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What Do We Treasure? A World Free of Nuclear Weapons

(Image: Nicolas Raymond / Flickr)

An exhibition on abolishing nuclear weapons was organized by Soka Gakkai International (SGI) and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.

This exhibition, “Everything You Treasure – For a World Free of Nuclear Weapons,” is deeply moving and thought-provoking. It begins with the question, “What do we treasure?” For each person the answer may be different in the particulars, but the question causes us to consider exactly what has been placed at risk by nuclear weapons.

At its opening in Nagasaki, Japan, on November 2, 2013, David Krieger made the following remarks. The exhibition can be found online.

For most of us, what we treasure are simple things close to home – family, friends and close relationships. What we treasure is what we love, and what we love is what we treasure. What could be more precious than the welfare and happiness of our children and grandchildren? What could be more irreplaceable than a parent’s love, than a child’s laughter?

What could be more important than fulfilling our shared responsibility to pass the planet on intact to new generations who will follow us on the planet? And, of course, we have responsibilities for other forms of life that are dependent upon our stewardship.

Nuclear weapons put everything we treasure at risk. These weapons and the strategies that sustain them are a suicide note to the planet. They are weapons capable of omnicide, the death of all, the final unalterable darkness.

When will we humans awaken to the reality of what we have placed at risk by the reliance of some countries on nuclear weapons? There is no strategy, theory or purpose that justifies maintaining nuclear weapons in the world. There is no justification for putting at risk everything we treasure and everyone we love.

This exhibition is a wake-up call to humanity. The alarm is sounding. Can you hear it? Can you hear the bells of Nagasaki ringing out for peace? Can you feel the heartbeat of Hiroshima calling out for life?

The hibakusha are growing older, but their message remains clear: Wake up before it is too late. Do what is necessary to assure that Nagasaki is the last place on Earth to suffer devastation from a nuclear weapon. The hibakusha are shouting to us, “Never again!”

The status quo is unstable. It cannot be maintained indefinitely. It is an invitation to nuclear proliferation and nuclear catastrophe.

There are only two possible paths ahead of us – further nuclear devastation, death and suffering; or a world free of nuclear weapons. Would anyone consciously choose devastation and suffering? National leaders of nuclear-armed and nuclear-addicted states would deny it. But is it not extreme hubris to think that some countries can continue to possess and threaten the use of nuclear weapons without their eventually being used again?

There is only one path ahead that makes sense, and that is the path to Nuclear Zero. This exhibition makes that vividly clear. It is an exhibition filled with wisdom and hope. It is an invitation to action. Study it. Reflect on it. Share it. Join with others in being a force for peace and, with a sense of urgency, help make Nuclear Zero a reality. It is the greatest challenge of our time. What is at stake is all you love and treasure.

Nukes are nuts, as in all-out crazy. They have no place on a planet where love and decency prevail.

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