Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Steven Leeper: "We must graduate from a culture of war & violence into a culture of cooperation"

From Hiroshima, an epi-center of the global nuclear abolition movement — insights from Steven Leeper, chairman of the Hiroshima Peace Foundation dialoguing at "“Mr. Truman Meets Hiroshima on the Future of Nuclear Weapons, 1944-2020" — a cross-Pacific dialogue with scholars at the Truman Library in Independence, Missouri last night:
We need to get this awareness into our consciousness. That is the key...that we want to be liberated from the threat of nuclear annihilation...

Recently India and North Korea were the only two nations that expressed a desire to keep nuclear weapons in a United Nations conference last year.

How can the voices of ordinary people help to change?

Energizing at the global grassroots level...this is the key right now.

There's something called the "nuclear trance." Our culture has trained us to feel nuclear weapons are a fact of life...

But nuclear abolitionists are not a fringe group. We're the vast majority of people on this planet...

Only a very small group of people are trying to maintain nuclear weapons, but they're very powerful because of their money...

We must graduate from a culture of war and violence into a culture of cooperation.

And we must say we will have a peaceful, sustainable world..

Mayors for Peace are developing this culture at the city level...

How can we apply pressure on our governments to make nuclear abolition happen.

The key is to work on this together. We are being tested on the extent that human beings can start cooperating for survival.

Nuclear weapons are the first test. If we don't pass this one, we won't go on to the next ones.

We must work for the banning, stigmatizing of nuclear weapons.

This involves advancing human consciousness and moving from a war culture to the peace culture that Jesus, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King talked about.

Maybe humans can't become nonviolent completely. But we have to become nuclear-nonviolent.
A video replay is available soon at this link.

-- Jean Downey (the transcription of remarks is a loose version from handwritten notes taken during the dialogue)

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