Mayor of Hiroshima calls people to participate in peace walk to Belgian NATO nuclear base
Almost half of Belgian mayors joined call for elimination of nuclear weapons by 2020
The mayor of Hiroshima, Mr. Akiba Tadatoshi, calls people to participate between July 26th and August 9th in the peace walk from Ypres to the NATO nuclear weapon base in Kleine Brogel, in the north of Belgium (letter attached). The peace walk organised by For Mother Earth, the Flemish member of Friends of the Earth International, marks the 60th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6th and 9th 1945. The walkers receive active support of Belgian mayors as almost half of them have recently joined the 2020 Vision of the mayor of Hiroshima, calling for the total elimination of nuclear weapons by 2020. In Flanders, the northern region of Belgium, over half of the mayors already joined the Mayors for Peace network.
In a letter to For Mother Earth the mayor of Hiroshima writes “I hope many will join -even for one day- and walk in solidarity with the survivors of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, whose wish is “No more Hiroshimas, no more Nagasakis ever again”.
Mr. Yoshio Sato, a survivor of the A-bomb in Hiroshima will also join the walkers in Belgium. On August 6, 1945, Mr. Yoshia Sato was exposed to the atomic bomb as he was just one kilometer away from ground zero. Meetings are set up with mayors all along the route and of course Mr. Sato will be the main speaker at the Hiroshima and Nagasaki commemorations and actions.
Mr. Akiba Tadatoshi, the mayor of Hiroshima states that “At a time when apathy and ignorance are common enemies, I applaud the walkers who are taking this action to expose the double standard of the Western states concerning weapons of mass-destruction. Of course, we cannot condone nuclear weapons in North-Korea, Iran or Iraq. But why should we tolerate nuclear weapons in Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey or anywhere else?“.
For Mother Earth designed this walk to increase pressure on NATO member states to work towards a treaty for a global ban on nuclear weapons, as stipulated in Article VI of the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
Today SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute) estimates there are 13,470 operational nuclear warheads in the world. If one includes the number of inactive warheads, the total global inventory is some 27,600 warheads. The U.S. deploys an estimated of 480 tactical nuclear weapons on NATO bases in six European countries, a nuclear force larger than the entire Chinese nuclear stockpile. Furthermore the U.S. is the only nuclear weapon state to deploy nuclear weapons outside of its own territory. The NATO base at Kleine Brogel has a capacity to store up to 20 US B61 nuclear bombs, each of which has a lethal power that exceeds the power of the Hiroshima bomb by up to 14 times. In 1945 140,000 people died in Hiroshima because of that single atomic bomb.
On April 21st the Belgian Senate approved a resolution asking for the withdrawal of U.S. nuclear weapons from Europe. This is the first time that a parliamentary assembly has dared to ask for the withdrawal of U.S nukes.
Asking for the withdrawal of the estimated 480 U.S. nuclear weapons deployed in Europe is an issue that concerns to each and one of the European citizens, involving human rights, public health and environmental impacts. Nuclear weapons within a society have the potential to distort social and economic priorities.
On the other hand, nuclear weapons are illegal. They fail to discriminate between military, civilian targets and personnel; fail to comply with the principle of neutrality in time and place. Because of their very nature, nuclear weapons cannot be used without violating international law. The use or threat of nuclear weapons is therefore clearly illegal.
The approximately 250 km long walk will start on Tuesday, July 26th, in the peace town of Ypres, and will end at the secret NATO nuclear weapons base at Kleine Brogel, passing via NATO Headquarters in Brussels where an action is planned on Monday August 1st. The walkers will appeal to the mayors of towns and cities along the route, to ask for their active support for the international emergency call of the 'Mayors for Peace'. At Kleine Brogel, a peace camp will be held from August 6th, the anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing, until August 9th, the day of the commemoration of the Nagasaki nuclear bombing.
The walk will constist in an average of 25 km/day. Your luggage will be on a support vehicle. The famous mobile dutch kitchen collective 'Rampenplan' will be providing excellent vegetarian and vegan meals. We will camp outside, so please bring a tent.
Three organic meals, camp sites and participation costs only 10 euro/day. A very democratic price.
Because of previous negative experiences the use of alcohol and illegal drugs is strongly discouraged. Do not bring animals.
Please register as soon as possible - this will help us to make practical arrangements for campsites, food and agreements with city and town councils.
Tue., July 26th Ypres - Roeselare
Wed., July 27th Roeselare - Tielt
Thu., July 28th Tielt - Ghent
Fri., July 29th Ghent - Aalst
Sat., July 30th Aalst - Brussels
Sun., July 31st rest day and action training
Mon., Aug. 1st NATO (Evere)
Tue., Aug. 2nd Brussel - Leuven
Wed., Aug. 3rd Leuven - Diest
Thu., Aug. 4th Diest - Leopoldsburg
Fri., Aug. 5th Leopoldsburg - Kleine Brogel
Sat., Aug. 6th Kleine Brogel, Hiroshima commemoration actions
Sun., Aug. 7th Kleine Brogel, Peace action camp
Mon., Aug. 8th Kleine Brogel, Peace action camp
Tue., Aug. 9th Nagasaki commemoration action in Ghent www.nagasaki60.be
For Mother Earth has been organising peace walks since 1991. Eleven For Mother Earth walks have covered over 12.000 km in their campaign for a nuclear test ban and the abolition of nuclear weapons.
More information and registrations:
Letter of the mayor of Hiroshima to For Mother Earth
Biography of Mr. Yoshio Sato, survivor of A-bomb
For more information: Letter of Mayor of Hiroshima to For Mother Earth
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