April | 2015
Vanessa W. Lynch
Nipponzan Myohoji monks, Footprints for Peace and organizers from across the world met in front of the United Nations to call for nuclear disarmament and demilitarization at the opening of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference. Every five years when the conference takes place signatories meet to discuss their nuclear arsenals and what they are doing to phase out nuclear power. The treaty classifies nuclear power as an “inalienable right” to all countries.
Protesters, monks, peace walkers, and Hibakusha (survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945) gather every five years to call for an end to nuclear weapons, power, and uranium mining.
In the contingent stood elders who had traveled from West Australia with the group Footprints for Peace where their homelands and sacred sights are at risk of being destroyed and polluted by uranium mining. Uranium tailings and waste are also used as weapons of war and Fallujah, Iraq is an example of the kind of reaction this radioactivity has on humans.
The group included people from Okinawa who are currently fighting to stop the building of a nuclear base on their island, students from Japan, Footprints for Peace organizers from the US, France, and Australia. The group walked, ran, and rode bicycles from various nuclear sites across the country praying, and spreading a message of hope and disarmament for 45 days before landing in New York City.
On the final day before the group separated organizers from the Western Mass chapter of Black Lives Matter (BLM413) joined the group with a message of solidarity.