Peace and Disarmament
SGI-Italy Campaigns for a World Free of Nuclear Weapons
SGI-Italy organized the multimedia initiative "Senzatomica" ("Without Nuclear ") at the Conference Hall of Rome's Palazzo Marini, the House of Deputies, on February 1. AIMPGN, the Italian branch of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), the Pugwash Conferences and the Parliamentarian Network for Nuclear Disarmament (PNND) were event cosponsors. Part of the 42-panel exhibition created by SGI titled "From a Culture of Violence to a Culture of Peace: Transforming the Human Spirit" (THS) was introduced in conjunction with the event.
The "Senzatomica" campaign aims to build public awareness about the threat of nuclear weapons and to create a movement for the adoption of an international Nuclear Weapons Convention. It works in partnership with IPPNW's International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).
The moderator of the event was the director of the Italian TV channel Sky News 24, and a representative of the Presidency of the Italian Republic attended. Shigeru Nonoyama, an 80 year old hibakusha (atomic bomb survivor), gave his testimony of having survived the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima, Japan. Mr. Nonoyama stressed that living in peace is humanity's right and that when there is peace within families, there will be peace in society.
Dr. Michele Di Paolantonio, president of AIMPGN, underscored the importance of the ratification of the NEW START nuclear disarmament agreement between the US and Russia. He shared that its success was due in part to the efforts of IPPNW and citizen diplomacy. He also stated that both IPPNW and Mayors for Peace adopted the concepts of the Mediterranean Nuclear Weapons Free Sea and Middle East Nuclear Weapons Free Zone as fundamental steps toward actualizing a nuclear weapons free world.
Lisa Clark from Mayors for Peace underlined the importance of cities taking the lead in securing peace. She stressed how nuclear weapons were created to destroy cities and therefore cities should be at the forefront of creating pacifist societies, with citizens taking the lead in this endeavour. She also emphasized the importance of individuals taking responsibility for creating peace and that everything begins with one's own will and desire to create positive change.
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Betty Williams also attended and spoke, emphasizing that every action, no matter how insignificant it may seem, is meaningful. She shared a story about how she was in a hurry to catch a flight at Chicago airport when she saw a woman standing nearby with a placard on which was written: "Go Nuclear." What ensued was a three hour dialogue between Ms. Williams and the woman.
Other guests at the event included Claudio Betti from the Community of Sant'Egidio; Professor Paolo Cotta-Ramusino, secretary-general of the Pugwash Conferences; Francesco Calogero from the Italian Union of Scientists for Disarmament (USPID); Fabrizio Battistelli, president of the Istituto Ricerche Internazionali Archivio Disarmo (International Disarmament Archives Research Institute) and Member of Parliament Federica Mogherini of the Parliamentarian Network for Nuclear Disarmament.
In her talk, Ms. Mogherini urged everyone present to regard the nuclear weapons issue as pertinent to their lives and stressed that what was needed was concrete action to promote peace.
On February 26, supporters of the "Senzatomica" movement gathered in a "flash mob" and simulated a nuclear "freeze" in the Piazza della Signoria, one of Florence's key landmarks. Participants then lined up in black T-shirts with letters spelling out the web address of the Senzatomica campaign.
The THS exhibition opened at Le Pagliere in Florence on March 26, where it will be shown until April 16.
For more information on "Senzatomica" (in Italian) please visit http://www.senzatomica.it/
[Adapted from an article in the February 22, 2011, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, and a report from SGI-Italy; photos courtesy of SGI-Italy]