Peace and Disarmament
180,000 View SGI Antinuclear Exhibition in Malaysia Since July 2007
On October 10, 2008, the SGI exhibition "From a Culture of Violence to a Culture of Peace: Transforming the Human Spirit" opened at the Spring Shopping Mall in Kuching, Malaysia. Soka Gakkai Malaysia (SGM) and Physicians for Peace and Social Responsibility (PPSR), an NGO affiliated with the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), are cosponsors.
The guest speaker was Dato Sri William Mawan Ak Ikom, Sarawak minister of Social Development and Urbanization, representing Chief Minister of Sarawak Pehin Sri Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud.
Quoting the UNESCO Constitution, he stated, "'Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed.' We have the spiritual power to create peace and happiness within us. All it takes is one person to choose hope, to choose to make a difference, and the world will change." Dato Sri William hoped young Malaysians would be motivated to play active roles in abolishing nuclear weapons by learning about the growing nuclear dangers and being encouraged to debate and participate in regional and global meetings.
Among those present at the opening ceremony were heads of government departments, representatives from the Kuching city council, local residents and SGM Sarawak members. SGM Sarawak Chairman Tan Chai Hong read a message from SGI President Daisaku Ikeda.
During the four-day showing ending October 14, 2008, over 10,000 people viewed the exhibition in Kuching. Some 4,500 people signed a public petition in support of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), which the SGI endorses. SGM Sarawak also chartered buses for around 2,200 students and teachers from over 20 schools. Besides students from schools in Kuching, students from Kota Semarahan and Kedup also visited the exhibition.
Since its launch in Kuala Lumpur in July 2007, the antinuclear exhibition has showed in venues across Malaysia including Perak, Pahang and Johor. More than 180,000 visitors have viewed the exhibition, during which some 120,000 also signed the ICAN petition.
[The International Campaign Against Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) focuses on the root causes of the nuclear weapons problem--the possession of nuclear arsenals by a minority of countries. ICAN aims to achieve a Nuclear Weapons Convention to ban the development, possession and use of nuclear weapons, striving for a nuclear-free world.]
[Adapted from an article in the December 2008 issue of Cosmic, Soka Gakkai Malaysia]