Hiroshima and Nagasaki commemorations in Ottawa

August 11, 2008

I have been a longtime member of the Canadian Department of Peace Initiative (CDPI). Earlier this year, I started up the Brampton Chapter. In the meantime, I had been campaigning my City of Brampton to join the 2020 Vision Campaign and become a Peace City. My efforts were successful: in August of last year, Mayor Susan Fennell filled out the paperwork to join the global Mayors for Peace, making Brampton officially a Peace City. Canada has 70 Peace Cities so far. If your city is not on this list, I strongly urge you to read about this campaign and get your mayor on board. Working together toward the abolition of nuclear weapons, we can ensure that the horrible devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are never repeated again. If humans have any hope of survival on this planet, we must work together to abolish nuclear weapons.

The message below from CDPI Co-Chair, Bill Bhaneja, is an update about the Hiroshima-Nagasaki commemorations that were held last week in Ottawa, which is also a Peace City.


Ottawa CDPI chapter together with members of other Ottawa peace groups under the umbrella of Ottawa Peace Assembly marked Aug 6 and 9 days of Hiroshima and Nagasaki commemorations. On Aug 6, a petition signing campaign in downtown Byeward Market on nuclear weapons abolition got signatures from over 350 people (plus 50 more on Aug 9). On Aug 9 event at Friends/Quaker House in Glebe the commemoration was attended by over 100 people. The event included preparing of lanterns and the reading of statement from Mayor Akiba, the current Chair, Mayors of Peace. The following excerpt from the statement may be of interest:

“….We who seek the abolition of nuclear weapons are the majority. United Cities and Local Governments, which represents the majority of the Earth’s population, has endorsed the Mayors for Peace campaign. One hundred ninety states have ratified the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. One hundred thirteen countries and regions have signed nuclear-weapon-free zone treaties. Last year, 170 countries voted in favor of Japan’s UN resolution calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons. Only three countries, the US among them, opposed this resolution. We can only hope that the President of the United States elected this November will listen conscientiously to the majority, for whom the top priority is human survival. To achieve the will of the majority by 2020, Mayors for Peace, now with 2368 city members worldwide, proposed in April of this year a Hiroshima-Nagasaki Protocol to supplement the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty….”

Mayor Akiba visited Ottawa four years ago and got support of then Ottawa Mayor for declaration of Ottawa as City of Peace.

Two powerful inspiring presentations were made by the First Nations anti-Uranium mining activist Professor Robert Lovelace and by Murray Thomson on the imminent need of unity among those campaigning to save the planet from environmental degrardation and nuclear destruction. Murray Thomson PowerPoint presentation prepared together with former PGS Director Debbie Grisdale is available for presentations elsewhere. Later in the evening, the group carrying lanterns singing peace songs walked to the nearby pond inlet to float lanterns to commemorate innocent civilian victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by dropping of atom bombs 63 years ago.

In Nonkilling Peace

Bill Bhaneja
Co-Chair, Ottawa Chapter
Canadian Department of Peace Initiative(CDPI)

A message to Toronto by Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba

August 6, 2008

Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba has sent a special message to Toronto by video for the opening of an exhibition of photographs from Hiroshima and Nagasaki and drawings by atom bomb survivors that opens today inside Toronto City Hall at 5:30 and runs until August 11. The exhibition will be opened by the Hiroshima survivor Setsuko Thurlow. Phyllis Creighton is the MC. The Toronto
Hiroshima-Nagasaki commemoration will take place at the Toronto City Hall Peace Garden August 9 at 6:30 pm.


Ladies and Gentlemen:

I am more than happy to send this message to Toronto, an important ally in the struggle against nuclear weapons.

I am aware that Toronto holds a ceremony every year to commemorate Hiroshima Day, and I thank Mayor Miller, a Mayor for Peace, for his support in maintaining this tradition.

I want to thank Setsuko and James Thurlow who have been instrumental in the Toronto commemoration from the beginning. And I thank the people of Toronto for your ongoing support and concern.

Setsuko has been a vital presence for decades, one of the few A-bomb survivors with the ability and devotion to travel throughout Canada and the U.S. to communicate the horror of the atomic bombings and Hiroshima’s message that it must never happen again.

James has worked closely with Hiroshima since the 1970s to build and reinforce the relationship between Hiroshima and Toronto. He has spearheaded A-bomb exhibitions, essay contests and the transfer of our peace flame to your Peace Garden.

The Thurlows, the City of Toronto and many of you have been doing more than your duty but the danger is still with us. In fact, it is growing and unfortunately we need you now to work like never before.

I understand that you will soon be hearing my peace declaration for this year so I will not repeat that message here. Instead, let me get straight to my request:

Today, we will ask Mayor Miller to sign an appeal in support of the Hiroshima-Nagasaki protocol and I am asking all of you to sign our on-line petition. Please go to our website to learn the content and strategic importance of the Hiroshima-Nagasaki protocol. All I want to do now is to assure you that no public document is more important to your future.

The Hiroshima-Nagasaki protocol is the way a world leader can express his or her unequivocal commitment to a nuclear weapons-free world. It is our collective task now to demand that all our leaders make this commitment.

Nuclear weapons are cruel, inhumane and cannot be limited to the battlefield in either time or space. They are obviously illegal under the Geneva Conventions and they should have been banned decades ago. In addition, we face the immanent danger that the so-called “war on terror” will go nuclear.

It is time for the international community to take action. We face a critical moment. In the next two years, the human family will decide whether to eliminate nuclear weapons or to let them spread and be used. To ensure that we make the right decision, the people of this planet need to stand up and demand clearly and forcibly that our leaders liberate us from the threat of nuclear annihilation.

Please google “Mayors for Peace” and the “2020 Vision Campaign” to find our website and sign our online petition. Finally, please do everything you can to support our 2020 Vision Campaign. With your help, we can be rid of nuclear weapons by 2020 and bequeath to our children a safer and saner and more co-operative world. Thank you very much.

Tadatoshi Akiba
Mayor of Hiroshima
President, Mayors for Peace

Hiroshima-Nagasaki Protocol:

Toronto Peace Events – Aug. 6th & 9th – Hiroshima/Nagasaki Photo Exhibit & Commemoration

August 2, 2008
August 6th, 2008, Rotunda, Toronto City Hall, 5:30 PM


August 9th, 2008, Toronto Peace Garden, Nathan Phillips Square, 4:30 PM – 9:00 PM

The Toronto Hiroshima Day Coalition (THDC) is honoured to announce that the City of Toronto has been selected to host the Hiroshima / Nagasaki Photo Exhibit to be held concurrently with 101 cities across the United States. THDC is also very pleased to present Setsuko Thurlow, Member of the Order of Canada and Hibakusha (Hiroshima survivor), who will introduce the atomic bombing exhibition at city hall.

The Hiroshima & Nagasaki Photo Exhibit features before and after a-bombing photos, details about the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and the story of human suffering including the health consequences caused by the devastation of nuclear war. The exhibit also displays emotional drawings and paintings from dozens of Hibakusha survivors with the message, “never again”. The exhibit runs from August 6th -11th, 2008.

Toronto remembers the citizens of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings
August 9th, 2008, Toronto Peace Garden, Nathan Phillips Square, 4:30 PM – 9:00 PM

Hiroshima / Nagasaki Peace Commemorations and Lantern Ceremony

Featuring keynote Bruce Gagnon, Founder, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. Bruce has appeared on the TV program “60 Minutes” and is known as the writer of the “16th Most Censored US Story of the Year” for his 2006 article “US Plans for Hemispheric Integration Includes Canada” on how the weaponization of space will include nuclear warheads.

Reading the Proclamation from the City of Nagasaki will be Joe Ohori (Canadian-born, Hiroshima Survivor).

Speakers to include ICAN, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, Physicians for Global Survival, and the Canadian Department of Peace Initiative.

Performances to include Japanese drummers, the Raging Grannies, flautist Debbie Danbrook, and the silent story performance of “Sadako”, the young Japanese girl who survived the Hiroshima a-bombing when she was only two-years-old. At eleven, Sadako was diagnosed with leukemia, “the atom bomb” disease. Believing an old Japanese legend that if she made 1000 paper cranes, the gods would make her well, Sadako never gave up hope. She continued to fold paper cranes until the day she died, inspiring her young classmates to build a monument honouring the thousands of children killed by the atom bomb. Erected in 1958, the Hiroshima Peace Park’s children’s memorial of Sadako holding a golden crane reads, “This is our cry. This is our prayer. Peace to the world.’

The reflecting Lantern Ceremony concludes the evening with hundreds of paper lanterns launched into the pool at Nathan Phillips Square.

All events are free to the public.
Paper crane and lantern making activities start at 4:30 pm.
Commemoration, entertainment and speakers between 6:30 – 8:45 pm.
Lantern ceremony at 8:45 pm.

For further information, please contact Helen Chilas, National Coordinator with the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace (VOW) via cell at 416-473-8238 or email: h-chilas@rogers.com

Hiroshima/Nagaski Photo Exhibit August 6-11 – Toronto City Hall

July 29, 2008

The Toronto Hiroshima Day Coalition (THDC) cordially invites you to attend the unveiling of the powerful exhibition of photographs from the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the Rotunda inside Toronto City Hall on Wednesday, August 6th, 2008 at 5:30 pm.

THDC is honoured to announce that the City of Toronto has been selected to host the Hiroshima & Nagasaki Photo Exhibit to be held concurrently with 101 cities across the United States. THDC is also very pleased to present Setsuko Thurlow, Member of the Order of Canada and Hibakusha (Hiroshima survivor), who will introduce the exhibition.

Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba of Hiroshima will also offer a personal video greeting to the citizens of Toronto in mutual respect for the decades of work done by the citizens of Toronto and Hiroshima on global peacebuilding and the Mayors for Peace campaign pressing together in solidarity for the abolition of nuclear weapons. “Our goal is to create awareness of the destructive power of nuclear weapons,” says Setsuko Thurlow, “and the 25,000 armed nuclear weapons of which are still threatening humanity today.”

The Hiroshima & Nagasaki Photo Exhibit features pictures and educational facts about the devastation of nuclear war. The exhibit also displays dramatic drawings and paintings from dozens of Hibakusha survivors of their painful memories during the first moments on the ground after the 1945 atomic bombings in Japan with the urgent message “never again”.

The exhibit runs from August 6th -11th, 2008 in conjunction with the “Paths to Hope” Peace Commemoration and Lantern Ceremony on Saturday, August 9th, 2008 at the Toronto Peace Garden, Nathan Phillips Square beginning at 6:30 pm.

To RSVP for the August 6th, 2008 unveiling of the Hiroshima & Nagasaki Photo Exhibition at the Rotunda, Toronto City Hall, please contact Helen Chilas, National Coordinator of the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace, via email h-chilas@rogers.com or cell at 416-473-8238

Note: If you would like to reserve a table at the Hiroshima Nagasaki Day Annual Peace Commemoration and Lantern Ceremony (August 9th at the Toronto Peace Garden, Nathan Phillips Square), please contact Dr. Barbara Birkett with Physicians for Global Survival at bbirkett@interlog.com.