Tuesday, August 08, 2006

No Nukes in Asia and the Pacific

Activists Gather at Japan Summit to Seek Nuke Ban
By Mar-Vic Cagurangan
Variety News Staff

HAGÅTÑA — Debbie Quinata, maga’haga of I Nasion Chamoru, joined grassroots activists and peace delegates from around the world, who gather in Nagasaki, Japan for the 2006 World Conference Against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs to tackle ways of eliminating nuclear weapons in Asia.

The conference, which opened Friday and ended Sunday, was intended to create a worldwide movement to defend each country’s Constitution, oppose U.S. military bases and step up campaign for a nuke-free region.

The conference was timed with the commemoration of the United States’ 1945 bombing of Nagasaki, which was believed to have destroyed the city and killed 73,000 people.

“We gather to remember the scared and poisoned generations to whom those dark days gave birth. We unite in the shadow—of two days long past, lifted by the strength of those victims too strong to be victims forever. We are here because of the survivors — the survivors who instead of fighting a war for vengeance use their past as a rallying call for peace throughout the world,” Quinata said in a speech delivered at the summit.

She told the conference delegates that the increased military buildup on Guam will further put the island in a situation, in which it would become “a pawn in the political and military intrigue of a nation it never chose to join.”Quinata lambasted the Guam business community for dismissing the impact of increased military buildup on Guam. Guam is expecting the influx of 8,000 Marines and 10,000 dependents, who will be relocated from Okinawa, Japan as part of the US-Japan forces realignment agreement.

The military expansion, Quinata said, will turn the small island into “the largest, most forward U.S. military installation in the Pacific theatre.”

She also mentioned reports substantiating the existence of toxic elements left by the U.S. military as a result of storage of chemical agents and down-winder’s radiation and PCB-contamination in the waters.“While a brave few want a real and tangible say in the military’s plans for Guam, members of the business community maintain that all the misfortunes of militarization will easily be washed away by the fortunes only a select few will earn,” she said.

Organizers said the annual world conference “is tasked to significantly change the balance of power in the world in favor of the anti-nuclear weapons and peace movement.”

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