Nydia’s Greeting at the 2011 World Conference Against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs

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(Our Granny Peace Brigade member Nydia Leaf is attending the 2011 World Hiroshima and Nagasaki Conference Against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs, August 3 – 9 in Japan.)

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KONICHIWA – Greetings from the Granny Peace Brigade in New York City!

It is a great honor for the Granny Peace Brigade to participate in this World Conference Against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs.  Since 1945 when the United States dropped uranium and plutonium bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, our two countries have been forever linked.   It is a special privilege to attend this gathering and to bring you messages of support from people who believe in the work of Gensuikyo for the Abolition of all nuclear weapons.

The Granny Peace Brigade members are OBAASAN – and we are part of a larger network of older women in the USA.  Our group came into existence after many Obaasan were arrested in 2005 for opposing the Iraq war.  We have gained respect and a reputation for fighting the militarization the US government imposes on its citizens and on other nations under the name of “Democracy.”  We collaborate with other peace and justice organizations and our motto is “We Will Not Be Silent.”   We are engaged in the same struggle as you:  to speak Truth to Power because there must be a world of peace for future generations.

We have several committees in the Granny Peace Brigade – Counter-Recruitment; No U.S. Military Bases in other Countries, and Legislative.  We have a Website and Blog that enable us to publicize our actions and communicate with others, both individuals and organizations, and has much information: www.grannypeacebrigade.org

Hisae Ogawa has given a name to the dual efforts needed to inform people and work for change – GLOCAL – since we must work on both global and local levels.  Our committees work glocally.

For example: 30 miles from New York City is the site of Indian Point, a nuclear reactor plant with 3 units which first opened in the 1970s and is designed like the Fukushima units.  More than 1500 tons of radioactive waste is stored at the site. In the event of an accident, there is still no workable evacuation plan for the 8 million people who reside within a 50 mile radius of Indian Point.  Despite public opposition to renewing an operating license, it is possible the Nuclear Regulatory Commission will approve the request from the Entergy Corporation.   Does this sound like some sort of INSANITY?  Yes, it is !!

In working with other groups the Grannies have many areas of involvement – there is no shortage of problems needing attention !!

We admire your extraordinary artists (like Kenzaburo Oe, Kurosawa, Ozu, Miyazaki, Murakami) and their work reflects what Article 9 of your constitution represents – a renunciation of war and the need to clear a path of harmony to save our planet.

The people of Japan understand better than anyone else that the United States government has the most powerful military in history.   It has developed weapon systems of catastrophic power and is the only country ever to have dropped nuclear bombs on another nation; it spends more for war than all other countries of the world combined.

At the same time, because of this Addiction to War, the United States stands isolated from most other countries. Here are only two examples where the USA does not participate in United Nations treaties.  These are important manifestos which address the rights of people over property.

The KYOTO PROTOCOL has been signed and ratified by191 member states but not the U.S. which generates 25% of global Greenhouse gases.

There is PAROS – PREVENTION OF AN ARMS RACE IN OUTER SPACE.  The U.S. is the only country to vote “no” to this treaty (Israel abstained).  Since 2001 the USA has spent $75 Billion a year to militarize space and has launched the first robotic war, using Unmanned Aerial vehicles over Afghanistan and Pakistan that are controlled remotely, very far from the battlefield

In the United States, the economic recession has caused 25% of the children to go to bed hungry every night. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stated in 1967, “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”

Against this backdrop of militarism, the need for peacemakers to connect their work is even more important.  We know that most governments are motivated by self-interest so let us turn to each other for support, inspiration and the strength in numbers that we need.  We understand what values are needed to have a livable planet for future generations; we are the realists of the world and we persist because we must do the hard work together.    WE WILL NOT BE SILENT.

– Nydia Leaf
for the Granny Peace Brigade
Photo: Phyllis Cunningham

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