Friday, September 21, 2012

We Are Defined By What We Choose to Celebrate | Kucinich

Congressman Dennis Kucinich’s Address to Congress Regarding H.R. 5987, Legislation to Establish a National Park in Honor of the Manhattan Project United States House of Representatives September 19, 2012

In a late night debate on the House Floor, Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) strongly objected to H.R. 5987, which will establish a new National Park celebrating the technological achievements of the Manhattan Project. The Manhattan Project was a secret endeavor to develop the atomic bomb, which was subsequently dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians were killed as a result of the atomic bomb attack. The House is expected to vote on the bill later today.

Kucinich dismantled any argument in favor of the park stating, “The technology which created the bomb cannot be separated from the horror the bomb created.”  Kucinich cited the precedent of the Bradbury Science Museum at Los Alamos where the bomb is celebrated, while the devastation wrought from the bomb is given short shrift. Kucinich further quoted General and President Eisenhower, an advisor to General MacArthur and several other top military commanders who stated that the use of the atomic weapons in Japan were not necessary to speed the end of the war, but were used for political reasons.

“When the U.S. dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August of 1945… 200,000 people were killed. And to have this discussion in the context of honoring a technology that created a bomb, I think, really raises questions about where we are with this country and where we are with the bomb. The splitting of the atom and the use of the split atom to create an atomic bomb actually bespeaks a split consciousness in this country,” said Kucinich.
“In the scheme of things, someone will say, Dennis, this is just a park. What are you getting so excited about? This is about naming a new national park after the Manhattan Project. And we have to just stop and reflect on where this takes us. There should be a discussion about the full legacy of the Manhattan Project, including its devastating effects upon the Japanese people and upon the rest of the world.

“If there was going to be a new park, it should serve as a solemn monument to Japanese American friendship that rose from the ashes and the worldwide work for nuclear disarmament that continues to this day, rather than a celebration of a technology that has brought such destruction to the world. Failure to recognize this dimension, even in its first iteration, really is a significant injustice.”

See video from the House Floor here.  Read Congressman Kucinich’s full remarks here (PDF).

Kucinich Marks 31st International Day of Peace 

Washington, Sep 21 -
Washington D.C. (September 21, 2012) – On the 31st anniversary of the International Day of Peace, Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today called for reflection and a shared commitment to peace.

See video here.

“Today marks the 31st anniversary of the International Day of Peace, a day of global celebration and collective focus on international peace.

“The United Nations General Assembly first established the International Day of Peace in 1981. The General Assembly asks people to honor it as a day of non-violence and to commemorate the Day by raising public awareness on issues related to peace.

“This year’s theme is ‘Sustainable Peace for a Sustainable Future,’ focusing on the connection between sustainable development and sustainable peace. This means calling on people – on both national and international levels - to play a central role in ensuring equitable and sustainable management of their natural resources. It also means we must reconcile ourselves with the natural world. This was the message of the theologian Thomas Berry who said the great work of our life is to reconcile ourselves with the natural world.

“As the sponsor of H.R. 808, a bill to establish a Cabinet-level Department of Peace, I strongly believe that the government has a role and responsibility to create an organized approach to address issues of violence in our society. I believe that ultimately, the promise of peace in our society begins with our own personal commitment to living a life of nonviolence – by rejecting our government’s reliance on weapons and war, and by making a commitment to more peaceful methods of conflict resolution. It comes from building coalitions to fight all forms of discrimination and oppression.

“I look forward to celebrating a global focus on peace on the International Day of Peace, and to working together to make this focus a part of our everyday lives. Let us reflect today and let us strive to live every day with peace in our hearts.”  

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