Peace and Disarmament

Back to listMar 23, 2012

SGI-Germany Hosts Anti-Nuclear Weapons Exhibition and Panel Discussion

The exhibition at Christ Church in MainzThe exhibition at Christ Church in Mainz

SGI's anti-nuclear weapons exhibition "From a Culture of Violence to a Culture of Peace" was put on display at Christ Church in Mainz, Germany from March 2-23.

The opening ceremony included speeches by Professor Dr. Ulrich Gottstein and Dr. Alex Rosen, both from IPPNW, and Dr. Barbara Krausnick from SGI-Germany. Kurt Beck, minister-president of Rhineland-Palatinate, sent a message in which he stressed the necessity for alternatives to nuclear energy, the need to abolish nuclear weapons and to shift to a culture of peace in which there is social responsibility. He also underscored that the parliament of Rhineland-Palatinate rejects nuclear power and supports renewable energy sources.

Dr. Gottstein, one of the founders of IPPNW-Germany, outlined the history of nuclear weapons, starting with their use in World War II. He stressed that contrary to the belief that such weapons can help prevent or end war, they merely demonstrate military power and will continue to pose a threat to the world at large if the United Nations does not intervene.

Dr. Krausnick highlighted the history of SGI's activities for peace and second Soka Gakkai president Josei Toda's historic declaration calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons made on September 8, 1957. She explained the Buddhist concept of inner "fundamental darkness" as the source of deluded impulses, such as violence and war, stemming from greed, anger and foolishness. She further explained that Buddhism also teaches that wisdom and compassion are equally inherent in people and can transcend these negative impulses.

Lastly, Dr. Rosen talked about the imminent danger of nuclear weapons and the chain of nuclear hazards, starting from the mining of uranium, the development of nuclear power plants, the creation of nuclear waste and nuclear weapons.

On March 11, the anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake (March 11, 2011), a panel discussion on the dangers of nuclear power was held at Christ Church. Speakers included Dr. Winfrid Eisenberg, a pediatrician from IPPNW, and Tetsuya Suganuma and Henrik Raabe from SGI-Germany.

Dr. Eisenberg spoke in particular about the potential health hazards of contamination in food, water and the air from nuclear power plants, especially the effect on fetuses and children up to the age of five. Mr. Suganuma outlined the background and history of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan and Mr. Raabe, speaking from a Buddhist standpoint, emphasized that the mission of humanity is to protect the dignity of life.

Women panelistsWomen peace activists speaking about promoting peace and abolishing nuclear weapons

On March 16, a panel discussion on the abolition of nuclear weapons was organized by SGI-Germany youth members at Christ Church. Three women peace activists from three different generations spoke about their work to promote peace, primarily in respect to the abolition of nuclear weapons. Speakers were Nina Eisenhardt, who has been supporting the abolition of nuclear weapons since the age of 15, Regina Hagen, past coordinator of the International Network of Engineers and Scientists Against Proliferation and current editor of the magazine "Wissenschaft und Frieden" (Science and Peace) and Lotte Rodi, now 80, who was awarded a civilian medal by the state of Schwäbisch Gmünd in 2011 for her contributions to peace, especially during the Cold War.

The three women pointed out that though the future may appear dim in regards to the abolition of nuclear weapons, strong ties of solidarity among those with a shared vision of peace keep them determined to continue the struggle.

[Adapted from reports from SGI-Germany; photos courtesy of SGI-Germany]