By Shyam K.C. ,The Kathmandu Post/Asia News Network
On Aug. 6, 1945 the world witnessed what can really be called one of the blackest days in human history. A U.S. plane named Enola Gay dropped an atom bomb over Hiroshima in Japan. The bomb named Little Boy instantly killed over 70,000 people and completely devastated the city. The death toll from the radiation and other problems created by the atomic blast brought the final death count to about 150,000. Little Boy, it seems, was not so little nor as innocent as a normal little boy would generally be. But then what’s in a name, an atomic bomb will prove to be just as devastating whatever it is called. Another city of Japan, Nagasaki, was also bombed on Aug. 9. Following the bombings, Japan announced its surrender less than a week later formally ending World War II (1939-1945) that killed over an estimated 50 million people out of the then world population of about 2.5 billion.
The two atomic bomb attacks, are thankfully, the only two nuclear bombings to have ever taken place so far. And we need to take lessons from those explosions that killed so many innocent civilians, including small children. Meanwhile, five years before the start of the Second World War, Nepal was rocked by a severe earthquake in 1934 that devastated many parts of the country including the Kathmandu Valley killing an estimated 10,000 Nepali people and devastating many cities and villages. Yet, did we take lessons from the 1934 earthquake? How prepared were we for the April earthquake that occurred three months ago? As time flew by, the Nepali state and its people seemed to have forgotten that the country lies in a seismically active zone. We failed to take necessary precautions and even when building codes came into force, they were flouted by the common people as well as the government and the local authorities.
In the same way, the world seems to have forgotten the tragic war that occurred 70 years ago. Otherwise, there would have been efforts to ban the use of nuclear weapons and destroy its stockpile owned by a few countries. The destruction of nuclear weapons has not taken place and now more countries want to possess nuclear weapons instead. And why should they not want them? Should nuclear weapons be the monopoly of just a few countries, making this world an unequal place to live in?
Glued to Disaster Despite the known dangers of nuclear weapons, many countries want them, if only as a deterrent. Today there are five nuclear weapon states — the UK, the U.S., France, Russia and the People’s Republic of China. India and Pakistan also have nuclear weapons while North Korea is suspected of possessing nuclear bombs. Iran is allegedly developing a nuclear weapon while Israel is also said to be in possession of them.
There are estimated to be over 20,000 nuclear warheads and weapons (some of them outdated but can be reused) in the world today, enough to wipe out most of the living beings of the earth (including human beings), several times over.