On this page below : background info and press release
United Nations Address
Yoko Ono Lennon
May 4, 2005
AS A CHILD OF ASIA
Thank you, Secretary General Kofi Annan, esteemed members of the General Assembly, Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba of Hiroshima, Mayor Iccho Ito of Nagasaki, Mayors of Peace, EPOP International, and especially Nihon Hidankyo and the Hibakusha, the living witnesses to and survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings. My name is yoko ono. And it is my honor to be here with you all at this historic moment in time.
As a child of Asia, as a citizen of the global village, and as a woman of the species, I am concerned for the welfare of our planet.
I was in Tokyo during the Second World War. In the middle of the night, we were woken up to go down into the shelter while the B29s firebombed our city. It was frightening to see fire burning down the houses around us. Eventually, we, children, were evacuated to the country. The food was scarce. I remember we were always hungry. It was not just food. There was a shortage of everything, even toilet paper. So we managed with what we had and became rather inventive. Those experiences of the early days cast a long shadow in my life. More than half a century later, I still have a hard time throwing away empty paper bags and plastic containers. My children think that's quirky. Well, it must be.
When I was twelve years old, in 1945, the cities of Hiroshima, Nagasaki and their people were devastated by the Atomic Bomb. The war was pretty much at the end by then. But the unbearable sufferings of the Hibakushas did not end there. In fact, their long and excruciatingly painful journey had begun then and is still continuing to this day over half a century later. It is a suffering of a lifetime and more. In fact, it affected all of us on this planet. Nuclear damage does not disappear. It circulates and stays.
The Hibakushas have bravely and wisely turned their experience into a warning to the world by saying: NO MORE HIROSHIMA.
NO MORE HIROSHIMA and Nagasaki. There has not been a time when this warning has been so important as it is now. If we want to see this planet survive, NO MORE HIROSHIMA is a necessary wake up call for all of us.
We are already living in strange times without adding the threat of a Nuclear War. From the heavy usage of various chemicals and pesticides and with the radio active dust and rain from nuclear tests sites, our land is polluted, our rivers, lakes and oceans are polluted, and even our air is seriously polluted. Each time we breathe air, we are polluting our bodies. They have discovered pesticides and poisons in meat, fish, vegetables and fruit, and our mothers milk. The current condition of our environment is already challenging our immune system to its limits.
Nuclear Power can be very dangerous, even when it's used as pure energy, supposedly, in a contained form. Remember Chernobyl, our Three Mile Island and Nevada Nuclear Test Site and how the world is still being affected by them.
Many of my friends, young and old, are now suffering from physical deterioration and mental depression. It seems that we are polluting and killing ourselves before anybody drops a bomb on us.
Why make it even harder for this planet by continuing to increase the production of the most dangerous weapon known to us? Are we doing this to use the bomb? If we are, we must be crazy. Since the world is one body, we cannot drop a bomb far enough from ourselves to not get affected by its consequence. In fact, if we drop a bomb anywhere, we are dropping it on ourselves.
I wake up in the morning and see the blue sky and the birds singing in the park. Every day, I am thankful for being alive. I enjoy the life on this planet, immensely, and the culture and the civilization we, humans have created in the course of many, many centuries. This beautiful world of ours can still survive and survive well, if we focus our minds and actions in cleaning it up, instead of poisoning and destroying it further. It's clean-up time, as John Lennon said. It is not too late. It cannot be. We must give this planet one more chance.
Let us wake up, come together, and work on cleaning and healing our planet, instead of further destroying it. Let's not waste one more day in creating a machinery of destruction. Give us a chance. On behalf of ourselves and all species on earth. We can do it. We must.
A Dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is
reality. IMAGINE PEACE.
I love you.
A global arts initiative is planned to mark the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, on Aug. 6, 2005, sponsored by the Mayors for Peace and EPOP International. The initiative kicks off with a benefit art auction in New York, scheduled for May 3, 2005, at Ruby Falls, a space on West 29th Street in Chelsea. The benefit sale is being conducted by Christie's and features works by Jerry Kearns, Julian LeVerdiere, Yoko Ono and Tom Otterness. Proceeds from the sale go to Nihon Hidankyo, an organization of A-bomb survivors based in Japan. The initiative also includes plans for a "Back to the Garden" benefit concert at Madison Square Garden on July 25, plus a related traveling public art exhibition that is planned to open in New York on Aug. 6. For more info on the art show, contact Artnet Magazine contributor Elliott Arkin at (718) 260-9542.
The Mayors for Peace Emergency Campaign to Ban Nuclear Weapons - 2020 Vision Campaign, led by the Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, is enrolling mayors across the globe to come to the 2005 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference. The Mayors for Peace Campaign has proposed that negotiations begin in 2005 and conclude by 2010 for a treaty to eliminate nuclear weapons, with global nuclear disarmament implemented no later than 2020.
Abolition Now! seeks your active participation in enrolling your Mayor and other civic leaders in this unprecedented Campaign. We have less than four months to enroll mayors in the Campaign and urge them to come to New York City for the 2005 NPT Review Conference. Act today – enroll your mayor in the Mayors for Peace Emergency Campaign to Ban Nuclear Weapons. Meet with your mayor and ask him/her to sign the Mayoral Statement in Support of the Commencement of Negotiations on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons
International Mayors Statement [HTML] [DOC]
US Mayors Statement [HTML] [DOC]
Return the statement to:
215 Lexington Avenue, Suite 1001
New York, NY 10016
Urge your mayor to come to the 2005 NPT Review Conference in New York City as part of the Mayors for Peace delegation and to participate in the May 1st demonstration in Central Park.
For more information on the Mayors' presence at the 2005 NPT Review Conference, visit http://www.pcf.city.hiroshima.jp/mayors/english/campaign/plans.html#major For more information about the May 1st Demonstration see http://www.abolition2000.org/now/may1.html
Invite your mayor to become member of Mayors for Peace. To request that your city be issued an invitation letter from Mayor Akiba of Mayors for Peace, send an e-mail to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Resources For Activists Mayors for Peace Emergency Campaign Checklist Request a Mayors for Peace video and arrange public showings in your city
Send your name, address, telephone and fax numbers to: Mayors for Peace C/O Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation 1-2 Nakajima-cho Naka-ku Hiroshima 730-0811 Japan or Fax: 81-82-242-7452 or E-mail: email@example.com Please specify preferred format (VHS, DVD) and preferred types (NTSC, PAL, SECOM or others)
Sign up for the Mayors for Peace mailing list. To do so, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org For more resources and information, visit the Resources Page. For more information on Mayors for Peace, please visit the official website.
Campaign News Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba and Mr. Asao, Chair of Hiroshima City Council will visit Brussels on January 18-20 th , 2005. For the complete program of the visit, go to http://www.abolition2000europe.org/m4pBrussels.php. The Mayors for Peace receives the 2004 World Citizenship Award in honor of their innovative approach to the abolition of nuclear weapons. Read Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba's 2004 World Citizenship Award Acceptance Speech. http://www.wagingpeace.org/menu/programs/awards-&-contests/wca-award/2004-wc a-akiba.htm
The 2004 Hiroshima Peace Declaration - delivered by Mayor of Hiroshima, Tadatoshi Akiba on the 59th anniversary of atomic bombings. The 2004 Nagasaki Peace Declaration – delivered by Iccho Itoh, Mayor of Nagasaki on the 59th anniversary of atomic bombings.
MAYORS FOR PEACE EMERGENCY CAMPAIGN - MEMBER CITIES Over 600 cities from over 100 countries have joined the Mayors for Peace Emergency Campaign to Ban Nuclear Weapons. For the a list of member cities, please visit http://www.pcf.city.hiroshima.jp/mayors/english/membercity/index.html In addition to cities listed on the Mayors for Peace Website, the following cities have joined the Mayors for Peace Emergency Campaign to Ban Nuclear Weapons:
BELGIUM (click for Flemish Mayors' contact information)
Township of Smith-Ennismore-Lakefield
Paul River, BC
City of Santa Paula, USA
Springfield Township Committee, Union County, NJ, USA
To: National Desk Contact: Christine Kaculis of Susan Blond, Inc., 212-333-7728 ext. 130 or email@example.com
NEW YORK, May 3 /U.S. Newswire/ -– Yoko Ono will speak to the General Assembly of the United Nations tomorrow, May 4, regarding the launch of the Back to the Garden arts initiative, a program designed to support the Mayors for Peace "2020 Vision" campaign, which seeks the elimination of nuclear weapons by the year 2020. To commemorate the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Mayors for Peace, an organization that consists of 942 Mayors from 110 countries led by Hiroshima mayor Tadatoshi Akiba, partnered with EPOP International, a company solely dedicated to creating cause-related initiatives, to develop Back to the Garden. This arts initiative will comprise of an unprecedented benefit concert and five-year traveling art exhibit to support the "2020 Vision" campaign and call for a true global liberation from the threat of nuclear annihilation.
Ono, who will speak during the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty Review Conference at the UN, is a fitting representative for the Back to the Garden initiative given that she is a survivor of the Tokyo fire bombings during World War II and witnessed the terror of modern warfare first-hand. As a result of that harrowing experience, Ono has spent much of her life fighting for peace, often expressing herself though art.
"EPOP is honored to be a part of this campaign and firmly believes that artists from around the world will help Mayor Akiba shine a spotlight on the complex problem of nuclear weapons, and show the public how they can help affect a solution through his '2020 Vision' campaign," stated EPOP CEO David Clark. The name of the initiative, Back to the Garden, is borrowed from music luminary Joni Mitchell's song "Woodstock" and refers to the Garden of Eden and a time before weapons of mass destruction existed. On July 25, an unprecedented benefit concert will take place at Madison Square Garden, which will be produced by the legendary promoter John Scher of Metropolitan Entertainment. The concert, which will feature some of the most world-renowned performers, will be broadcast globally on August 6, -- the 60th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. Following the concert, a traveling museum quality art exhibit will open in New York on August 6, and then tour internationally for five years.
In addition, prior to Ono's address to the UN General Assembly tomorrow, Christie's Auction House is supporting a benefit art auction tonight with artists including Yoko Ono, Kiki Smith and Julian LeVerdiere participating. All proceeds of the "Back to the Garden" art initiative will go to the Nihon Hidankyo, the largest organization of A-bomb survivors and a nominee for the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize. This organization, based in Japan, represents the 300,000 living survivors of the atomic bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, also called the "Hibakusha."
The Mayors for Peace, which is represented by 942 Mayors from 110 countries representing half a billion people, builds solidarity and facilitates coordination among the cities that support the Program to Promote the Solidarity of Cities toward the Total Abolition of Nuclear Weapons. The 2020 Vision Campaign is providing renewed inspiration to peace activists everywhere and is reaching out to involve new constituencies in this non-partisan effort.
The Nihon Hidankyo is nominated for the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize. They represent the 300,000 living witness/survivors (or hibakusha). Its officers and members are all atomic bomb survivors. Founded in 1956, Nihon Hidankyo have helped build the worldwide nuclear abolition movement and have testified at numerous United Nations sessions on nuclear test bans, nuclear non-proliferation, and disarmament. In recent years, Nihon Hidankyo has worked with a range of Japanese and other nongovernmental organizations to organize citizens' conferences focusing attention on the consequences of nuclear war and advocating the abolition of nuclear weapons.
Founded in 2000, EPOP creates and produces unique cause-related events. In addition to creating the Back to the Garden initiative, EPOP most recently originated The Anne Frank 75th Birthday Tribute, and "46664," the landmark AIDS initiative in South Africa hosted by Nelson Mandela and supported by Oprah Winfrey, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, President Bill Clinton, Sir Richard Branson and others. The event was globally broadcast on United Nations World AIDS Day on MTV and BCC, and included performances by Bono and The Edge of U2, Beyonce, The Corrs, Queen, Peter Gabriel, and many others. http://www.usnewswire.com/
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