“Ride around the bomb for disarmament”August 25th, 2016
The world remains at the risk of nuclear weapons that are set on hair-triggers, writes Faheem Bin Tariq, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Karachi, Pakistan, who describes events aimed at raising awareness and action on the issue of nuclear disarmament.
30 MINUTES! That’s the maximum time period it will take the nuclear arsenal to incarcerate us; merely thirty minutes and we will be vanished from the face of the universe, and that too at any moment.
We live under the shadow of 15,000 nuclear weapons in the world. A nuclear war will not only kill many, but it would also impact every survivor negatively, leaving them crippled for life, psychologically and physically. Radiation fallout from such a catastrophic event is one of the major irrevocable negative aspects. We are not safe. All of us are threatened by nukes!
What’s devastating is that these nukes can be programmed at a ‘hair trigger alert’, meaning they are fully armed and ready to be launched within just 30 minutes of a perceived nuclear attack. Misinterpreted information or system failure could lead to accidental nuclear war. We already have witnessed several close calls in the past.
Wait a second! Didn’t these nukes turn the glorious cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki into fumes and ashes? This is depressing. Seventy-one year old Japanese nuclear bombing incidents are a haunting reminder of all the ways we have failed humanity.
Commemorating the sad memory of the bombings and victims, Global Zero held events in 75 cities across the world, including a dozen cities from the Commonwealth nations. ‘Ride Around the Bomb’ raised awareness of the horror of the weapons of mass destruction, followed by a ride stretched over the miles to symbolise the circumference of a single nuclear bomb blast destruction.
She has been part of the world without nuclear weapons movement for three years, and it is the third time she has mobilised to reach thousands of young people across different cities to volunteer their time and energy for the noble cause of eliminating nukes.
“Whether by accident or design, entire cities can be erased in a matter of minutes [with nuclear weapons],” she said while riding a horse on a beach.
While touring around different cities across the world, the activists held a banner reading ‘Who Will Keep Us Safe? #EliminateNukes’, which turned the passersby curious about the whole campaign.
Talking about the third year of Global Zero’s international event to protest against the proliferation of nuclear weapons, Sofia Naureen from the youth-led think tank, Nuclear Conversations, spoke “such events offer a rare opportunity to spread awareness in a peaceful setting”.
Based on some of her experiences facilitating talks on nuclear discourse in the USA and South Asia, she added “Considering the hair-trigger of nuclear power countries and the additional 59 countries who possess nuclear technology, it is very important to engage young people in the discourse and gather support for our upcoming generations because these dangerous nuclear weapons are everywhere.”
During the final stages of World War II, in order to compel Japan to surrender after the notorious incident of Pearl Harbor, the United States of America dropped a uranium bomb dubbed ‘Little Boy’ on the city of Hiroshima at 8:45 am of August 6, 1945. Three days later, another one was dropped on Nagasaki and this time a “superior” plutonium bomb.
The catastrophic happenings caused an estimated 120,000 deaths, plus thousands of fatal injuries from radiation exposure. Even today newly-born babies own disabilities because of excess nuclear radiation in the victimised environment in and around the two cities.
“Global warming will kill us gradually. But the weapons of mass destruction would make us vanish within seconds, said Hamail Rizvi, a nuclear disarmament activist who organised one of the events for Global Zero in Karachi. “And every single day is a roll of the dice.”
The event to commemorate the dreadful annihilation was held across the world on 6th and 7th of August. However, all the events were planned in different ways to make people stand together, yet cherish their respective cities and remind each other what’s at stake in case of a nuclear war.
Reach me on Twitter @FBTariq
Photo: courtesy of Faheem Bin Tariq
About me: I am a youth activist and leadership facilitator who believes in the power in youth. With a mission to empower youth, I have impacted lives of at least two million young people across Pakistan. I am currently pursuing a Bachelors degree with dual majors in Architecture and Planning.
I was the British Council’s Global Changemaker (2012-13) and served as UNESCO Youth Peace Ambassador (2011-12).
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
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