Thursday, September 3, 2009

2009 World Conference Against A & H Bombs


It has been almost a month since the World Conference Against A and H Bombs ended in Nagasaki and I am still awestruck, inspired and grateful all at the same time. I have yet to fully grasp the significance of the stories I heard, the people I met and the friendships that I have made, but it was definitely a great experience.

I am awestruck by the many efforts being undertaken around the world to work toward world peace. I am inspired by the many young people who came out to the conference from all parts of Japan who are passionate for world peace. And I am grateful for the many people who have been so helpful and supportive of my own efforts to promote world peace by telling the hibakusha’s stories.

There is a group of high school students from the Aichi prefecture who are also documenting hibakusha stories. There were the Citizens Peace Marchers, which included a 50+ year old Japanese man, who walked from Tokyo to Hiroshima (over 600 miles) to promote world peace.

I have to thank the staff and volunteers of Gensuikyo for all of their assistance and making me feel like a rock star. I honestly thought I would be attending this conference as a regular attendee sitting in the nosebleed seats listening to speaker after speaker in a language I was only vaguely familiar with.

But in true Japanese fashion, I was considered an “overseas delegate” and treated to the same VIP status as the guest speakers and dignitaries. I got one of those little earpieces where a little voice inside translated everything into English. Technology is great! I had reserved seating wherever I went and was introduced on stage along with all the other overseas delegates. Some students even wanted to take a picture with me and another delegate. This was all quite strange to me, yet quite refreshing to see young people with aspirations for world peace.

After meeting so many like-minded people, my overall feeling is one of hope. Hope that we can bring peace to the world we live in. Hope that future generations will not forget the horrific effects a nuclear weapon can have on a person’s life. Hope that more people will join together to promote world peace.

I was only there for 4 days, but it was quite enlightening.