Monday, March 20, 2017

NOWRUZ: New Day for a World Without Nuclear Weapons

Nowruz Table (via Iceberg Networks)


Today is Nowruz!

Often called "Persian New Year," it is celebrated every year on the first day of spring in countries such as:

Afghanistan
Albania
Azerbaijan
Georgia
Iran
Iraq
Kazakhstan
Kyrgyzstan
Mongolia
Tajikistan
Turkmenistan
Uzbekistan

Nowruz means "new day." It seems meaningful that Nowruz falls just one week before the beginning of the beginning of negotiations on a global nuclear weapons ban.  The mythology of Nowruz includes this story: "The Shahnameh dates Nowruz as far back to the reign of Jamshid, who in Zoroastrian texts saved mankind from a killer winter that was destined to kill every living creature."


"Nuclear Winter" from New York Times video


With growing awareness of the way a nuclear winter could effect people globally, it is indeed time for a "new day."

Many of the countries mentioned above that celebrate Nowruz also voted in favor of the resolution to hold nuclear ban negotiations: Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, as well as Iran and Iraq.


The 18,000 km2 expanse of the Semipalatinsk Test Site (indicated in red),
attached to Kurchatov (along the Irtysh river), and near Semey, as well
as Karagandy, and Astana. The site comprised an area the size of Wales.
(Source: Wikipedia)


Kazakhstan has a particular reason for wanting to see nuclear weapons abolished forever. The Semipalatinsk testing site was where the former Soviet Union conducted hundreds of nuclear tests, resulting in terrible damage to the people and the land of what became the country of Kazakhstan.

Here are some related posts:

"Victim of Soviet test wants all nuclear weapons destroyed"

"Soviet-era nuclear testing is still making people sick in Kazakhstan"

"Kazakhstan nuclear disarmament leadership honoured in the Scottish Parliament"



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And then there is Iran.

It feels particularly ironic to me, writing from the US, to notice that Iran is a full participant in the nuclear ban talks, while the US plans to boycott the talks. (In fact, the US has organized many of its allies to boycott as well.)

Since Nowruz means "new day," I would suggest to people in the US to start a new day by reflecting on the true nuclear weapons situation as it relates to the US and to Iran.

I have long suggested that people study the details of the Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) -- and the work of the IAEA with the US, Iran, and other countries -- by reading The Age of Deception: Nuclear Diplomacy in Treacherous Times by Mohammed ElBaradei.

Ayatollah Khameini,
Supreme Leader of Iran,
author of fatwa
against nuclear weapons
In addition, I suggest people learn more about the attitudes in Islam toward nuclear weapons. A very significant religious decision (fatwa) from Iran established that the use of nuclear weapons is forbidden on religious grounds. The range of opinion on this issue within Islam has been documented in a very helpful study by Rolf Mowatt-Larsson, Islam and the Bomb: Religious Justification For and Against Nuclear Weapons.

A modest proposal: people in the West could begin a "new day" by seeking opportunities to engage with both Christian and Islamic views on nuclear weapons  -- as well as with the views of other faith traditions. If we all honored our respective faiths, wouldn't we abolish nuclear weapons a whole lot sooner?


MORE:

Who would possibly vote "NO" to banning nuclear weapons???


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