Reflections on the G7 Summit in Hiroshima
TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 29 May 2023
27 May 2023 – Following is a series of thoughts and reactions to the G7 Summit in Hiroshima.
First, through a letter written on behalf of the Hibakusha, followed by newspaper clippings on the Summit. The article ends with A Key, A Promise, and A Symbol that may be useful in creating a path out of the confused, entangled, and existential crises we all have somehow entered.
Now is a time to share positive, balanced solutions to help prevent the grim possibilities of a future world war; these thoughts and actions are offered as one of them.
Hiroshima and Nagasaki Are in Our Hearts
An Open Letter to the Leaders of the G7 Summit on Behalf of All Hibakusha
Why did you come to our Hiroshima, our Nagasaki, while refusing to use diplomacy with countries you feel want war with you?
Is your reasoning that they must want war with you also?
Do you fully realize the ground upon which you stood, smiling at cameras while talking of democracy, freedom, and justice, with so little said about Peace?
Is it so easy for you to be at war while discussing plans for more?
Who are you to do so on this scarred and solemn ground?
If you truly came here to promote peace rather than to prepare for more war, why is it that we cannot help but continue to cry for our world as it moves ever closer to horrors such as we have experienced?
We and our descendants do not understand your refusal to remember what we innocent victims experienced on August 6 and 9 of 1945.
A brilliant flash and then we all found ourselves in Hell.
Did we blame our leaders, or those of what was then called our enemy?
No. Not one finger was pointed.
It was all too horrible to think of anyone’s guilt or anyone’s innocence.
For us it somehow happened.
Hearing of the powers and agilities of your new nuclear weapons, while understanding the fears in your and your enemies’ minds, we fervently pray, as we have for over the past 77 years, that you will turn towards diplomacy, understanding, cooperation, and sincere peace.
Please keep Hiroshima and Nagasaki in your hearts as you return home.
For deterrence is merely a convenient concept.
We must remember, someday it may somehow happen again.
News Clippings on the G7 Meeting in Hiroshima
Where was that bomb dropped?
It was dropped on the world, on this very planet Earth. And yet, we continue to hear Russia’s overt threat to use nuclear weapons, while none of the nuclear nations has recently been able to take any steps toward disarmament.
I imagine U.S. President Joe Biden brought the so-called Nuclear Button to Hiroshima, as did his predecessor, President Barack Obama.
The reality is grave and relentless. (The Asahi Shimbun, May 20, 2023)
The outcome document, the Hiroshima Vision on Nuclear Disarmament released at the end of the first day of the summit, was in line with the existing deterrence policy backed by nuclear states. (The Mainichi, May 22, 2023)
But even as he stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Zelenskyy, whose presence at the summit bolsters Kishida politically, the Japanese leader sought to repeatedly infuse the summit with his ideas about a nuclear-free world.
To some critics, Kishida’s disarmament goals ring hollow as he simultaneously pushes to double Japan’s defense budget in the next five years and strengthen strike capabilities. (The Associated Press, May 22, 2023)
Kunihiko Sakuma, who was exposed as a baby to radiation from the bombing, said that G7 leaders should focus more on diplomatic efforts to end the war.
“Zelenskyy’s visit is not appropriate for Hiroshima, which is a peace-loving city,” said Etsuko Nakatani, an activist whose parents survived the Hiroshima atomic bombing in 1945. (The Associated Press, May 21, 2023)
“You have to understand that there is nothing,” Mr. Zelenskyy told reporters in subdued tones. “They have destroyed everything. There are no buildings. It is a pity, it is s a tragedy, but for today, Bakhmut is only in our hearts.” (The New York Times, May 21, 2023)
A Key, a Promise, a Symbol
Transcending the Prevailing Winds of Nuclear War
Dr. Klaus Schlichtmann was recently interviewed in an article titled, The Normative Current, which appeared in the recent (May 15, 2023) issue of Transcend Media Service. In the interview, he explained his central theory ― history has frequently demonstrated, through numerous peace conferences and with the inclusion of disarmament clauses in the national constitutions of Germany, France, Italy, and Japan, a continuous call for peace, which has been a significant force throughout contemporary history. This key to peace has remained unused but can be activated at any time to restructure the United Nations as a neutral and diplomatic organization for negotiations, regulations, and the policing of geopolitical hopes toward a safe, human-centric, and sustainable world. Dr. Schlichtmann’s years of research and its resultant concepts have often been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
From November 2015 to March 2017, the Kyoto City Registered NPO Peace Mask Project worked in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Kyoto, several of other locations in Japan, and Hapcheon, Republic of Korea, to create 100 Peace Masks of Hibakusha (atomic bomb survivors) and their descendants, aged 91 to 8. The project, which took 16 months to achieve, included 90 Japanese, 8 Koreans, 1 Chinese, and 1 American, to emphasize the project’s motto: “Nuclear Weapons Have Only One Target ― Humanity.” Our promise to the Hibakusha was to hold an exhibition at an appropriate international location to effectively relay their message: “No More Hiroshima! No More Nagasaki!” Although the 100 Hibakusha Peace Masks were displayed at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum in March of 2017 and at the U.N. Centre Bangkok in December of 2019, we feel that the most appropriate and effective location for an exhibition would be at the United Nations New York. This appropriate location continues our current goal.
Peace Mask Project is based on the principle of respecting the individual while cultivating a community working together for peace. To quote our Founding Artist, Myong Hee Kim, “The making of each of the Peace Masks takes time, human-paced time, and it is best done in a peaceful atmosphere. This calm space is also essential for the benefit of the model who is offering their face for peace. We focus all our attention on the model as the most important person in the room and everyone in attendance feels this necessary atmosphere together. What results is an intimate and profound human connection for all those who are present.” In this way, combining an exhibition of 100 Hibakusha Peace Masks while holding workshops for creating a separate mural of individuals from a variety of nations, cultures and ethnicities will allow those individuals to give their faces for peace and the abolition of nuclear weapons ― a meaningful and lasting Symbol that fulfills Peace Mask Projects Promise while utilizing the Dr. Klaus Schlichtmann’s Key of Peace as humanity’s Normative Current.
It is our hope that others will join and support us in our journey toward achieving these goals. For further information, please write either by leaving a comment in the Transcend Media Service comment box below, or directly to Robert Kowalczyk, Peace Mask Project, International Coordinator
Robert Kowalczyk is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment. He is former Professor and Chair of the Department of Intercultural Studies in the School of Art, Literature and Cultural Studies of Kindai University, Osaka, Japan. Robert has coordinated a wide variety of projects in the intercultural field and is currently the International Coordinator of Peace Mask Project. He has also worked in cultural documentary photography and has portfolios of images from Korea, Japan, China, Russia and other countries. He has been a frequent contributor to Kyoto Journal. Contact can be made through his website portfolio: robertkowalczyk.zenfolio.com
Tags: G7, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 29 May 2023.
Anticopyright: Editorials and articles originated on TMS may be freely reprinted, disseminated, translated and used as background material, provided an acknowledgement and link to the source, TMS: Reflections on the G7 Summit in Hiroshima, is included. Thank you.
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