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the Friend INDEPENDENT QUAKER JOURNALISM SINCE 1843
CONTENTS – VOL 168 NO 51 3 Quakers nominate Hiroshima survivors for Nobel peace prize 4 Sustainability high on the agenda 5 Could your Meeting welcome an ex-offender? Alick Munro 6-7 Christmas shopping seen differently Judy Clinton 8-9 Letters 10-11 Being Quaker, doing Quaker Anne Carus and Zelie Gross 12-13 Joan Mary Fry and The Communion of Life Nigel Morgan 14 ‘It’s the rich what gets the money’ Eric Rigby 15 Q-Eye 16 Christmas Greetings 17 Friends & Meetings
Cover image: Snowy walk. Photo: Photos.com. Images on this page: From the Quaker Life faith and practice conference: ‘Being Quaker, Doing Quaker’. Top: Shelagh Robinson, one of the speakers, with Gillian Ashmore. Centre: Caroline Westgate’s puppets discussing the merits of Trident. Bottom: Two sisters, part of the allage group at the conference. Photos: Trish Carn. See pages 10-11.
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the Friend, 17 December 2010 News
Quakers nominate Hiroshima survivors for Nobel peace prize
SURVIVORS OF THE NUCLEAR ATTACKS on Japan in 1945 have been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Quakers in the United States.
The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) has long praised the survivors – known as Hibakusha – for their campaigns against nuclear weapons. AFSC has formally proposed the survivors’ organisation, Nihon Hindankyo, to receive the prize in 2011.
AFSC said their decision was inspired by the Hibakusha’s worldwide work for the abolition of nuclear weapons. News of the nomination was welcomed by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) in the UK, who said that Nihon Hindankyo would be ‘a truly worthy recipient of the prize’.
As well as survivors of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, Nihon Hindankyo also includes survivors of US nuclear tests on the Bikini Atoll in the Pacific between 1945 and 1958. The first hydrogen bomb, exploded on the atoll in 1954, caused widespread radiation and later contaminated many of the indigenous islanders, who had been forcibly evacuated from the atoll but allowed to return after 1968.
Nihon Hindankyo has members in all forty-seven regions of Japan. Many of those now active were children at the time of the bombings.
The Hibakusha have served as guides at memorial museums in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and staffed an exhibition in the lobby of the United Nations headquarters in New York. More than fifty of them addressed government representatives at this year’s nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference.
Shan Cretin, general secretary of AFSC, quoted the Quaker principle ‘let your lives speak’ when he made the nomination to the Nobel Institute. He wrote, ‘As the only humans to have experienced the devastating effects of mankind’s only use of atomic bombs, the Hibakusha are uniquely able to let their lives speak.’
CND’s Kate Hudson told the Friend that CND fully supports the nomination of Nihon Hidankyo. She said: ‘Through their personal testimonies both of those days in 1945 and their suffering since, they have helped to build the public revulsion to actual use of nuclear weapons which we know has stayed the hands of world leaders on many occasions.’
Several previous AFSC nominees have won the Nobel Peace Prize, although on some occasions in a later year than when AFSC nominated them. They include US civil rights champion Martin Luther King and South African archbishop and anti-apartheid activist Desmond Tutu.
Students call for nonviolent direct action over tuition fees decision
THE STUDENT CHRISTIAN MOVEMENT (SCM) has backed nonviolent direct action in response to parliament’s decision to raise tuition fees in England to a maximum of £9,000.
SCM, referring to the selective portrayal of images of violence by the media, insisted that the vast majority of activists – including those who felt prompted to break the law – had behaved nonviolently.
‘The proposed increases in tuition fees will have a catastrophic impact on future generations of students and today’s students should be applauded for their selfless actions,’ said SCM’s national coordinator Hilary Topp.
But Emma Anthony, a Quaker studying at Southampton University, told the Friend she had chosen not to campaign against the fee rise. She said it was easy to criticise ‘when you’re on the outside’ but sometimes ‘the decisions you wouldn’t like have been made for a good reason’.
In contrast, SCM said in a statement immediately after the vote that the measure would deter students from poorer backgrounds. They felt that it would also influence students to choose subjects that are ‘likely to lead to a well-paid job, rather than a better society’.
Symon Hill the Friend, 17 December 2010