On Friday, 8 August, the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (ODA) co-hosted the “Genbaku No Hi” event for the Vienna community who gathered at the Vienna International Centre to commemorate the victims of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombings that occurred on the 6th and 9th of August 1945.
Participants ringing the Peace Bell at the Vienna International Centre Genbaku No Hi is an initiative to establish an official Atomic Bomb Memorial Day to be recognized every year on 8 August. An aspect of this commemoration at the United Nations in Vienna is Atomic Bomb Awareness Day. An event was held which included the ringing of the Peace Bell at the Memorial Plaza, an Origami corner and examples of Ikebana (Japanese flower arrangements). Many Vienna-based artists were on hand to show their support with live jazz music by the “Friesacher Trio” an outdoor dance performance by Aiko Kasuko Kurosaki and Japanese painting by Claudia Hirtl.
Marking its 10th celebration, Genbaku No Hi took place with introductions and statements by members of the Disarmament and Non-proliferation community at the Vienna International Centre. Ms. Yuko Gulda is the founder and the main organiser of the Genbaku No Hi.
Ms. Yuko Gulda is an Austro-Japanese artist who developed the idea of the initiative. She believes that “‘Genbaku No Hi’ will inspire people to take responsibility to create a better world for their children. At the event, Ms. Gulda stated, “On this day we renew our pledge that manmade catastrophes such as atomic wars and wars must be avoided unconditionally, and that atomic weapons and weapons of mass destruction should not exist. We have to do everything in our power to guarantee a sustainable future for our children.”
Mr. Peter Haider, President of the Universal Peace Foundation in Austria, moderated the event and praised the role that ODA played in co-hosting. Presentations were made by Mr. Pericles Gasparini, Acting Chief of ODA’s Vienna Office, Mr. Thomas Mutzelburg from the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization and Dr. Michael Platzer from the Academic Council of the United Nations System (ACUNS) in Vienna. Members from the Japanese Permanent Mission were present at the event to show their support.
In his speech, Mr. Gasparini told those attending, “If we truly wish the next generation to be the last to live under the shadow of nuclear war, we must do more to ensure that they have the information and understanding necessary to change nuclear disarmament from a desirable goal to an accomplished fact – and education will be indispensable in meeting this need.”
It was an excellent opportunity for the ODA’s Vienna Office to collaborate with all involved, and to speak with one voice as a global family in support of nuclear disarmament.