Choose peace and a human future, and make sure that your voice is heard!
If nuclear weapons are relied upon for security, sooner or later they will be used by accident or design. That we have had these weapons in our midst for some fifty years provides no proof or promise that they will not be used in the future. In fact, if some nations continue to rely upon nuclear weapons for their security, the likelihood is that other nations will choose to do so as well; and the more nuclear weapons proliferate, the greater will be the danger to humanity.
There is a way out of this dilemma. Nuclear weapons were invented by man. While it may not be possible to “dis-invent” them or, as some say, “to put the genie back in the bottle,” it is possible to abolish them under strict and effective international control. In fact, since nuclear weapons threaten the future of humanity, it is a highly sensible goal for humanity to seek to abolish these weapons. But how can this be done? What are the major obstacles preventing the abolition of nuclear weapons, particularly in light of the decade-old end of the Cold War?
These are questions we posed to a group of distinguished experts who participated in an Abolition Strategy Meeting in Santa Barbara at the end of April. In conjunction with the strategy meeting, the Foundation presented its 1999 Distinguished Peace Leadership Award to General George Lee Butler for his dedicated efforts to bring about the abolition of nuclear weapons.
An extraordinary group of leaders — including General Butler, Senator Alan Cranston, Canadian Senator Douglas Roche, Ambassador Jonathan Dean, author Jonathan Schell, and actor and U.N. Peace Messenger Michael Douglas — came to Santa Barbara to discuss obstacles facing the abolition movement as well as current opportunities. The Summer 1999 issue of Waging Peace Worldwide features a special section on this Abolition Strategy Meeting that looks at “The Road Ahead.” It includes remarks by General Butler, Senator Cranston, and Jonathan Schell, as well as selected dialogue that occurred at the strategy meeting.
That issue also contains the Abolition 2000 “Call for the New Millennium,” which was an outcome of a very productive general meeting in The Hague of over 1,300 organizations that comprise the Abolition 2000 Global Network to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons. There are two articles on The Hague Appeal for Peace Conference, a meeting in The Hague which brought together more than 8,000 peace activists from around the globe; a special section dedicated to Hiroshima and Nagasaki; news of Foundation activities; and much more.
One of the most inspiring moments at the Hague Appeal for Peace Conference came in the closing ceremony when a group of young people from Sierra Leone – young people who have known the terror and horrors of war in their own country – sang a song they had written especially for the conference called “Bye Bye War.” With a simple melody and lyrics, they moved the entire auditorium at the Hague Congress Center to stand and sway with their rhythm as everyone sang, over and over, “Bye Bye War.”
The challenge of the 21st century is to abolish nuclear weapons and to say good-bye to war itself. The effort to meet this challenge has already begun. I encourage you to evaluate foreign policy initiatives of your country on the basis of whether or not they contribute to a world free of nuclear weapons and an end to war as a human institution. Choose peace and a human future, and make sure that your voice is heard!