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Civic Impact

If America can't control guns, can it control nukes?

Since nuclear weapons haven't killed anyone in most Americans' lifetimes and nuclear power accidents seem mostly to affect far away countries, what chance do people calling for further nuke curbs have in America?
"Actually, the attitude of most people in this country about nuclear weapons is clear – they should be abolished worldwide," says Robin Alexander. "However, it is one more issue that has gotten tied up in political gridlock. We need to send a clear message to politicians of all political parties that our future is not a partisan political issue and that the U.S. should exert strong leadership in reducing stockpiles and working towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons.
That's why Alexander is one of the organizers of Remembering Hiroshima, Imagining Peace, events marking 67 years since the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, during World War II. The annual event is organized by local labor, peace, environmental, educational and cultural groups.
On Aug. 5, the movie Nuclear Savage, about Cold War radiation experiments on Pacific Islanders, will be followed by a live Skype session with peace activists from Kobe, Japan. It will be followed on Aug.5 and 6 by the Shadow Project, which duplicates on city surfaces the shadow images left by some nuclear bomb victims. Participants will be creating the images in front of the Melwood Screening Room, Shadow Lounge and the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, where they will also be folding paper cranes as a symbol of peace.
The events end on Aug. 6 with a spoken word and music program at the Shadow Lounge.
One hopeful sign for the world, Alexander says, is the shutdown of nuclear power plants in Japan following the earthquake and the meltdown of the Fukushima Daichi power plant. Recent plant re-openings caused demonstrations. Less hopeful, she says, are possible actions in the Middle East buy Israel against Iran's potential nuclear capabilities.
"We hope that people will reflect on both the devastation caused by the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagaskai and also on what peace can mean: for our lives, in our neighborhoods and for the world," Alexander says,  "then get involved in some way -- whether it is to help stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons, question the use or safety of nuclear energy, or to stop the violence in our own neighborhoods."
Writer: Marty Levine
Source: Robin Alexander
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