The renowned Israeli poet, Yehuda Amichai, who survived many wars, observed that whenever he witnessed a home turned into a shell by rocket-fire, it had exposed the soul of those who called it home: their furniture strewn; family photos shattered, splayed across the road; clothes in amorphous piles. Viewing the drone-videos over Ukraine, along with you, we wince, not only over houses gone, but entire neighborhoods leveled to the ground, all serving to evoke the unforgettable swath of rubble sprawled across those once thriving cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
As if this shuttering realization wasn’t enough, the megalomaniac of Moscow has raised the catastrophic specter of deploying nuclear weapons of mass destruction, to say the least. The now over seventy year old Nuclear Question is no longer under the radar.
For these past decades, the U.S. and theother eight possessor-nations, have succeeded to both keep the issue out of sight, and also to inure us to accept the global consequences of a hopefully limited exchange. The medical guidance of the Physicians For Social Responsibility, PSR, have calculated that all it would take to annihilate civilization would be the unleashing of a mere two percent of available weaponry, the combined total of all countries being in the range of 13,000, 90% between Russia and us. The over two hundred explosions would then plume to form a massive radioactive cloud, blanketing the earth in a matter of months, if not weeks.
When we hear of an ever desperate dictator’s thinly veiled threats, our immediate reaction is to throw up our arms into the despairing air of inevitability. That being the case, what hope do we have to once and for all disengage and prohibit their construction or advancement? Will we ever be able to order the global nuclear arms’ industry to convert to the peace-work of harnessing wind, solar, and hydro-energy? In his recent work, From Weapons to Windmills, NuclearBan U.S. Coordinator, Timmon Wallis, outlines the realistic possibility..
In any case, fear not, children, hope is closer than you can imagine. The good news is that today’s “blessed peacemakers” (Jesus) are hard at work on at least two parallel fronts: the first being the 2017, U.N.’s Treaty For The Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons; and second, PSR’s Back From The Brink, BFTB, nation-wide campaign.
By August, 2021, the Treaty had been ratified by the parliaments of no less than fifty nations. This means that any nation that builds, possesses, maintains, sells, or threatens to employ nuclear warheads is now in violation of international law.
Of course, none of the nine nations has yet to comply. However, we and they are now under the pressure of knowing full well that, continuing to act illegally, they remain guilty as charged.
The BFTB movement continues to spread state-wide and nationally, calling for no-first use policies with the aim of eventual elimination. We have Northampton’s own Dr. Ira Helfand, to thank, for gaining burgeoning support across the land., right up to our own U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern. For Helfand’s dogged determination, in 2017, along with ICAN (International Coalition To Prevent Nuclear Weapons) he received the Nobel Peace Prize..To give you an idea of their scope, there are now 200, Partner organizations in 100 countries. (Make that 201, as our Northampton Nuclear Ban U.S. committee is now a formal Partner.)
What can we do here and now, you’re hopefully asking?
Strenuously advocate for the passage of two similar bills now on Beacon Hill: Senate 1555, initiated by our own Sen. Jo Comerford; and Resolve House 3688, by our own Rep. Lidsay Sabadosa, seeking to establish a Nuclear Weapons Citizens’ Commission, to advise the Commonwealth of the projects of at least five relevant major corporations alongside the (yes, nuclear) command and operations center at Hanscom A.F.B., in Bedford. Selected members of the Commission would be serving pro bono.
Come April the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security will vote on #3688, after three years of evaluation and hearings. What you can do is tell your family, friends, and congregations living in the districts of those Joint Committee-members, to contact them declaring rigorous support. Additionally, if they have friends, ask them to join the ranksas well. Truly, time is of the essence.
One of the best ways to renew our hope for a future for our loved ones, young, old, or about to be born, is to participate, rolling up our sleeves to join the ever growing ranks of the Blessed. What you’ll find is that doing so will give you the confidence to believe that a world free of mindless self-destruction, of chilling omnicide, is possible, finally putting to rest the decades’ old embedded fear of the Question.
Who wouldn’t want to say, to their high school grandchild, that I did my best? THAT is the question.
-Rev. Peter Kakos, Northampton, Mass. March 26, 2022.