I attended the Peace Boat Forum in Fremantle on 25 January. Speakers included Karina Lester, Maralinga survivor, Miyake Nobuo, a Hiroshima survivor (hibakusha), Hasegawa Kenichi, a Fukushima farmer, Scott Ludlam and Carmen Lawrence.
Miyake Nobuo told his powerful story of his experience as a young boy in Hiroshima on the day of the atomic bombing on 6 August 1945. What he found on the streets of Hiroshima that day can only be described as horror and his story as well as many other hibakusha’s are a powerful testament to the destruction of nuclear weapons.
Hasegawa Kenichi, a dairy farmer from Fukushima also told his story of the aftermath of the accident at the Fukushima nuclear reactor and the impact of this accident on his life and on many people who had to leave their villages. He spoke of the lack of information from the Japanese government in the aftermath and the playing down of the scale and impact of the accident at Fukushima.
Another inspiring speaker was Karina Lester from South Australia who spoke of her journey to continue the work of her father, Yami Lester, an aboriginal elder and Maralinga survivor. Yami Lester was blinded at 10 years of age by the effects of nuclear fallout on their homelands and fought against the injustice of what was done to Indigenous people through the British nuclear tests at Maralinga.
Scott Ludlam spoke about what we could do to advocate for the abolition of nuclear weapons through social movements which have always paved the way to change, such as equal marriage, abolition of slavery and the rights of women to vote.
The main message of the day was to keep going in the fight to abolish nuclear weapons and the entire nuclear cycle, from mining, waste, nuclear power to the devastation of nuclear weapons. Listen, remember and retell stories from the hibakusha, from the people affected by Fukushima and the stories from Maralinga and other sites of nuclear testing such as the Bikini Islands.
Header photo: Peace Boat moored at the Fremantle Passenger Terminal. Viv Glance
Text photo: Scott presenting as Peace Boat Ambassador at the Forum. Viv Glance