Thursday, June 20, 2024

Nuclear shadow looms over globe again: UN chief

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned in his message to an event marking the anniversary of Hiroshima nuclear bombibg in Japan that the shadow of nuclear war has re-emerged now that some countries are threatening to use nuclear weapons.

“The drums of nuclear war are beating once again. Mistrust and division are on the rise. The nuclear shadow that loomed over the Cold War has re-emerged. And some countries are recklessly rattling the nuclear saber once again, threatening to use these tools of annihilation,” according to his address, read by Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Izumi Nakamitsu, at a memorial event at Hiroshima Peace Memorial on the 78th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

Guterres also urged for a complete rejection of nuclear weapons. He pointed out that “eliminating nuclear weapons remains the United Nations’ highest disarmament priority.”

“The only way to eliminate the nuclear risk is to eliminate nuclear weapons,” the top UN official noted. “We will not rest until the nuclear shadow has been lifted once and for all,” he added.

That said, he has never mentioned the US as the country responsible for the bombing.

“Nearly eight decades ago, a nuclear weapon incinerated Hiroshima. Yet as anyone who has visited knows, the memories never fade. The United Nations is proud to stand with the people of Hiroshima and the hibakusha (the survivors of the bombing) to keep alive the memory of what happened here, and the lessons humanity must learn if we are to secure a more peaceful tomorrow. We look forward to working with the people of Japan in this essential effort,” the UN chief concluded without any mention of the US.

The US Armed Forces carried out the first-ever atomic bombing in history, striking the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki toward the tail end of World War II. The bombings were justified as a way to accelerate the capitulation of the Empire of Japan. These attacks are the sole instance of nuclear weapons ever being used in a military conflict in the history of humanity.

According to various estimates, the explosion of the atomic bomb dropped over Hiroshima, in one day killed between 70,000 and 100,000 people. By the end of 1945, the number of victims had increased to 140,000 due to those who died in hospitals from wounds and radiation.

Every year this sad list is replenished when a survivor dies. Almost 5,000 new names have been added to this list over the past year. Besides that, the names of those people who died during the blast but whose death has not been confirmed until now are added to the list. Currently, the total number of victims surpasses 350,000.

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