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See the light: Ban nuclear weapons

As Nobel Prize is handed to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, Hiroshima surivor makes a plea to the powerful

A HIROSHIMA bomb survivor made an impassioned plea for world leaders to “see the light” and ban nuclear weapons at this year’s Nobel Peace Prize ceremony yesterday.

Setsuko Thurlow, a leading activist with 2017 prizewinner the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), made her request as the award was handed over in Oslo, Norway.

She was 13 when the US launched the world’s first nuclear attack by bombing the Japanese city of Hiroshima in 1945, killing tens of thousands of civilians.

Ms Thurlow said the blast left her buried under the rubble of a school, but she could see light and crawled to safety.

She said: “I repeat those words that I heard called to me in the ruins of Hiroshima: ‘Don’t give up. Keep pushing. See the light? Crawl toward it.’ Our light now is the ban treaty.”

The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to ICAN followed a United Nations vote in July to ban nuclear weapons.

There were 122 votes in favour and two against. Britain and the US did not attend and have previously released a joint statement that they do not intend "to sign, ratify or ever become party to it."

In London on Saturday activists marked the Nobel award by staging a “die in” outside the Ministry of Defence.

Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) vice-chair Bruce Kent said Britain could easily be the first nuclear power to abolish its nuclear weapons because its Trident nuclear system is totally dependent on the supply of missiles from the US to carry its warheads.

“We are well placed to be the first nuclear power to come off the fence,” he said.

Mr Kent said the £300 billion cost of building and running the system “could be spent on housing or hospitals, or social services, or overseas aid — that money does not get challenged.”

He condemned US President Donald Trump for his sabre-rattling over North Korea and said Trump was “volatile.”

“It is a very dangerous time because a man like Trump really is not sufficiently informed to know what he is dealing with,” he said.

“He is still living in a kind of cowboy world, where the one with the bigger gun somehow wins. Well, nobody wins with a nuclear war — there is no winning."

Mr Kent said it is a possibility that the US president could get “into a [tantrum] and press the button.”

“The answer to the North Korea problem is to get rid of American nuclear weapons from that area and de-target North Korea — not to encourage them to copy us," he said.

He hoped that there are enough people “with independent minds” to stop Trump.

Gatherings across Britain watched the Oslo presentation yesterday.

In Leeds peacemakers filled the city’s Unitarian church to watch the ceremony on a large screen.

Former Labour MEP for Leeds Michael McGowan told the Morning Star how the anti-nuclear movement had grown, including the international Mayors for Peace group, led by the mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and uniting more than 8,000 mayors worldwide.

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