Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Wisdom of the Survivor: Atomic Bombing & 9/11 Survivors join today seeking ways to contribute to a peaceful future for all humanity

As Okinawans protest on behalf of life and peace—today, in New York City, atomic bombing and 9/11 survivors are joining to discuss life and peace—within the context of nuclear abolition and the healing of collective trauma:
On August 6, 1945, Sadako Sasaki, a two-year old girl living a mile from ground zero, was filled with radiation from the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Ten years later, dying of leukemia, she began folding small paper cranes in response to a Japanese myth that folding a thousand such cranes grants you a wish. Hers was to live. According to her brother, Masahiro, Sadako actually folded over 1300 tiny cranes before she died. 149 of her cranes are in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, but in 2007 Masahiro Sasaki decided to give the remaining cranes in his possession to the continents of the world in the hope of spurring moves toward peace. For North America Masahiro Sasaki gave a Sadako crane to the WTC Visitor Center which was created by the September 11th Families’ Association at 120 Liberty Street, across the street from the World Trade Center site. The Sadako crane is now housed in a handsome case in the museum for all visitors to experience.
100 Japanese and other international Hibakusha have joined today with an equal number of survivors and family members of victims of the attack on the World Trade Center to address issues of the wisdom of the survivor.
Seeking to influence the debate on nuclear disarmament and abolition, many Hibakusha have made the pilgrimage to past Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conferences, which are held at the United Nations every five years. Now they are getting older and their chance to witness their dream of a nuclear-free world is growing shorter. Inspired by President Obama’s Prague pledge to work for “a world without nuclear weapons,” and knowing that the entire non-proliferation regime is hanging by a thread, they come this time with a greater sense of urgency than ever. The security of New York City, and the nation, as well remains vital. The security of New York City, and the nation, as well remains vital.

"The Wisdom of the Survivor" is an unprecedented interaction between the Hibakusha and the 9/11 community will constitute the center of this conference. We believe that bringing together these two groups for a day of testimony and conversation will provide an understanding of the unique political, psychological, and spiritual contributions that survivors of atrocity and their families can make towards a peaceful future.

Guest Robert Jay Lifton is the author of the ground-breaking study Death In Life: Survivors of Hiroshima, as well more than 25 other books that have explored psychological effects of living in extreme historical situations, with particular emphasis on the nuclear age. His theoretical writings on the “survivor experience” have been extremely influential in contemporary trauma studies. Guest Jonathan Schell is best known for his passionate antinuclear books, The Fate of the Earth and The Gift of Time: The Case for Abolishing Nuclear Weapons Now.
Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba, the co-chair of Mayors for Peace and a passionate advocate of nuclear abolition, is playing a prominent role. Yuki Tanaka, Research Professor at the Hiroshima Peace Institute, will be asked to reflect on human security, disarmament, and non-proliferation.

They expect the conference to be shown on C-SPAN and will send out streaming video of the event and post clips from it on YouTube after its completion.

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