“Toward an Authentically Human Orientation”

The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation holds a two-day symposium on nuclear disarmament.

“Nuclear Zero”—The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation holds a symposium on nuclear disarmament, Santa Barbara, Calif. SGI Director of Peace and Human Rights Kimiaki Kawai (standing second from right) attends the event on behalf of SGI President Ikeda. Photo: Hideki Hagimoto.

by Maya Ono

SANTA BARBARA, Calif., Oct. 24–25—The struggle for nuclear abolition is an effort to redirect the world toward an authentically human orientation.

These powerful words by SGI President Ikeda were shared at the opening of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation’s two-day symposium “The Fierce Urgency of Nuclear Zero: Changing the Discourse.” SGI Director of Peace and Human Rights Kimiaki Kawai read the message on President Ikeda’s behalf.

The SGI president further emphasized in his message that the struggle to achieve nuclear disarmament must be a “shared global undertaking that involves all states and civil society actors.” He continued: “It is a struggle to counter the core pathology of contemporary civilization—the all-too casual disregard for life, its value and sanctity.”

He also expressed deep respect for the founder and president of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, David Krieger, and noted a number of projects in which the SGI and the NAPF have collaborated, including the collection of some 5 million signatures for the Nuclear Zero campaign.

“Silence is the worst form of lack of progress.

On the eve of the symposium, political theorist and activist Noam Chomsky, who has taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology since 1955, received the NAPF’s Distinguished Peace Leader Award. Dr. Chomsky discussed the lack of public discourse about nuclear weapons saying, “Silence is the worst form of lack of progress.”

Speaking of “the insanity of even the threat of using nuclear weapons,” he continued: “The only hope that we have is a major shift in attitudes from a reflexive resort to violence, now seen as normal, to diplomacy, negotiations and peaceful means. We can see right in front of us that to resort to the sledgehammer is not the answer.”

The participants, which included 19 nuclear abolition experts, agreed on the need for people in all fields to be involved, particularly young people. Reiterating the need to change the discourse on nuclear weapons, Dr. Krieger called for bold action, saying, “Hope gives rise to action, action gives rise to hope.”

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