‘Ban nuclear weapons now’


This video from the USA says about itself:

Hiroshima Survivor Setsuko Thurlow Recalls U.S. Bombing

27 May 2016

As President Obama becomes the first sitting U.S. president to visit the city of Hiroshima, we look back at the devastation caused by the U.S. bombing on August 6, 1945. It was the first time a nuclear bomb had been dropped in history. At the time, Setsuko Thurlow was a 13-year-old student at the girls’ school. At 8 a.m. that morning, she was on the second floor of the school’s building, about one mile away from the site that was about to become ground zero. She recalls seeing a bluish white flash through the window. Moments later, she was falling through the air as the building was flattened by the blast. For the rest of her life, Setsuko has organized against nuclear weapons. We’re joined now by Setsuko herself.

By Peter Lazenby in Britain:

See the light: Ban nuclear weapons

Monday 11th November 2017

As Nobel Prize is handed to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, Hiroshima surivor makes a plea to the powerful

A HIROSHIMA bomb survivor made an impassioned plea for world leaders to “see the light” and ban nuclear weapons at this year’s Nobel Peace Prize ceremony yesterday.

Setsuko Thurlow, a leading activist with 2017 prizewinner the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), made her request as the award was handed over in Oslo, Norway.

She was 13 when the US launched the world’s first nuclear attack by bombing the Japanese city of Hiroshima in 1945, killing tens of thousands of civilians.

Ms Thurlow said the blast left her buried under the rubble of a school, but she could see light and crawled to safety.

She said: “I repeat those words that I heard called to me in the ruins of Hiroshima: ‘Don’t give up. Keep pushing. See the light? Crawl toward it.’ Our light now is the ban treaty.”

The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to ICAN followed a United Nations vote in July to ban nuclear weapons.

There were 122 votes in favour and two against. Britain and the US did not attend and have previously released a joint statement that they do not intend “to sign, ratify or ever become party to it.”

In London on Saturday activists marked the Nobel award by staging a “die in” outside the Ministry of Defence.

Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) vice-chair Bruce Kent said Britain could easily be the first nuclear power to abolish its nuclear weapons because its Trident nuclear system is totally dependent on the supply of missiles from the US to carry its warheads.

“We are well placed to be the first nuclear power to come off the fence,” he said.

Mr Kent said the £205 billion cost of building and running the system “could be spent on housing or hospitals, or social services, or overseas aid — that money does not get challenged.”

He condemned US President Donald Trump for his sabre-rattling over North Korea and said Trump was “volatile.”

“It is a very dangerous time because a man like Trump really is not sufficiently informed to know what he is dealing with,” he said.

“He is still living in a kind of cowboy world, where the one with the bigger gun somehow wins. Well, nobody wins with a nuclear war — there is no winning.”

Mr Kent said it is a possibility that the US president could get “into a [tantrum] and press the button.”

“The answer to the North Korea problem is to get rid of American nuclear weapons from that area and de-target North Korea — not to encourage them to copy us”, he said.

He hoped that there are enough people “with independent minds” to stop Trump.

Gatherings across Britain watched the Oslo presentation yesterday.

In Leeds peacemakers filled the city’s Unitarian church to watch the ceremony on a large screen.

Former Labour MEP for Leeds Michael McGowan told the Morning Star how the anti-nuclear movement had grown, including the international Mayors for Peace group, led by the mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and uniting more than 8,000 mayors worldwide.

NOBEL PEACE PRIZE WINNER WARNS NUCLEAR WAR IS ONE ‘TANTRUM AWAY’ Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, cited the rise of nuclear-armed states, terrorists and cyberwarfare as pressing international threats. [HuffPost]

Is the United States on the brink of nuclear war? Here.

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Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons wins Nobel Peace Prize


This video from the USA says about itself:

19 June 2012

Ben Cohen (Ben & Jerry’s) – on behalf of TrueMajority.org – uses BBs to show how many nuclear weapons the USA has today.

From the Nobel Prize site in Sweden:

The Nobel Peace Prize 2017

International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN)

The Nobel Peace Prize for 2017

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2017 to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). The organization is receiving the award for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons.

We live in a world where the risk of nuclear weapons being used is greater than it has been for a long time. Some states are modernizing their nuclear arsenals, and there is a real danger that more countries will try to procure nuclear weapons, as exemplified by North Korea. Nuclear weapons pose a constant threat to humanity and all life on earth. Through binding international agreements, the international community has previously adopted prohibitions against land mines, cluster munitions and biological and chemical weapons. Nuclear weapons are even more destructive, but have not yet been made the object of a similar international legal prohibition.

Through its work, ICAN has helped to fill this legal gap. An important argument in the rationale for prohibiting nuclear weapons is the unacceptable human suffering that a nuclear war will cause. ICAN is a coalition of non-governmental organizations from around 100 different countries around the globe. The coalition has been a driving force in prevailing upon the world’s nations to pledge to cooperate with all relevant stakeholders in efforts to stigmatise, prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons. To date, 108 states have made such a commitment, known as the Humanitarian Pledge.

Furthermore, ICAN has been the leading civil society actor in the endeavour to achieve a prohibition of nuclear weapons under international law. On 7 July 2017, 122 of the UN member states acceded to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. As soon as the treaty has been ratified by 50 states, the ban on nuclear weapons will enter into force and will be binding under international law for all the countries that are party to the treaty.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee is aware that an international legal prohibition will not in itself eliminate a single nuclear weapon, and that so far neither the states that already have nuclear weapons nor their closest allies support the nuclear weapon ban treaty. The Committee wishes to emphasize that the next steps towards attaining a world free of nuclear weapons must involve the nuclear-armed states. This year’s Peace Prize is therefore also a call upon these states to initiate serious negotiations with a view to the gradual, balanced and carefully monitored elimination of the almost 15,000 nuclear weapons in the world. Five of the states that currently have nuclear weapons – the USA, Russia, the United Kingdom, France and China – have already committed to this objective through their accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons of 1970. The Non-Proliferation Treaty will remain the primary international legal instrument for promoting nuclear disarmament and preventing the further spread of such weapons.

It is now 71 years since the UN General Assembly, in its very first resolution, advocated the importance of nuclear disarmament and a nuclear weapon-free world. With this year’s award, the Norwegian Nobel Committee wishes to pay tribute to ICAN for giving new momentum to the efforts to achieve this goal.

The decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2017 to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons has a solid grounding in Alfred Nobel’s will. The will specifies three different criteria for awarding the Peace Prize: the promotion of fraternity between nations, the advancement of disarmament and arms control and the holding and promotion of peace congresses. ICAN works vigorously to achieve nuclear disarmament. ICAN and a majority of UN member states have contributed to fraternity between nations by supporting the Humanitarian Pledge. And through its inspiring and innovative support for the UN negotiations on a treaty banning nuclear weapons, ICAN has played a major part in bringing about what in our day and age is equivalent to an international peace congress.

It is the firm conviction of the Norwegian Nobel Committee that ICAN, more than anyone else, has in the past year given the efforts to achieve a world without nuclear weapons a new direction and new vigour.

Oslo, 6 October 2017

In his will, the pacifist Alfred Nobel left decisions about the Nobel Peace Prize to Norway. Norway was then a neutral country. However, for decades now Norway has been a member of the NATO military alliance.

That has led to awarding the prize to some clearly undeserving recipients. Like the European Union. And Finnish politician Ahtisaari (who, though undeserving at the time of the award, later made somewhat more deserving comments).

It is good that this time a deserving organisation has been awarded the prize. At a time when the ‘leader of the NATO free world’, United States President Donald Trump, threatens the world with nuclear annihilation.

Even though Norway is a NATO country, it is good that in this particular case they have not gone along with NATO nuclear warmongers. Within the United Nations, 122 countries have voted for ICAN’s goal of nuclear disarmament. The main resistance to that is by NATO countries like Donald Trump‘s USA, Theresa May‘s Britain and Macron‘s France.

JEREMY CORBYN hailed yesterday’s Nobel Peace Prize win for nuclear disarmament campaigners — and called for “an urgent response” from governments that do too little to achieve a nuclear-free world: here.

Patti Smith and Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize


This Bob Dylan music video from the USA is called A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall {Live at Town Hall 1963}.

The song has often been interpreted, including by Dylan himself, as about the danger of nuclear war.

On the other hand, Dylan later claimed the song was really about ‘all the lies that people get told on their radios and in their newspapers‘.

From Rolling Stone in the USA, 5 December 2016:

Bob Dylan to Provide Nobel Prize Speech, Patti Smith to Perform

Smith to cover “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” at Nobel gala

Bob Dylan, this year’s Nobel Prize in Literature honoree, will not attend the December 10th gala in Stockholm, but his music will still be performed. On Monday, Nobel organizers announced that Rock Hall singer-songwriter Patti Smith, who was previously set to perform her own song, will cover Dylan‘s “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” at the ceremony.

This music video is called Patti Smith Greatest Hits [Full Album] || Patti Smith’s 25 Biggest Songs.

The Nobel Prize committee announced Monday morning that Smith would fill in for Dylan at the Stockholm gala, with Smith also taking part in the Nobel Week Dialogue event the day before on December 9th, where she’ll discuss the “importance of role models.”

While Dylan won’t attend the Nobel ceremony due to “other commitments” that “make it unfortunately impossible,” the Nobel committee tweeted Monday that Dylan has “provided a speech which will be read at the Nobel banquet” on December 10th; organizers tell Rolling Stone that they do not know who will read the “speech of thanks” at the gala as of press time. A rep for the event declined to comment further.

Smith tells Rolling Stone that organizers approached her in September to sing at the ceremony, prior to the announcement of this year’s award recipients. “I had planned to perform one of my own songs with the orchestra,” Smith tells Rolling Stone. “But after Bob Dylan was announced as the winner and he accepted it, It seemed appropriate to set my own song aside and choose one of his. I chose ‘A Hard Rain’ because it is one of his most beautiful songs. It combines his Rimbaudian mastery of language with a deep understanding of the causes of suffering and ultimately human resilience.

“I have been following him since I was a teenager, half a century to be exact,” Smith adds. “His influence has been broad and I owe him a great debt for that. I had not anticipated singing a Bob Dylan song on December 10th, but I am very proud to be doing so and will approach the task with a sense of gratitude for having him as our distant, but present, cultural shepherd.”

After Dylan announced that he could not receive the Nobel honor in person, the Swedish Academy said in a statement that they have “decided not to organize an alternative plan for the Nobel Lecture traditionally held on December 7th. There is a chance that Bob Dylan will be performing in Stockholm next year, possibly in the spring, in which case he will have a perfect opportunity to deliver his lecture.”

Each Nobel laureate is required to deliver a speech “on a subject connected with the work for which the prize has been awarded.” “We are looking forward to Bob Dylan’s Nobel lecture, which he must hold, according to the requirements, within six months [from December 10th],” the Swedish Academy said at the time. It’s unclear whether the Dylan-penned gala speech fulfills that requirement.

Nobel spokeswoman Annika Pontikis said that Dylan’s Nobel diploma and medal will be handed over at a later date that hasn’t been determined yet.

After not initially acknowledging the Nobel distinction, which drew the ire of some Swedish Academy members, Dylan finally said of receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature, “The news about the Nobel Prize left me speechless. I appreciate the honor so much.”

Bob Dylan wins Nobel Prize In Literature


This music video from the USA is called Bob Dylan – Masters of War – lyrics. The song is about the military industrial complex in the USA.

On the same day that Nobel Prize In Literature winner Dario Fo has died, a new prize winner…

From Reuters news agency:

2016 Nobel Prize In Literature Awarded To Bob Dylan

10/13/2016 07:02 am ET

STOCKHOLM, Oct 13 – Bob Dylan, regarded as the voice of a generation for his influential songs from the 1960s onwards, has won the Nobel Prize for Literature in a surprise decision that made him the only singer-songwriter to win the award.

The 75-year-old Dylan – who won the prize for “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition” – now finds himself in the company of Winston Churchill, Thomas Mann and Rudyard Kipling as Nobel laureates.

The announcement was met with gasps in Stockholm’s stately Royal Academy hall, followed – unusually – by some laughter.

Dylan’s songs, such as “Blowin’ in the Wind,” “The Times They Are a-Changin’,” “Subterranean Homesick Blues” and “Like a Rolling Stone” captured a spirit of rebellion, dissent and independence.

More than 50 years on, Dylan is still writing songs and is often on tour, performing his dense poetic lyrics, sung in a sometimes rasping voice that has been ridiculed by detractors.

Some lyrics have resonated for decades.

“Blowin’ in the Wind,” written in 1962, was considered one of the most eloquent folk songs of all time. “The Times They Are A-Changin’,” in which Dylan told Americans “your sons and your daughters are beyond your command,” was an anthem of the civil rights movement and Vietnam War protests.

Awarding the 8 million Swedish crown ($930,000) prize, the Swedish Academy said: “Dylan has the status of an icon. His influence on contemporary music is profound.”

Swedish Academy member Per Wastberg said: “He is probably the greatest living poet.”

Asked if he thought Dylan’s Nobel lecture – traditionally given by the laureate in Stockholm later in the year – would be a concert, [he] replied: “Let’s hope so.”

Over the years, not everyone has agreed that Dylan was a poet of the first order. Novelist Norman Mailer countered: “If Dylan’s a poet, I’m a basketball player.”

Sara Danius, Permanent Secretary of the Nobel Academy, told a news conference there was “great unity” in the panel’s decision to give Dylan the prize.

Dylan has always been an enigmatic figure. He went into seclusion for months after a motorcycle crash in 1966, leading to stories that he had cracked under the pressure of his new celebrity.

He was born into a Jewish family but in the late 1970s converted to born-again Christianity and later said he followed no organized religion. At another point in his life, Dylan took up boxing.

Dylan’s spokesman, Elliott Mintz, declined immediate comment when reached by phone, citing the early hour in Los Angeles, where it was 3 a.m. at the time of the announcement. Dylan was due to give a concert in Las Vegas on Thursday evening.

Literature was the last of this year’s Nobel prizes to be awarded. The prize is named after dynamite inventor Alfred Nobel and has been awarded since 1901 for achievements in science, literature and peace in accordance with his will.

This Nobel Prize for Dylan is not that surprising, the prize being Swedish. Carl Michael Bellman, arguably Sweden’s most famous poet, was a musician as well.

Nobel Prize winner Malala’s views, don’t drown them in hypocritical praise


This video, recorded in the USA, is called Malala Yousafzai To Obama’s Face: Drones Fuel Terrorism.

Ms Yousafzai won the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize. Media said: ‘because of her stance for girls’ education’. Educating girls contributes to peace indeed, indirectly.

Media usually neglect Malala Yousafzai’s anti-drone warfare stance. This side of her makes her an even more deserving Nobel Prize winner, being more directly pro-peace. Alfred Nobel, founder of the prize, intended it for directly anti-war people.

Helen Keller from the USA is very famous as a champion of blind and deaf people. In the Capitol, where the United States Congress meets, a statue honours her.

However, very often Big Politics and Big Media ignore Ms Keller’s political views: she was a feminist, a pacifist, a socialist, and a member of the Industrial Workers of the World.

Another famous woman from the USA is Katharine Lee Bates, author of the very well-known poem/song America the Beautiful. Ms Bates was a feminist, a lesbian, a Christian socialist, and an anti-imperialist. All of these now conveniently ‘forgotten’ by United States Right wingers, who, when singing America the Beautiful, conveniently forget its later stanzas, so inconvenient for them.

These two women have been dead for a long time. Will a young woman of only seventeen years old now suffer a similar fate at the hands of Big Politics and Big Media?

I will quote now from the blog of Juan Cole in the USA. Juan Cole deserves sharp criticism for his support of the 2011 Libya war; a war which led to disasters for women’s rights, to a sharp increase in racism, to ever worsening bloodshed both within and outside the borders of Libya, and to hundreds of thousands of Libyans becoming refugees to save their lives.

However, this blog post by Juan Cole is better than his views on Libya:

Listening to Nobelist Malala Yousafzai instead of just Honoring Her

By Juan Cole | Oct. 11, 2014

Malala Yousafzai has become the youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in history, sharing it this year with India’s Kailash Satyarthi, a children’s rights activist.

Ms. Yousafzai, from Pakistan’s picturesque Swat Valley, was shot in the head by a member of the Tehrik-i Taliban Pakistan (TTP or Pakistani Taliban Movement) two years ago this month for standing up for girls’ education.

There is always a danger that in honoring a figure like Malala Yousafzai, the world will drown out her more challenging views. Martin Luther King, Jr. is now mainly lauded for his “I have a Dream” speech but his socialism, anti-imperialism, and opposition to the Vietnam War is little remembered. Likewise, Lila Abu-Lughod has warned against the use of Ms. Yousafzai by powerful white men as a symbol whereby they can pose as champions of Muslim women against Muslim men– an argument first made powerfully in a another context by Gayatri Spivak. The real Malala Yousafzai is harder to deploy for those purposes than is Malala the symbol.

Islamophobes who use her story as an indictment of the religion of Islam have another think coming. She credits her religion with inspiring her values, the values that made here a nobelist: “What the terrorists are doing is against Islam because Islam is a religion of peace. It tells us about equality, it tells us about brotherhood, it tells us about love and friendship and peace, that we should – we should be nice and kind to each other.”

It should be remembered that Ms. Yousafzai told Barack Obama off about his drone strikes in the Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA) of northwest Pakistan. She said of her meeting with the US president, “I also expressed my concerns that drone attacks are fueling terrorism… Innocent victims are killed in these acts, and they lead to resentment among the Pakistani people. If we refocus efforts on education it will make a big impact.”

She appears to oppose military action against the Taliban: ‘If you hit a Talib with your shoe, then there would be no difference between you and the Talib. You must not treat others with cruelty and that much harshly, you must fight others but through peace and through dialogue and through education.’

She approvingly quoted her father as criticizing novelist Salman Rushdie for his book Satannic [sic; Satanic] Verses, but as standing for freedom of speech for such authors. Her remarks caused her book to be banned in many Pakistani private schools, angering the country’s fundamentalists. She also criticized the denial of rights to Pakistan’s Ahmadi minority.

Honoring someone with the bravery and resiliency and ethical intelligence of a Malala Yousafzai is easy. Taking her more challenging positions seriously and engaging with them is much more difficult.

The blog post might have added that Malala is a supporter of socialism.

It might also have added that Malala sees as her heroine Malalai Joya, Afghan feminist and opponent of the United States and other foreign occupation of her country.

When Stoltenberg, the new boss of militarist organisation NATO, praised Malala, I felt disgust. Don’t let warmongers drown the true voice of the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner ever; the way the establishment tries to drown Katherine Lee Bates, Helen Keller, Dr Martin Luther King, etc. etc.

Malala Yousafzai gives $50,000 to reconstruction of Gaza schools. Nobel peace prize winner says money will go through UN agency and help rebuild 65 schools in Palestinian territory: here.

Malala Yousafzai, the 17-year-old Pakistani female education activist, shot and wounded but never silenced by the Taliban, became the youngest ever Nobel Peace Prize recipient last week. Few women have ever won a Nobel Prize. Of the 867 awards distributed since 1901, just 46 have gone to women: here.