‘Un­til my last day I will talk about it’

Canada Hiroshima sur­vivor urges Canada to sign UN agree­ment

StarMetro Calgary - - FRONT PAGE - Gil­bert Ngabo metro | toronto

Set­suko Thur­low fights back tears as she re­counts the events she wit­nessed more than 70 years ago.

She was just a 13-year-old school­girl in Hiroshima when the United States dropped the atomic bomb in 1945, killing thou­sands of peo­ple and cast­ing the city into dark­ness.

“The morn­ing be­came night be­cause of all the smoke and par­ti­cles in the air,” she said Fri­day in Toronto.

By the time she was able to mirac­u­lously crawl out of the rub­ble, her en­tire school was on fire and about 30 other girls with her had all burned.

“I saw peo­ple who were car­ry­ing their own eye­balls as they col­lapsed, their stom­achs burst off them with their in­testines creep­ing out,” she said. “I had to learn to step over the dead and dy­ing peo­ple.”

This De­cem­ber, Thur­low will travel to Oslo to join other mem­bers of the In­ter­na­tional Cam­paign to Abol­ish Nu­clear Weapons (ICAN) in ac­cept­ing the No­bel Peace Prize.

It’s a cause she’s cham­pi­oned through many years of ac­tivism, both in Canada and glob­ally. Her ef­forts and those of oth­ers were in­stru­men­tal in see­ing 122 coun­tries adopt a United Na­tions treaty ban­ning nu­clear weapons in July.

Justin Trudeau joined other NATO coun­tries in boy­cotting the ne­go­ti­a­tions, with Global Af­fairs Canada main­tain­ing the ban would “not ad­dress con­crete mea­sures to elim­i­nate nu­clear weapons.”

The po­si­tion, long held by Canada, leaves Thur­low “dis­ap­pointed.”

“(Trudeau) has to con­sider this is­sue as a very per­sonal human ex­pe­ri­ence,” she said, urg­ing the prime min­is­ter to change course and sign the agree­ment.

Thur­low, who has lived in Toronto since 1955 and is a mem­ber of the Or­der of Canada, said mod­ern-day atomic bombs can do even more harm than those of 1945, con­sid­er­ing ad­vances in tech­nol­ogy.

While she plans to con­tinue her work, Thur­low, now 85, said pass­ing the torch to a younger gen­er­a­tion is one of her main goals.

“Peo­ple around the world must know what nu­clear weapons do and did to us. Don’t let the politi­cians make all the de­ci­sions on their be­half,” she said. “Un­til my last day I will talk about it.” set­suko Thur­low sur­vived the Hiroshima nu­clear bomb.

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