Poems and songs from our Nagasaki event

We wanted to write a post about the Nagasaki memorial evening that was held online on August 9th, to highlight some of the performances, poems and resources that were shared. We were pleased that the virtual event worked so well and were very grateful to everyone who contributed.

The commemorations opened with a short video from the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), which concisely detailed the devasating consequences of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

After the video, Kate Hudson spoke movingly about the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as outlining some of the current work of national CND. One campaign that she urged us to get involved with is signing CND’s letter to the United Nations to report the UK government for breaching its obligations under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). When the UK signed and ratified the treaty we committed to “pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament”. However we are doing the opposite and replacing and upgrading our nuclear weapons – increasing our warheads by over 40%. A legal opinion commissioned by CND states that the UK govenment are in clear breach of the NPT and have broken international law. Please sign the letter to ask NPT states to call on the UK and other states in breach of their commitments to halt all policies and activities that breach and undermine the treaty.   

Next we had a song from Staffordshire singer and songwriter, Rick Ford, who introduced the two videos that he shared. The first song was called ‘The Tree’ and is featured below. The song was inspired by a large tree that Rick passes most days near where he lives. In the lyrics he reflects on all the life and lives that it has seen and wonders whether the tree will still be standing in the valley when the last human dies. You can find more of Rick’s work on his Youtube channel.

Stoke-on-Trent poet Jason Smith performed three of his poems live, including the powerful ‘What is Peace’. We did not record the Nagasaki event, so the video below is from his Youtube channel. There were many poignant images in the poem but, after thinking about the Non-Proliferation Treaty, this part really stood out: “What is peace? When a refugee no longer flees home and treaty’s success preventing nuclear tech spreading over war zones.” Lets hope these words prophesy the success of the NPT campaign and the cessation of nuclear weapons.

As the theme for the evening was peace and love Jason also read a tender poem called ‘Your Face‘. We had a live song from Rob Harper from the Birmingham Clarion Singers; a reading of Vernon Scannell’s ‘The Power of Love’ by local poet and SCANSCND member Paul Williamson; Angela Glendenning from ASHA (speaking in a personal capacity) made a contribution and read ‘Lament for Syria‘ by a young Syrian woman named Amineh Abou Kerech; Joan Walley (former MP for Stoke-on-Trent North) spoke on the important work of CND; and candles were lit to remember all those who died at Nagasaki and Hiroshima and we held a minute silence. SCANS secretary Jason Hill closed the evening by thanking all those who had made the event such an inspiring one.

Thank you again to everyone who came together to commemorate Nagasaki and wish for a world free of nuclear weapons.

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