Nepal must not shirk its obligation to contribute to world peace
On Aug. 6, 1945 the world witnessed what can really be called one of the blackest days in human history.
A U.S. plane named Enola Gay dropped an atom bomb over Hiroshima in Japan.
The bomb named Little Boy instantly killed over 70,000 people and completely devastated the city.
The death toll from the radiation and other problems created by the atomic blast brought the final death count to about 150,000.
Little Boy, it seems, was not so little nor as innocent as a normal little boy would generally be.
But then what’s in a name, an atomic bomb will prove to be just as devastating whatever it is called.
Another city of Japan, Nagasaki, was also bombed on Aug. 9. Following the bombings, Japan announced its surrender less than a week later formally ending World War II (1939-1945) that killed over an estimated 50 million people out of the then world population of about 2.5 billion.
The two atomic bomb attacks, are thankfully, the only two nuclear bombings to have ever taken place so far.
And we need to take lessons from those explosions that killed so many innocent civilians, including small children.
Meanwhile, five years before the start of the Second World War, Nepal was rocked by a severe earthquake in 1934 that devastated many parts of the country including the Kathmandu Valley killing an estimated 10,000 Nepali people and devastating many cities and villages.
Yet, did we take lessons from the 1934 earthquake? How prepared were we for the April earthquake that occurred three months ago? As time flew by, the Nepali state and its people seemed to have forgotten that the country lies in a seismically active zone.
We failed to take necessary precautions and even when building codes came into force, they were flouted by the common people as well as the government and the local authorities.
In the same way, the world seems to have forgotten the tragic war that occurred 70 years ago.
Otherwise, there would have been efforts to ban the use of nuclear weapons and destroy its stockpile owned by a few countries.
The destruction of nuclear weapons has not taken place and now more countries want to possess nuclear weapons instead.
And why should they not want them? Should nuclear weapons be the monopoly of just a few countries, making this world an unequal place to live in?
Glued to Disaster
Despite the known dangers of nuclear weapons, many countries want them, if only as a de- terrent.
Today there are five nuclear weapon states — the UK, the U. S., France, Russia and the People’s Republic of China.
India and Pakistan also have nuclear weapons while North Korea is suspected of possessing nuclear bombs.
Iran is allegedly developing a nuclear weapon while Israel is also said to be in possession of them.
There are estimated to be over 20,000 nuclear warheads and weapons (some of them outdated but can be reused) in the world today, enough to wipe out most of the living beings of the earth (including human beings), several times over.
Yet countries and governments of varied political and/or religious faiths who continue to declare their commitment to peace want to possess nuclear weapons despite knowing how destructive and damning such weapons can be.
They not only kill instantly but also leave behind radiation that lasts for years and results in large- scale human fatalities.
It is not that the dangers of nuclear weapons as well as nuclear waste produced by nuclear reactors and nuclear energy plants are not well known to almost everyone.
And there is the question of accidents at nuclear power plants and reactors.
Who can forget the panic caused by the Chernobyl nuclear accident that took place in 1986?
Then there was the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011. These are but two of the almost 100 nuclear accidents that have been recorded since the first atomic bomb was dropped in 1945. Still, it is not as though nothing is being done in this regard.
The U.N., through its various agencies, has succeeded in banning the test of nuclear bombs in the atmosphere.
And Germany, which was affected adversely by the radiation from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, is to phase out all its nuclear power plants by 2022 following anti- nuclear protests by the people. But this is far from enough.
World at Peace
And last week, the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed remorse over Japan’s role in the Second World War.
The Americans, however, have never apologized for dropping the atomic bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Still, neither the Japanese Prime Minister’s regret nor an American apology ( if it ever comes) will be enough to wipe off the indescribable human suffering (and environmental degradation) that the world experienced because of the wars and the use of atom bombs.
The need of the day is to ensure that no wars ever take place whether such a war be a minor civil strife conducted on flimsiest of grounds or a global one conducted for what warring factions perceive to be major issues.
A total and complete disarmament should be the ideal goal.
But such a target might seem to be too idealistic in a world that sees conflicts of one kind or the other almost every day of the year in one part of the world or the other.
Nonetheless, it is a goal worth striving for by peace loving people everywhere.
And while it must be the goal of all global organizations to aim for total disarmament, the destruction of all nuclear weapons must be the first step toward realizing such an idealistic goal.
Nepal lies in between two countries that have nuclear weapons and are operating nuclear reactors.
They are also planning on building large-scale nuclear power plants. Not far away from us, Pakistan also possesses nuclear weapons. The danger these nations pose to Nepal is self evident and yet we remain silent about the ever growing threat not merely to this country but to the entire region.
And we have our enlightened leaders to thank for discarding the pursuit of the Zone of Peace proposal that was supported by over 100 countries.
Maybe they think it is better for us to become a zone of conflict rather than that of peace.
Our government, must do its bit to make this world a better place, which means a world without wars and deadly nuclear weapons — a world at peace.