We recognize the 78th anniversary of the U.S. dropping the world’s first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, killing some 140,000 people. Three days later, on August 9, 1945, the U.S. dropped another atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Nagasaki, killing an estimated 74,000 people.
Here in New Mexico many thousands, too, were poisoned with radiation, have died from disease, and are still suffering in the aftermath of the Trinity test that led directly to that unimaginable atrocity. In the months after the Trinity test the people downwind came down with mysterious illnesses, New Mexican infants had a 56 percent increased mortality rate, and the impacts are still being felt. Plutonium has a half life of more than 24,000 years, and once the radioactive ash fell from the sky after the test, it settled on everything -- on the soil, in the water, and on the skin of every living thing, both human and animal.
Oppenheimer realized belatedly "Now I am become death, destroyer of worlds," but still justice is yet to be achieved for those unwitting families downwind of his deadly experiment. We join the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium in asking the public to make calls to the US House of Representatives to follow the Senate's recent historic vote to expand the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act and make New Mexico downwinders and post-1971 uranium miners eligible for compensation. Click here for talking points and link to call your Representatives.
During the annual Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony, Japanese leaders called on nations around the world to work toward nuclear disarmament. Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui had this to say: “Leaders around the world must confront the fact that the theory of nuclear deterrence is folly, and that it is necessary to quickly begin concrete efforts to lead us from our harsh reality to an ideal world.” An ideal world where our leaders cease to engage in nuclear proliferation and gamble with the lives of our children for the sake of profit and military hegemony.
An ideal place too, in which the fossil fuel industry is prevented from their hellbent pursuit of Oppenheimer's ignominious title: "Destroyer of Worlds." Let us lead the way.