Young burn-out?

THE 78th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki will be commemorated by anti-nuclear weapons activists tomorrow, Sunday August 6.

The peace vigil, set to take place from 12noon to 1.30 pm at the Perth Cultural Centre in Northbridge, will focus on the profound impacts of nuclear war and advocating for a global ban on nuclear weapons, while also urging for the cancellation of the AUKUS deal and Australia’s plans to acquire nuclear submarines.

The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki resulted in a devastating loss of over 200,000 lives, with tens of thousands of survivors suffering from radiation-related illnesses, cancer, and ongoing birth defects.

Long-time nuclear disarmament advocate, former senator and Cockburn resident Jo Vallentine will be among the speakers at the vigil. 

• Veteran campaigner Judy Bligh would love to see more young anti-nuclear weapons protesters, but wonders if they’ve lost hope after their climate action didn’t seem to make a big impact. Photo by Steve Grant

Ms Vallentine said it was important to commemorateg the victims of the nuclear industry and to draw attention to the only instances in history where nuclear weapons were deliberately used in warfare. 

She said it was also important that people knew the impact of nuclear testing in places such as the Pacific Ocean, the United States, China, and Australia, and major nuclear accidents like Harrisburg, Chernobyl, and Fukushima.

Another veteran campaigner, Judy Bligh, said the nuclear weapons issue sent her “from the heights of optimism to the depths of despair.

“I think because there’s been so much international support for the United Nations treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons, it’s a real signal that there’s just so many millions, billions of people around the world who want to get rid of nuclear weapons. 

“I think everybody does, even the ones who actually possess them; but they’re stuck, they are just absolutely stuck. 

“AUKUS has just doubled our interaction with with the US and its, militaristic approach to solving the world’s problems.

We’ll be inviting nuclear weapons to come in.”

Ms Bligh said she’s concerned that they’re not seeing so many young faces at rallies.

“I’m seeing fewer young people involved with the anti-nuclear weapons brigade,” she said. 

“Young people were very present in the climate change issue, and they were enormously present in the Extinction Rebellion action, but I think they lost a bit of steam because they were so young. 

“To have been so hopeful and then nothing much happened is so dispiriting.”

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