Seventy years ago today, at 8:15 in the morning, the U.S. dropped the world’s first atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Destruction from the bomb was massive. Shock waves, radiation and heat rays took the lives of some 140,000 people. Three days later, the U.S. dropped a second atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Nagasaki, killing another 74,000. President Harry Truman announced the attack on Hiroshima in a nationally televised address on August 6, 1945. Today, as the sun came up in Hiroshima, tens of thousands began to gather in Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park to commemorate the world’s first nuclear attack. We are joined by the acclaimed Japanese novelist and winner of the 1994 Nobel Prize for Literature, Kenzaburo Oe, whose books address political and social issues, including nuclear weapons and nuclear power. "If Mr. Obama were to come to the memorial ceremonies in Hiroshima or Nagasaki, for example, what he could do is come together with the hibakusha, the survivors, and share that moment of silence, and also express considering the issue of nuclear weapons from the perspective of all humanity and how important nuclear abolition is from that perspective—I think, would be the most important thing, and the most important thing that any politician or representative could do at this time," says Oe, who has also spoken out in defense of Japan’s pacifist constitution, which Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has pushed to amend in order to allow the country to send troops into conflict for the first time since World War II.
On the 70th anniversary of the U.S. bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we are joined by peace activists from across the nation who are convening in Los Alamos, New Mexico, birthplace of the atomic bomb and home to the country’s main nuclear weapons laboratory and the site of ongoing nuclear development. This afternoon, activists will march toward the laboratory’s main entrance calling for nuclear disarmament. We speak with Rev. John Dear, author of "The Nonviolent Life" and "Thomas Merton, Peacemaker." He helped organize this weekend’s Campaign Nonviolence National Conference to mark the 70th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. We’re also joined by the conference’s keynote speaker, Rev. James Lawson, civil rights icon and Holman United Methodist Church pastor emeritus. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. called Lawson "the leading theorist and strategist of nonviolence in the world."
Full episodes of Democracy Now! can be viewed at the link: https://freespeech.org/collection/democracy-now.
Sign up for Our Newsletter
Get updates about the policies and topics that matter the most to you. Progressive news directly to your email.