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Billy King


Nonviolence News


Readings in Nonviolence

'Readings in Nonviolence' features extracts from our favourite books, pamphlets, articles or other material on nonviolence and related areas, or reviews of important works in the field (suggestions and contributions welcome)

Every country has its particular struggles for peace, for human rights, for a green environment. Peace activists have to work in whatever way they can but since most violence has international links (either through military alliances and support, the arms trade, military training or whatever) peace activists have also to work internationally. And it is good to look at what others are doing, and learn.

This short account of Canada’s role in ‘the bomb’, and a little bit of resistance to it, is only one small – but important - piece of a worldwide tapestry of resistance to war and violence.

70 years after the bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Canada’s ‘gift’ to Japan

By Theresa Wolfwood

British pilot Leonard Cheshire, on board the plane with that bomb dropped on Nagasaki, described the bombing as, “Obscene in its greedy clawing at the earth, swelling as if with its regurgitation of all the life that it had consumed.” (The mushroom cloud resulting from the nuclear explosion over Nagasaki rose 18 km into the air.)

200,000 people died immediately and within days of these bombings; 70 years later people continue to die from the radiation effects of these toxic bombs. Canada was complicit in this tragedy and continues to be complicit in nuclear weapons production.

From a deposit in the NWT, uranium was mined and shipped to the USA; of the local 1st nations Dene people who worked at the uranium mine, many died and their descendants continue to die from radiation-caused cancers to this date. Canada provided most of the uranium for the bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. The Dene gave the white southerners caribou, moose and fish."They were strangers living among us on our land so we took care of them." In return, the locals helped extract and transport the deadly ore with no knowledge of its dangers. The southern miners left the people with toxic waste dumps in their community and radiation ticking in their bodies. New mines in Saskatchewan now export uranium to our friends around the world. Canada is the second largest producer &exporter of uranium in the world.

USA, Russia, China, Britain, Israel, France, India, Pakistan (and maybe others) have more than 19,000 nuclear bombs, many made with Canadian technology & materials. They are moving around the globe everyday on land, in the seas & the air, including in BC. Canada continues to be complicit in nuclear development by selling uranium and technology for nuclear energy (which also contaminates the world with harmful radiation) producing bomb fuels as well as electricity and for bombs themselves. Canada provides so called & highly radioactive ‘depleted uranium’, to 22 nations for weapons – bomb casings, guns, tanks and other steel-hardening military uses. Depleted Uranium weapons were tested in Panama & used in Iraq, Afghanistan and former Yugoslavia.

The Canada Pension Plan, mandatory for all working Canadians, invests our contributions in the five largest arms makers in the world which make nuclear as well as non-nuclear weapons that are sold to and used in many countries against civilian populations.

Nuclear weapons and radioactivity continue to threaten the health of all life systems and undermine the security of human society. Wealth and resources wasted on war-making are needed to create a peaceful and sustainable life for all humanity. It is time to call for nuclear disarmament and a moratorium on uranium mining; to call for cuts in our military spending and an increase in social, health and education budgets. Our precious resources and energy should be directed to the creation of a peaceful, just and healthy world. Nuclear nations and a handful of men can destroy all life on earth & that unspoken threat is behind wars waged by nuclear powers today in Iraq, Syria, Ukraine and Palestine.

In the words of the mayor of Hiroshima, “The world without nuclear weapons and beyond war that our hibakusha {survivors of Hiroshima & Nagasaki} have sought for so long appears to be slipping deeper into a thick cover of dark clouds that they fear at any minute could become mushroom clouds spilling black rain.…Now is the time for us to focus once again on the truth that “Darkness can never be dispelled by darkness, only by light.” The rule of power is darkness. The rule of law is light. In the darkness of retaliation, the proper path for human civilization is illumined by the spirit of reconciliation born of the hibakusha’s determination that “no one else should ever suffer as we did.”

In Victoria on 6th August, from noon until 1 pm, Victoria Women in Black gathered in silent vigil on Government Street; with banners and leaflets; the group called on Canadians and foreign visitors to work for complete nuclear disarmament.

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Theresa Wolfwood is a peace and social justice activist and writer for many publications. Her poetry book, 'Love and Resistance' was published in 2014 by Smallberry Press, London, ISBN: 978-0993031502.

For a photo of Setsuko Thurlow, a Hiroshima survivor who has worked unceasingly for nuclear disarmament and peace, standing with Theresa Wolfwood, author of the article above, Click here. Theresa made the banner shown, used in vigil every Hiroshima Day in Victoria, BC, Canada; it has a panel with the inscription on the Hiroshima Memorial, a gift from Setsuko twenty years ago.

For the Barnard-Boecker Centre Foundation, of which Theresa Wolfwood is director, “Knowing is not enough, Act for peace and justice”, see

Copyright INNATE 2016