Quakers mark Hiroshima and Nagasaki Days

Friends join call for global ban on nuclear weapons

Atomic bomb mushroom cloud over Hiroshima. | Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

As millions get ready to mark the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombs that left tens of thousands dead in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Quakers joined Christian CND’s call for a global ban on nuclear weapons.

Juliet Prager, deputy recording clerk for Britain Yearly Meeting (BYM), signed the letter which also calls for the Trident replacement programme to be cancelled.

The letter says: ‘As Christians we reject nuclear weapons. We believe that their capacity to indiscriminately kill millions of our brothers and sisters, and to catastrophically destroy God’s creation, makes them contrary to the teaching of Jesus Christ. Recent events have shown that the global community must work together to overcome the challenges facing us in the 21st century. We must speak out and call for action to ensure that the horrific events witnessed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki are never repeated.’

BYM also joined the hibakushas’ (survivors) call for nuclear weapons to be eliminated. It highlighted that between 100,000 and 180,000 people were killed in Hiroshima, and between 50,000 and 100,000 in Nagasaki.

Marigold Bentley, head of Peace Programmes and Faith Relations for BYM, said that, seventy-five years on from the catastrophes, ‘humanity finds itself… shamefully still unable to reject nuclear weapons… We [Quakers] are tasked with educating each generation of the danger of nuclear weapons, and to the many opportunities we have before us to rid the world of them’.

Coventry Quakers will mark the day with the annual Coventry Hiroshima Day live-streamed from the nave of Coventry Cathedral on 6 August.

David Fish, from Coventry Meeting, said: ‘We have to keep the numbers very small in the Nave to follow social distancing. We will present certificates recognising Coventry Hiroshima friendship and a prestigious Coventry Cathedral Cross of Nails, recognising the work of reconciliation of the City of Hiroshima and Hiroshima Peace Park. Ambassador Nagamine [from the Embassy of Japan to the UK] will accept both awards and forward them to the City of Hiroshima.’

Meanwhile, Wanstead Meeting attender, playwright and actor Michael Mears will be livestreaming two adaptations of survivors’ accounts on 6 and 9 August for the anniversary with violin accompaniment by Japanese musician Chihiro Ono.

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