This August 1985 was the fortieth anniversary of the dropping of the two nuclear bombs on Japan. If nothing else we should remember that war and threat of war do nothing towards creating trust and fairness so important for our common well being. There has been more death and destruction since WWII than during that war, so clearly there has been no measure taken since then that has stopped or even moderated the occurrence of war and violence. Total war, a phrase coined by Hitler, is the way wars are conducted now. Britain exports weapons everywhere fuelling the fires of war. It cannot even be said that Europe has been free from war. One lesson that has been learned by many European peoples like the French who were occupied is that no matter how evil and hated you see your former enemy the only way forward is to find unity of purpose. One reason that the European Union has been supported is that it is a focal point for European unity. Without the EU, purpose would still have been found i’m sure, but the question that must concern us is, “will people see a reason for sustaining and developing unity?”
Ten years ago (1985) the local Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament marked the Hiroshima Bomb anniversary in a special way. A dozen or so of us went out painting with home-made chalk based removable paint, representations of the shadows left by the victims of the two bombs. Needless to say six of us spent most of the night in police cells myself included (no one was charged). This happened all over the country, but was largely covered by local news papers only. Similar actions happened all over the world. I heard of actions that took place in Quebec city where 100 were arrested, Port Hope a small town of 10,000 in Canada where 200 people took part in an officially sanction action and in Hungary, Australia. It all started in New York City where the shadows action had been an annual event for the previous ten years. That was quite the biggest showing of world people power I ever expected to see.
It would be a good thing if people were confident they could take such action without fear of retribution. We would then naturally not allow dangerous domination by a leader, and central control, and that would be proof of common trust and well being. Sadly Britain is still deploying weapon systems like Trident Submarines designed to destroy Soviet Nuclear Weapons while they are in there silos. Whoever they may be used against they have to be used first, before the target has flown. This was the point that reawakened the peace movement in the first place. The French have now restarted Nuclear Weapon testing in the pacific.
Yet it is clear change is possible. Cruise Missiles are the first current weapon system to be taken out of service since 1814 when Americans and Canadians agreed not to have warships on Lake Ontario. The peace movement must take some credit for that, and for changing the political atmosphere to make preparation for first strike tactical nuclear war in Europe unacceptable. The question still has to be repeated is, why have Nuclear Weapons?
Andrew Lohmann shadows revised 1985, 1995, 1997
Shadows 1985 (international shadows campaign)
This event had taken place in Manhattan for a decade or two prior to the event taking place in Tunbridge Wells. There might be a few people who I worked with at the time who still remember that I was arrested. It was worrying for a few days that I had to tell my boss before the local paper, The Courier was printed as my name would be on the front page but my colleges had already told the boss so there was no big-deal. When I told mum what I was planning she was a little worried then quite excited about and told people what I was going to taking part in. Update March 2020.