We still have a mission to fulfill on the anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
We must rededicate ourselves to building peace and reducing nuclear weapons worldwide. The atomic bombs leveled the two Japanese cities near the end of World War II, killing over 100,000 people instantly. Many others died in the aftermath from wounds and radiation exposure, a slow and painful death. The horror of World War II and the atomic bombings is something we must not forget.
But as time has passed, this has become harder. Even back in 1979, Ambassador Gerard C. Smith asked, “Where is the horror we felt in looking at photos of Nagasaki and Hiroshima? All of us, I think, have become calloused to the threat of nuclear war and the effects of nuclear weapons.”
see my full commentary which appeared in the August 7th print edition of the Chicago Tribune.
This Easter, we are in the midst of a horrific global hunger crisis that is fast escalating due to the war in Ukraine. As a major source of wheat, Ukraine is a lifeline for many poor countries. Without access to these precious resources, relief operations are hindered as global food prices continue to climb.
What can be done to address the hunger crisis? To cope with the shortages and higher prices, funding for global food aid programs can be increased. History shows us this can be done if we each sacrifice a little.
That’s what President Harry S. Truman did at Easter in 1946, a year that witnessed another major food crisis in the wake of World War II. Truman canceled the traditional Easter Egg Roll at the White House and cut back on the White House Easter dinner. Such symbolic actions of sacrifice provided an example for citizens to follow. Everyone needed to be involved to save enough food to send overseas to feed the hungry.
If Russia were to invade Ukraine, it would lead to a massive humanitarian crisis in eastern Europe. The U.S. and allies must convince Russian President Vladimir Putin to withdraw his troops from Ukraine’s border.
An estimated 100,000 Russian troops are at the ready to invade Ukraine. “Our view is this is an extremely dangerous situation. We’re now at a stage where Russia could at any point launch an attack in Ukraine,” White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said. Pope Francis has called for Jan. 26 to be a day of prayer for peace for Ukraine.
A diplomatic solution is urgently needed to prevent an escalating child hunger and refugee crisis in Ukraine. Putin’s aggression could threaten the lives of thousands of children, the charity Save the Children warned.
The Chicago-based Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, on Jan. 20, announced the Doomsday Clock is again at 100 seconds to midnight. The Doomsday Clock, designed in 1947 by Chicago artist Martyl Langsdorf, measures how close we are to nuclear war, as well as the impact on human existence of climate change and pandemics.
With the Doomsday Clock remaining so close to midnight, there is a call to action for each of us to advocate for eliminating nuclear weapons.
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists is asking people to join the #TurnBackTheCloick challenge. On social media you are encouraged to share stories and ideas about how we can eliminate nuclear weapons, and people are encouraged to use the hashtag #TurnBackTheClock.
A great way to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day is to share his boldness to end hunger. We are stronger at home if we eliminate hunger and its ill effects. By building stability and peace abroad by ending hunger we can save countless lives.
“I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies,” Dr. King said.
But tragically for the poor, finding one meal a day is a daunting task, and in some places a miracle. In 43 nations right now, millions of people wake up not knowing where their next meal will come from. Famine conditions have taken hold.
David Beasley, the U.N. World Food Program director, is right to challenge billionaire Elon Musk and others to donate to fight world hunger. Beasley has been pleading for the help of billionaires all year and recently Elon Musk responded on Twitter.
What Musk should realize is that donating to feed the hungry saves lives and helps build world peace. And help is needed now more than ever. Conflict, climate change and the pandemic have led to the biggest hunger crisis since the World War II era.
What did we do back then? We fed the hungry, including a heroic airlift that saved millions in the Netherlands. We also took action when famine threatened hundreds of millions in the aftermath of the war. Citizens, including the wealthy, responded to the challenge.
The September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows organization was inspired by Martin Luther King Jr.’s quote: “Wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows.” Only through actions for peace can we save future generations from tragedy.
As we remember the loss of nearly 3,000 people from 20 years ago on Sept. 11, 2001, we also mourn 13 U.S. soldiers killed in a terrorist attack last month in Afghanistan. The soldiers were evacuating civilians from Kabul after the Taliban takeover.
Twenty years of war did not bring Afghanistan stability and peace. The war cost thousands of lives of both soldiers and civilians. The September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows were right to call for “nonviolent and reasoned responses to the terrorist attacks.” More people should have listened.
It is fitting that the upcoming summit meeting between President Joe Biden and Russian president Vladimir Putin takes place in Geneva, for it was there in 1955 when President Dwight Eisenhower made a daring proposal to the Russian leaders of the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
A month before Eisenhower headed to Geneva, the United States actually held a training exercise for nuclear war called Operation Alert. Hope for peace with Russia amid a nuclear arms race was desperately needed.
It was President Dwight Eisenhower who said, “I think that people want peace so much that one of these days government had better get out of their way and let them have it.”
The citizens of America and Russia want peace, including disarming the two largest nuclear weapons arsenals in the world. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin must remember this June 16 when they meet at the summit in Geneva and beyond.