On the account of International Day for Elimination of Nuclear Weapons Across the World on 26th September 2014, Global Zero voices its opinion.
Today — on the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons –there are a staggering 16,000 nuclear weapons in the world. Why should you be worried? Let’s put things in perspective. The first atomic bombings in the world that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki killed more than 200,000 people almost immediately, and have created health repercussions for generations since. That was in 1945. Fast forward to now. Science and technology have developed by leaps and bounds since then. We now have nuclear weapons that could cause 100 times the damage caused by the atom bombs used in Japan. If a weapon of this magnitude exploded today in one of our major cities, the death toll and devastation would be almost unimaginable.
This leads one to ask, why do we even have nuclear weapons in the first place? The answer fundamentally lies in our conceptions of security. Countries see nuclear weapons as the best form of protection, that is, deterrence. But it is time for us to re-imagine the international realm. Is today’s globalized world plagued with insecurity, suspicion and mutual distrust among member nations?
If we are to eliminate nuclear weapons, the first step would be to change how we perceive the countries — and the people therein — by prioritizing cooperation, dialogue and trust. Moreover, at a more fundamental and human level, there is something very wrong about holding entire populations ransom with the threat of total destruction. Security ensured through fear is brittle. Nuclear weapons promise nothing else.
Today, we live in a world where several countries are facing poverty, shortage of food and lack of adequate sanitation and healthcare facilities among other basic necessities. Is it correct then, to waste resources on the development of something which reiterates its promise to lead to the mass destruction of humankind? Have our priorities become so distorted? Have our countries become so disillusioned and power-hungry, striving to retain a position in the “Nuclear Super Power League”?
The nuclear weapon issue is not something that is confined to the higher echelons of government. It is something that directly affects all of us as denizens of this planet. The dangers are very real. But so is the opportunity. That’s why I, along with Global Zero members across India and Pakistan, are calling on our Prime Ministers and world leaders to commit to a nuclear-free world. It’s time we come together and Demand Zero. All of us deserve a chance at peace.
Join us by going HERE.
Varnika Chawla & Tanmay D.
Global Zero South Asia Regional Ambassadors