We envision many global events to come which will grow out of the 80,000 Voices culture but our first large scale production planned for 2016 needs a theme.
I have experienced feelings of anger, powerlessness and frustration about many things – as I’m sure we all do. However, whenever the topic of nuclear weapons used to come up I found it extremely hard to find the language to express my arguments for why we should abolish nuclear weapons forever. I have always known in my heart that they are the greatest evil of all time, but I have never been prepared to accept that we have to live with them. That’s why I went off to Hiroshima in July 2013 to do an intense graduate course in Peace Studies.
I had listened to the arguments and fought the campaigns and spoken out against wars like the Gulf War, but still we seem to concur with the view that in order to maintain the status quo we have to have control over others in case they do something stupid. Nuclear weapons are a necessary evil and deterrent against attack, and yet no one should have them except for a small coterie of power hungry countries.
Who is the likely button pusher, we think to ourselves. Is it the North Koreans? Is it the Russians? This has been our pattern. To just let things happen, and stay fearful behind closed doors. We’ve grown up in a culture where it’s preferable to shelve our creativity, and let our leaders solve our feelings and fears out for us. I think in the past this was the way we did things.
Instead of standing up and saying we don’t want nuclear weapons, we’ve bought into the reasons for keeping them and allowed ourselves to go silent, harboured our fears and acted out on our loved ones, all the while waiting and hoping for some miracle to happen. A miracle that will give us the courage to raise our heads, find each other and act on what we really feel. Or not. For many years I’ve always said a little prayer to myself that all my family and I die instantly rather than face a life post a nuclear apocalypse.
But my children are teaching me that things are different now and I need to take action. I am their conduit and I will do everything in my power to help them get the message across.
I am going to Vienna on 5th December for the ICAN Civil Society Forum http://goodbyenuk.es/
I have been thinking about Keiji Nakazawa’s Barefoot Gen – telling this story in Manga style makes it accessible to all. The horrors are still present but perhaps easier to digest.
Watch the Barefoot Gen English Edition
Some background on Keiji Nakazawa – see Alan Gleason’s article
All this is why I came up with the idea of telling a story on a massive scale – a way to live the history and get a real sense of what happened when the nuclear bomb was dropped on the people of Hiroshima.
I know that keeping these weapons as a deterrent against attack, is an abuse to all mankind. The point is, there is an urgency to communicate the position the world has got itself into, where we live under the threat of complete obliteration, and I feel a good way to do this is tell the story about what happened through music and art, but to do it on a big scale.
The theme for our first large scale event in 2016 is the move towards a new era, out of the nuclear age. This doesn’t exclude the other global issues such as climate change, poverty, sustainability, disease, natural disasters and starvation, to name a few. 80,000 Voices is about building resilience starting within ourselves and growing into our communities.
80,000 Voices, in my view, is a small brand with a big idea.