How long has it been since the first outbreak of COVID-19? Is the world ever going to be safe again without masks and physical distancing? How long has it been since the detonation of nuclear weapons in Hiroshima and Nagasaki? A little more than 75 years ago, the world has not been safe from nuclear weapons, as nuclear armed countries continue to race to greater heights and for bigger nuclear weapons, even after the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). In the past year, the world was plunged into an international crisis, whereby no one was exempt not even the richest nor the famous. No one knows for sure when the pandemic will end. Youths are deprived of the “normal” face-to-face learning, and wasted inestimable years of their youth to #stayhome so that they can #staysafe. What better time than now, to imagine the invisible threat that nuclear weapons pose for all lives and its environment, for more than 75 years now.
Following up on #DanceforNUKEBan, a community dance project in 2020 by Tarinao in collaboration with Rakan TPNW [a youth initiative by Soka Gakkai Malaysia (SGM)], Tarinao is proud have supported the class of Bachelor of Public Relations Year 2 students at the Faculty of Communications and Creative Industries (FCCI), Tunku Abdul Rahman University College (TARUC). Borrowing on the concept of past, present, and future with the focus on “human revolution” as expounded by the second president of Soka Gakkai, Josei Toda, the students, led by campaign advisor Yeow Lai Chee and campaign director Jessmyn Yong and her dedicated team of students masterminded a one-month, completely virtual public relations campaign to promote nuclear ban via social media to holler #YouthAgainstNuke—Nuke-Clear Campaign.
The campaign successfully gain traction from 20-30 thousand Facebook and Instagram users (youth and general public) and international organisations including Japan-base Peace Boat Project and the ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross), KL Office. The three-day virtual event from 6-8 April, 2021 was filled with creative and engaging content including a short animated film “The Story of Frida” about time travelling to save the world from nuclear apocalypse, voiced over by the students; scented candle workshop to light up hope in the hearts of people; ground zero audio experience; virtual dance and music performances; public speaking contest with the title “A Letter to Future Me”; nuclear weapons related talks and exhibition by SGM and Peace Boat Project; and the highlight of the campaign—virtual exhibition on Kunstmatrix with curated contents contributed by Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, Soka Gakkai International (SGI), SGM, and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), along with selected artworks “Frame of Hope” by the students.
The presence of all to grace the virtual event strongly validated the significance of youth against nuke. Especially those who have followed, liked, shared and taken the time to go through the content created and curated by the youth organiser. To ensure the continuity of peace through the total eradication of war beginning in the minds of each individual. To quote the president of SGI, Dr Daisaku Ikeda,
“Peace is not the absence of war”.
Peace is the actions beginning with us as individuals, being authentic to our abilities and passion. To develop the wisdom to discern the right from the wrong, having the courage to take action for the world we aspire to live in and leave behind. Take responsibility in guiding and supporting the youth in our communities, believing in them even when they don’t believe in themselves, to succeed in the efforts of creating a world where all can live in harmony and peace without discrimination or exploitation to our environment.
When nuclear weapons were created, bright minds of science participated eagerly to witness and test the limits of nuclear technology. The Manhattan Project successfully created the first atomic bomb, that detonated to about 12,000 metres high, going beyond the 2nd layer of earth’s atmosphere, as if it was the most powerful fireworks in the sky. Little did they know what it would bring to the lives of the victims of nuclear weapons in Japan. The only country in the world that has ever experienced the true impact of nuclear weapons, way back more than 75 years ago. 75 years later, technology has boomed. Communication has gone from telegrams on papers, to simply touching a cold screen on a thin piece of plastic and or metal, to connect to a family or friend or work colleague from across the continent. Nuclear technology has advanced 3333 times more powerful than the one dropped on Hiroshima on that fateful date of August 6, 1945. Since then, nuclear armed countries have been allowed to race to greater heights in terms of their nuclear technology, January 22, 2021. Nuclear weapons are officially illegal under the eyes of international law.
However that is not the end of nuclear ban efforts. Just like the pandemic, new SOPs can be made to protect people from the virus, so can new law to ensure peace and security of our lands. But also just like the SOPs can be easily broken and wreak havoc for communities due to negligence of one party or another; the new law could easily be broken, unless people reject nuclear weapons in their minds. Let’s continue to support and nurture our youth, our true heroes by believing in them and providing them with the platform to manifest their full potential so that they have a chance to continue to expand their horizons and abilities to become a true hero in their respective fields.