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On September 6 and 20 respectively, SGI-UK and SGI-Spain marked the anniversary of second Soka Gakkai president Josei Toda’s September 8, 1957, Declaration Calling for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons.
Held at its Taplow Court Grand Culture Center in Berkshire, SGI-UK’s annual Hiroshima Peace Day had the theme “Opening a New Era of Human Dignity—A World Free Of Nuclear Weapons.” More than 250 people attended.
Following a speech by Robert Samuels, executive advisor of SGI-UK, in which he highlighted that there are estimated to be more than 20,000 nuclear weapons in existence, the video testimony of A-bomb survivor (hibakusha) Toyomi Hashimoto was screened. In the film she describes the atomic bombing of Nagasaki and the devasting impact it had on her 3 year-old son and the children she was to bear after the war. Messages from Soka Gakkai members in Hiroshima were read out, encouraging participants to use the peace day as an opportunity to renew their determination to achieve a nuclear weapon-free world.
A panel discussion on ways forward in the abolition of nuclear weapons featured Jehangir Sarosh, executive director of Religions for Peace UK, Jason Hart, senior lecturer in International Development at the University of Bath, and Kyoko Gibson, a second generation hibakusha and SGI-UK member. Small group discussions were also held as well as choral performances.
Some 180 people came to the SGI-Spain Culture Center in Rivas-Vaciamadrid for a lecture on the continued threat of nuclear weapons and their humanitarian effects by keynote speaker Aurora Bilbao Soto. Dr. Bilbao is coordinator of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) in Spain and a professor at the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU).
SGI-Spain General Director Enrique Caputo welcomed the participants, and a summary of SGI President Daisaku Ikeda’s 2014 Peace Proposal was given by Pablo Juarez, youth leader of SGI-Spain.
related article Faith Communities Unite Against Nuclear Weapons at ICAN Civil Society Forum; Issue Joint Statement Prior to the holding of the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons from December 8-9 at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) held a Civil Society Forum (CSF) from December 6-7 at the Aula der Wissenchaften. The CSF was attended by more than 600 people from 70 countries representing 100 organizations. In her lecture, Dr. Bilbao defined peace as harmony not only between people but also between human beings and the environment. She stressed that war, weapons and violence which hinder humanity’s right to life are the antithesis of harmony. Dr. Bilbao introduced the history of the development of nuclear weapons, their use in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the history of nuclear weapon testing. She encouraged the youth present to continue to actively work toward a world without nuclear weapons.
[Adapted from an article in the September 17, 2014, issue of the SGI-UK Online News Bulletin and a report from SGI-Spain; photos courtesy of Simon Addinsell and SGI-Spain]
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