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Nobel Peace Prize speech by ICAN campaigner, Hiroshima survivor Setsuko Thurlow | The Mainichi: Japan’s National Daily Since 1922

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[Hat tip to Roger Annis]

Related: Nobel Peace Prize speech by ICAN leader Beatrice Fihn

Source: The Mainichi

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Setsuko Thurlow, ICAN (International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons) campaigner and Hiroshima survivor speaks at City Hall, in Oslo, Norway (Reuters)

Your Majesties,

Distinguished members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee,

My fellow campaigners, here and throughout the world,

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a great privilege to accept this award, together with Beatrice, on behalf of all the remarkable human beings who form the ICAN movement. You each give me such tremendous hope that we can — and will — bring the era of nuclear weapons to an end.

I speak as a member of the family of hibakusha — those of us who, by some miraculous chance, survived the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. For more than seven decades, we have worked for the total abolition of nuclear weapons.

We have stood in solidarity with those harmed by the production and testing of these horrific weapons around the world. People from places with long-forgotten names, like Moruroa, Ekker, Semipalatinsk, Maralinga, Bikini. People whose lands and seas were irradiated, whose bodies were experimented upon, whose cultures were forever disrupted.

We were not content to be victims. We refused to wait for an immediate fiery end or the slow poisoning of our world. We refused to sit idly in terror as the so-called great powers took us past nuclear dusk and brought us recklessly close to nuclear midnight. We rose up. We shared our stories of survival. We said: humanity and nuclear weapons cannot coexist.

Today, I want you to feel in this hall the presence of all those who perished in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I want you to feel, above and around us, a great cloud of a quarter million souls. Each person had a name. Each person was loved by someone. Let us ensure that their deaths were not in vain.

I was just 13 years old when the United States dropped the first atomic bomb, on my city Hiroshima. I still vividly remember that morning. At 8:15, I saw a blinding bluish-white flash from the window. I remember having the sensation of floating in the air.

As I regained consciousness in the silence and darkness, I found myself pinned by the collapsed building. I began to hear my classmates’ faint cries: “Mother, help me. God, help me.” Continue reading