placed humanity
minutes after annihilation.

But even in the depths of the Cold War, the nuclear powers brought important
reductions in their nuclear arsenals. There was wide acceptance of the
principles against the use, proliferation and testing of nuclear weapons.

Today, we risk forgetting the lessons of 1945. A new arms race is accelerating, with governments spending hundreds of billions of dollars to build up their stockpiles of nuclear weapons. Nearly 13,000 nuclear weapons are now held in arsenals around the world. Geopolitical crises with serious nuclear overtones are spreading rapidly, from the Middle East to the Korean peninsula, including the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Once again humanity is playing with a loaded weapon. We are a mistake, a
misunderstanding, miscalculation away from Armageddon. Leaders must stop knocking on the door of the apocalypse and withdraw the nuclear option
the table for good. It is unacceptable for States possessing nuclear weapons to admit the possibility of nuclear war, which would mean the end of humanity.

Similarly, countries with nuclear weapons must commit to
use” of these weapons. They must also guarantee to non-nuclear-weapon States
weapons they will not use – or threaten to use – nuclear weapons against
them, and be transparent throughout. The nuclear bullshit has to stop.

In the end, there is only one solution to the nuclear threat: not having
weapons at all. This means opening all avenues of dialogue, diplomacy and
negotiation to ease tensions and eliminate these mass lethal weapons
destruction.

We see new signs of hope in New York, where the world came
together for the Tenth Review Conference of the Non-Proliferation Treaty
nuclear weapons. The Treaty is one of the main reasons why nuclear weapons
have not been used since 1945. It contains legally binding commitments to achieve
nuclear disarmament, and can be a powerful catalyst for disarmament — the only
way to eliminate these horrible weapons once and for all.

In June, members of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons met
for the first time to develop a roadmap towards a world free from these apocalypses
devices.

We can no longer accept the presence of weapons hanging by a thin thread
on the future of humanity. It’s time to heed the timeless message of the hibakusha: “No more Hiroshima!” More Nagasaki!

It is time to proliferate peace. Together, step by step, let us erase these weapons from the face of the earth.


Fr

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