Nobel Laureate: “Bruised Ego,” “Impulsive Tantrum” Could Spark Nuclear Holocaust (Slate)

Nobel Laureate: “Bruised Ego,” “Impulsive Tantrum” Could Spark Nuclear Holocaust

Berit Reiss-Andersen (L), chairperson of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, hands over the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize to Beatrice Fihn (R), leader of ICAN (International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons), and Hiroshima nuclear bombing survivor Setsuko Thurlow (C) during the award ceremony of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize at the city hall in Oslo, Norway, on December 10, 2017.

BERIT ROALD/Getty Images

The winners of the Nobel Peace Prize warned that a nuclear war that could devastate the planet was closer to being a reality than most realized. Beatrice Fihn, who is the executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), accepted the award in the group’s name and warned that the total destruction of humanity could be one “impulsive tantrum away.” Speaking at the awards ceremony in Oslo, Fihn left little doubt about who she was referring to when she noted that “a moment of panic or carelessness, a misconstrued comment or bruised ego could easily lead us unavoidably to the destruction of entire cities.”

That is why, Fihn noted, the only way to assure that it won’t happen is to get rid of nuclear weapons entirely. “The only rational course of action is to cease living under the conditions where our mutual destruction is only one impulsive tantrum away,” she said. Nuclear weapons are essentialy a “madman’s gun held permanently to our temple.”

ICAN, which is made up by 468 non-governmental organizations from 101 countries and has its headquarters in Geneva, worked on a treaty banning nuclear weapons that has been signed by 56 countries and ratified by only three. The world’s nuclear powers, of course, didn’t sign the treaty. And in a symbol of how they disagreed with awarding the prestigious prize to ICAN, the United States, France, and Britain all broke tradition and sent second-ranking diplomats rather than ambassadors to Sunday’s Nobel ceremony.

A survivor of the Hiroshima atomic bomb also spoke during the ceremony of how the blast left her under rubble but she was able to see light and get to safety. “Our light now is the ban treaty,” Setsuko Thurlow, who was 13 when the bomb dropped, said. “I repeat those words that I heard called to me in the ruins of Hiroshima: ‘Don’t give up. Keep pushing. See the light? Crawl toward it’.” Fihn agreed that while the treaty is still a long way from being ratified by the 50 countries needed to become binding, it at least provided an important framework and goal. “This is the way forward. There is only one way to prevent the use of nuclear weapons—prohibit and eliminate them,” Fihn said.

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via Slate

December 10, 2017 at 12:58PM

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