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Peace and Disarmament

Back to listSep 4, 2010

Hiroshima Peace Day Commemorated in the UK

100904x_uk_peaceday3.jpg Mr. Alex Giles and Ms. Ail Bailey lead a discussion

Some 250 SGI-UK members gathered on September 4, 2010, at the SGI-UK Grand Culture Center, Taplow Court, in Berkshire, for a Hiroshima Peace Day event in commemoration of all those who have suffered as the result of the use of nuclear weapons. The event also marked the anniversary of second Soka Gakkai president Josei Toda's declaration against nuclear weapons made on September 8, 1957.

Addressing the participants at the beginning of the meeting, Suzanne Pritchard, SGI-UK women's group leader said, "The fact that you are all here means that you want to see a change in the world and that you also want to be an impetus for that change."

Manuel Fernandez, SGI-UK youth leader, announced the establishment of the SGI-UK Youth Peace Committee, consisting of representatives from the student and youth groups who will meet regularly to discuss practical and creative responses to SGI President Daisaku Ikeda's 2009 proposal, "Building Global Solidarity Toward Nuclear Abolition."

Dr. Jason Hart, lecturer in International Development at the University of Bath, gave a talk titled "The Challenge to Trust," which outlined the context for Mr. Ikeda's proposal, and the final point of his five-step plan to be implemented over the next five years. That point, in the words of Mr. Ikeda, is for "the world's people to clearly manifest their will for the outlawing of nuclear weapons and to establish, by the year 2015, the international norm that will serve as the foundation for a Nuclear Weapons Convention."

Discussing some of the key challenges in carrying forth the five-step plan, Dr. Hart asked participants to think about the following questions: How can we build solid relationships of trust across national borders so as to create a functioning human family? How can we establish a common vision of a nuclear-weapon-free world? and, How can we ensure that this vision prevails over narrow national self-interest which is fuelled by mistrust?

Following the lecture, Edilaine Di Muro, SGI-UK national student group leader, reported on the recent student and youth group's survey on the awareness of nuclear abolition, which formed part of the worldwide SGI survey. Results from the survey showed that 60 percent of those surveyed in the UK said they did not accept the use of nuclear weapons under any circumstances and 67 percent said they did not feel the existence of nuclear weapons contributed to the peace and stability of the international community.

100904x_uk_peaceday8.jpg The exhibition in Taplow Court

The meeting also included a report from an SGI-UK member who attended the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference in New York and her personal experience of taking action for nuclear abolition. There were also several performances during the day, including a reading of an excerpt from Mr. Ikeda's poem "The Singing Voice of Victory over the Dome of Peace," and a song and piano performance

Participants also viewed the exhibition "From a Culture of Violence to a Culture of Peace: Transforming the Human Spirit," which is on display in the foyer of Taplow Court until October 15.

For more information on SGI's efforts towards nuclear abolition and to see the results of the student nuclear abolition survey, please visit the People's Decade website at: www.peoplesdecade.org

[Adapted from an article in the September 15, 2010, issue of the SGI-UK Online News Bulletin; photos courtesy of SGI-UK Online News Bulletin]