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Manchester, UK, Awarded Peace Seeds In Recognition Of 34 Years As A Nuclear-Free Zone

Gingko seedlings from Hiroshima at the Hulme Community Garden Centre

Gingko seedlings from Hiroshima at the Hulme Community Garden Centre

The 5th November marked the 34th anniversary of the city of Manchester, England, becoming the world’s first nuclear free city. The city was declared to be a “nuclear free zone” on 5th November 1980.

To mark the occasion the Mayors for Peace organization awarded the city some seedlings taken from ginko trees that survived the bombing of Hiroshima. Mayors for Peace is a global programme founded by the mayor of Hiroshima, Takeshi Araki, in 1982. Manchester is a vice presidential city in the Mayors for Peace programme.

The ginkgo trees were growing less than two kilometres from Hiroshima city centre and survived the atomic bombing, despite suffering severe damage. The following spring, new buds appeared on the charred trunks of the trees, giving hope to the survivors of the bombing as they began to rebuild their city.

Manchester is the first city in the United Kingdom to receive peace seeds from Hiroshima.

The ginko-tree seedlings were officially presented to the Lord Mayor of Manchester, Councillor Sue Cooley.

Accepting the seedlings, the Lord Mayor said:

To receive these seedlings from trees that survived the atomic bomb is truly breathtaking, they serve as both a pertinent symbol of hope and a reminder that we stand proud, with our fellow Mayors for Peace cities, in the call for nuclear disarmament.

“I hope that local children are inspired by these symbolic ginkgos and look forward to seeing their art work next year. Involving young people with the Mayors for Peace programme is vital in making sure the next generation do not forget the immense destruction nuclear weapons can cause and do not repeat the mistakes of the past.

The seedlings will be nurtured and cared for by the Hulme Garden Centre in Manchester and they will be used in a school project , Project Gingko, in 2015.

Hulme Community Garden Centre Facebook Page announces "Project G" - nurturing gingko seedlings taken from a-bomb-surviving gingko  trees in Hiroshima

Hulme Community Garden Centre Facebook Page announces “Project G” – nurturing gingko seedlings taken from a-bomb-surviving gingko trees in Hiroshima

The project will invite children from Manchester to create artwork reflecting upon the destruction of Hiroshima in 1945 and how nature can help regenerate destroyed cities.

The artwork will be entered into a competition and an exhibition of the completed artwork will be held. The winners of the competition will be invited to attend a special event with representatives from Hiroshima.

The story was picked up by the BBC News: Hiroshima ginkgo tree seeds take root in Manchester

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Nepal Academy of Science & Technology Commemorates Hiroshima Day

We received a report from Dr Basant Pant about a seminar which he organized with the Nepal Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) to study the effects of radiation on human health. The seminar was held in commemoration of the 69th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on August 6th 1945.

Writing on his Facebook Page, Dr Pant explained,

Today at 8:15 am Aug 6th 1945, first atom bomb was dropped in Hiroshima leading to 80,000 deaths, thousands of injury, great destruction, and long term effect of radiation.

We all should learn a lesson from Hiroshima, risk of Nuclear war & accident incorporate all human beings, nobody is immune from it so, we should continue to show our concern against its development, proliferation and use.

Today NAST is organizing a special event in this regards and here are some of the slides from my presentation. 
“War is Evil; not the countries who fight it”

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Hiroshima from a Doctor’s Eye… Part of the presentation, “Effects of Radiation on Human Health” for the 69th anniversary of Hiroshima Day.

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The seminar was well attended by doctors and scientists.

We would like to extend our thanks to Dr Pant and NAST for organizing this event.

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You Don’t Hold Weapons When You Join Hands: Sagamihara Peace Ambassadors Visit Hiroshima

Thirty years ago the city of Sagamihara in north-central Kanagawa Prefecture, close to Tokyo, declared itself a “City of Peace and Nuclear Weapons Abolition”.

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Sagamihara (source: Wikipedia)

To celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of its peace declaration, Sagamihara organized several activities including a competition for the city’s elementary and junior high school children to design peace posters.

The winners of the peace poster competition took on the role of temporary peace ambassadors for Sagamihara. They travelled to Hiroshima to engage in peace activities. While in Hiroshima, they met Tomoko Watanabe of ANT-Hiroshima.

 

Here are two of the winning posters. The first was designed by elementary school pupil Anon Oyama. The message reads,

Te o tsunageba buki wa motenai!!

You don’t hold weapons when you join hands!!

 

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Peace poster by elementary school pupil Anon Oyama.

Here is the winning peace poster by junior high school pupil, Sana Goto. The message reads:

Ano kanashimi o hikisuide  … heiwa no onegai o Nihon kara

(May) prayers of peace from Japan … overcome that grief

sanagoto

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Lahore School Children Just Say No To War, Terrorism & Nuclear Weapons

ANT-Hiroshima has been co-operating with Hector Nihal, director of the Aids Awareness Society in Pakistan, who requested assistance in a peace education initiative for schools in Lahore, Pakistan.

Hector organized a poster competition as part of his peace education initiative, “Say No to Nuclear Weapons.” The peace edcuation initiative was originally scheduled to be on 9th August 2014, to commemorate the dropping of the second atomic bomb, on Nagasaki.

However, the event had to be postponed as the venue was at Model Town, Lahore, was where a rally and demonstration at the beginning of Tahirul Qadri’s “Inqalab March” was being held.

The event was held on 6th September instead, and went off successfully.

A total of ten schools took part along with representatives from various NGOs, religious leaders and political parties.

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Adults and children listen to the presentation.

The posters made by the students were put on display, as were the educational posters that were supplied by ANT-Hiroshima.

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Some of the student posters on display.

The school students were shown a film about the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and learned about the devastating effects of nuclear weapons. They expressed their solidarity with the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

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Watching a film about the atomic bombing of Hiroshima & Nagasaki.

The participants appreciated the courage of the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as they struggled to recover from the destruction in a spirit of Peace and forgiveness while moving ahead to rebuild their lives and communities.

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The school children received certificates of attendance and gift copies of Sadako’s Prayer.

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School children receive certificates and copies of Sadako’s Prayer.

The school principals offered their full support and cooperation for future peace programs in their schools to educate younger generation about the importance of peace and the effects of weapons of mass destruction.

On behalf of participants we are grateful ANT and its team for providing this opportunity to organize a program on this important topic. – Hector Nihal

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Eric Martin Translates & Sings “Inori” in Commemoration of Sadako Sasaki

Sadako Sasaki lived in Hiroshima and was just two years old when the city was destroyed by the atom bomb on August 6th 1945. She survived the bombing, but nine years later she contracted leukemia, caused by exposure to radiation from the atom bomb.

While in hospital she started folded paper cranes after hearing an old folk tale that promises that a wish shall be granted to those who fold a thousand paper cranes. It is said that Sadako folded over a thousand cranes, but she succumbed to the disease and died at the age of twelve.

Some years later, Sadako’s nephew, Yuji Sasaki (born 1970) wrote a song, titled Inori (Prayer), to commemorate his aunt. It became a big hit in Japan in 2010 and Yuji sang the song at the commemorations of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in 2010, as you can see in the video, below.

Yuji explains that when he was a child living in Fukuoka he didn’t feel that the story of Sadako and the atom bombing had anything to do with him. However, his attitude changed when he moved to Tokyo his father, Sadako’s elder brother, visited and gave a lecture at a high school about Sadako. He was challenged by some of the high school students and teachers to compose a song about Sadako as he shared her DNA. That insight helped him to feel closer to Sadako, and he accepted the challenge and wrote the song. He explains,

Despite facing death, Sadako always showed a brave smile to her family. I tried putting myself in her place to compose the lyrics.

Source: Hiroshima Peace Media

Inori Translated Into English & Sung by Eric Martin

Yuji Sasaki’s song was translated and performed by Eric Martin,  who fronts the hard rock/glam metal band Mr Big.

 

Inori (Prayer)

lyrics by

Eric Martin

Though she knew the end was near still she never gave up hope

In the power that she believed from the old stories told

Of a thousand paper cranes that were folded every day

They would give her wings to fly and live for ever more

All her family gather round, and held her tenderly

And took away the fear, for a while she was free

And secretly she cried to god above

To keep her safe at home where she belongs in the arms of love

Say a prayer, say a prayer save the souls that have gone

A memory, a memory lives on in everyone

Inori, inori, inori, for peace on earth

In the eyes of every child we find salvation

 

As she folded the colorful cranes tears start to fall

And she struggled deep inside to make sense of it all

When it seems like all is lost, dreams could come true

And that after every storm there’s a light that’s shining through

One courageous little girl calling out to us

So no one will forget all the innocent

There are lessons we can learn that she left behind

About a hopeful message she gave to the world to make a better place and time

Say a prayer, say a prayer for the souls that have gone

When you wake up to the morning and a new day has begun

Inori, inori, inori, for peace on earth

In our hearts a dedication to what tomorrow brings

 

There is sadness in the world on this very day

And the echo of her voice when the children play

There’s a change in the season when the flowers bloom

And after all is said and done we’re always thinking of you

Say a prayer, say a prayer, save the souls that have gone

A memory, a memory lives on in everyone

Inori, inori, inori, for peace on earth

In the eyes of every child we find salvation

Say goodbye, say goodbye say goodnight and go to sleep

There’s a spirit in the sky an eternal prayer for peace

Heaven’s wish, heaven’s wish, heaven’s wish a chance to live

In the heart of every one there is salvation

In the heart of every one there is salvation

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