Humanitarian Consequences of Nuclear Weapons in Vienna

For those interested in this week’s Vienna conference on the humanitarian consequencSCRAP TRIDENT DEMO at Faslane 30th November 2014es of nuclear war: some background in an attempt to make some sense of what’s goiung on reasonably quickly; not that it makes any sense to me that we should NEED to do such a thing. It must have been about 1962 when I first heard about the effects of the bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima, and it was from readings of an eyewitness account by John Hersey, Hiroshima that I learned some of what had happened.

“...as much of
Hiroshima as he could see through the clouded air was giving off a
thick, dreadful miasma. Clumps of smoke, near and tar, had begun to
push up through the general dust. He wondered how such extensive
damage could have been dealt out of a silent sky ; even a few planes,
far 3 up, would have been 
audible. Houses
nearby were burning, and when huge drops of water 'the size of
marbles began to fall, he half thought that they must be coming from
the hoses of firemen fighting the blazes. (They were actually drops
of condensed moisture falling from the turbulent tower of dust, heat,
and fission fragments, that had 
risen miles into the sky above Hiroshima.) At first, when they got
among the rows of prostrate houses, they did not know where they
were; the change was too sudden, from a busy city of two hundred and
forty-five thousand that morning to a mere pattern of residue in the
six doctors out of thirty were able to function, and only ten nurses
out of more than two hundred. The sole uninjured doctor on the Red
Cross Hospital staff was Dr. Sasaki. Mixed in with the abrasions and
lacerations which most people in the hospital had suffered, he began
to find dreadful burns. He realized then that casualties were pouring
in from outdoors. There were so many that he began to pass up the
tightly wounded ; he decided that all he could hope to do was to stop
people from bleeding to death in the scene of a gruesome review: rank
on rank of the burned and bleeding. Those who were burned moaned, "
Mizu, mizu ! Water, water !" Their backs and breasts were
clammy, and he re- membered uneasily what the great burns he had seen
during the day had been like : yellow at first, then red and swollen,
with the skin sloughed off, and finally, in the evening, suppurated
and smelly.Patients were dying by the hundreds, but there was nobody
to carry away the corpses. Some of the hospital staff distributed
biscuits and rice balls, but the charnel-house smell was so strong
that few were hungry. By three o'clock the next morning after
nineteen straight hours of his gruesome work, Dr. Sasaki was
incapable of dressing another wound. Author's
note: possibly erase. " I see," Dr. Sasaki once said, **
that they are holding a trial for war criminals in Tokyo just now. I
think they ought to try the men who decided to use the bomb and they
should hang them all."

Seemed fairly obvious to me that banning the bomb was necessary. I discovered that On 24th January 1946 United Nations held the first meeting of the Secuirity Council set up to keep the peace in the post world war world. The first resolution, preceeding even the extradition and trial of war criminals, or the question of refugees or releif and rehabilitation, even preceeding arrangements for the establishment of a secretariat came


But it was not until 1968 that Ireland, one of the neutral (small, independent) countries was able to negotiate the participation of the (by then) five nuclear weapon states: China, France, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the USSR in the Non Proliferation Treaty . Given that amongst other things, they are committed to “Declaring their intention to achieve at the earliest possible date the cessation of the nuclear arms race and to undertake effective measures in the direction of nuclear disarmament,

things have not been speedy since. Nor has the treaty prevented proliferation.The states parties meet every five years at a Review Conference… Following the review in 2010, the Red Cross/Red Crescent international passed a resolution declaring that they would be UNABLE TO RESPOND to the CATASTROPHIC HUMANITARIAN CONSEQUENCES of a thermonuclear detonation.

Two international conferences exploring these catastrophic humanitarian consequences have taken place as a result of this resolution. They were boycotted by the US and UK Governments on the grounds that “there seems to be an agenda to outlaw nuclear weapons”.

I am releived that they have now abandoned this deranged and insane position and will take part this week.

Acronym http://www.acronym.org.uk/ and Reaching Critical Willhttp://www.reachingcriticalwill.org/ provide updates and background. throughout