Peace Wave marks Hiroshima anniversary on Sunday
BRATTLEBORO — Local community members are taking part in a worldwide campaign to oppose nuclear war and excessive military spending.
Eesha Williams and Elizabeth Wood of New Leaf CSA in Dummerston organized the Peace Wave taking place at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Brattleboro Common. The event marks the 75th year anniversary of when the United States detonated nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan as part of World War II.
"Starting from Hiroshima at 8:15 a.m. on Aug. 6, the time the bomb was dropped, waves of many creative forms of actions will encircle the globe westward along with its rotation until 11:02 a.m. on Aug. 9, the time the A-bomb was dropped over Nagasaki," states a news release about the event. "Given the world facing wars and conflicts, Covid-19 pandemic, climate change, economic gap, poverty and many other critical problems, it is urgently called for to overcome the divisions and confrontations caused by 'My Country First' particularism, and to stop conflicts, abolish nuclear weapons and ensure that the cooperation and solidarity will prevail."
Williams said participants are encouraged to bring signs about nuclear weapons and military spending. Wood anticipates a short march down Main Street.
The couple is unsure what the turnout will look like. Williams said the Citizens Awareness Network told its members about the event in a mass email.
The idea is to bring attention to efforts seeking a world free of nuclear weapons. Participants can attend live events or make their own demonstration.
"You can prepare and join any
activity at any country under any circumstances, making full use of your imagination, creativity and solidarity," states the release. "The key to success is your willingness and actions."
Participants are asked to submit information about their planned activities to the Peace Wave Action Committee via an online form. More details can be found at antiatom.org.
Wood was born in Japan but is not Japanese. She hadn't returned to the country as an adult until this past winter.
"It's a really amazing place and I do feel a special connection to it," she said.
Williams said that last year, the United States government dedicated about 47 percent of the federal fiscal year 2021 budget or $1.6 trillion on the military. Citing information from a group called the War Resisters League, he said the figure includes spending on military personnel, operations and maintenance, procurement, research and development, family housing, veterans' benefits, military-related debt service, homeland security, Federal Bureau of Investigation military, nuclear weapons and more.
"We feel there's much better uses of that money," he said, suggesting funds could help with those who are starving to death in Africa or address climate change via investment in solar panels.
The U.S. holds 4 percent of the world's population but spends as much on war as the whole world combined, Williams said.
"It's just intuitive — even kids can understand nuclear war isn't a good idea," he said. "It's not good for anyone."
Williams described being inspired by local "tax resistors," who refuse to pay taxes because they don't support war. As farmers with low income, Williams and Wood don't feel they contribute much money to such efforts through the income tax.
Reach staff writer Chris Mays at email@example.com and at @CMaysBR on Twitter.
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