[pjw] REPORT BACK: 2 cities nuked: Friday rally #72 since stay-at-home orders

Peace and Justice Works pjw at pjw.info
Sat Aug 7 13:24:29 EDT 2021

Iraq Affinity Group supporters:

We had clear (but humid) weather for our special Friday rally and march 
last night, "76 Years Later, We're Still Building Nukes." Once again there 
were seven of us there (interestingly, the same number were at our 
Hiroshima Day rally last year in August). We had a strange mixture of 
community responses. Several people were surprised to learn, from the 
signs we had, that the "US has nuked two cities-- never again!" One person 
along the march thanked us for being there but asked "what was the second 
city?" One person at the Square told us the sign was "propaganda" and 
proceeded to defend killing 100s of 1000s of Japanese civilians by 
referencing Pearl Harbor, then going off about 9/11 and more. That person 
slowly came to more reasoned discussion when he found we were just as 
likely to condemn wars started by Democrats as Republicans. (Doesn't he 
know that Roosevelt and Truman were Democrats?)

Others -- and this was multiple people-- said things like "you should talk 
about racism" (which we did, see below), or other topics they thought were 
more relevant. A few curiously asked what we were doing and why we chose 
this day, which we explained was exactly 76 years since the bombing of 

We "went the extra mile"-- literally-- and met up with the Oregon PSR 
event at the Japanese American Historical Plaza. We stood out by the 
roadside to support their event. Weirdly, there's so much construction on 
Naito Parkway that there was barely any traffic at 6 PM on a Friday. Of 
the 50 or so people there, about a dozen either passed by on their way in 
or came over to say hello. It was interesting to see so many people I 
haven't seen in over 17 months!

The event at the Plaza was supposed to last 15 minutes, but when it got to 
be 6:30 the four of us who remained decided to head out-- still carrying 
our signs-- to get back to our cars/public transport nearer the Square.

We couldn't hear much except the ringing of the Buddhist minister's bells, 
but the ceremony -- and subsequent presentation at the Japanese American 
Museum, can be seen here:


At our rally at the Square, the main topic was about Hiroshima and 
Nagasaki. We'd recently received a statement from the United National 
Antiwar Coalition which I opted to read rather than writing up my own 
thoughts. In retrospect I should probably have mentioned the information 
on our own flyer about recent contracts expanding US nuclear capabilities, 
after all that was the theme of our event.

Anyway, here's the gist of the UNAC statement, and I noted that I don't 
always agree with everything they write; the full statement can be found 


--The droppings of bombs on Hiroshima (Aug 6, 1945) and Nagasaki (Aug 9, 
1945) were among the most horrendous events in human history, killing 
about 250,000 people immediately and many more from wounds and radiation.

--There was no real military reason to use the bomb as Japan was ready to 
surrender. It was likely done to show the Russians that the US had this 
weapon capable of mass destruction.

--It's likely that racism played a role. The US military remained 
segregated. People of Japanese descent were put in internment camps while 
German-Americans were not. Was the decision to kill so many Japanese 
people driven by the white supremacy on which America was founded?

--The US withdrew from important treaties, is spending $1.5 trillion to 
update its nukes, and now has a military space force, leading to a new 
arms race.

--Following the bombings, a nuclear arms race made it possible to destroy 
the planet many times over, using money that could instead have gone to 
address the environment, hunger and poverty-- a true way to make the world 

I did address a few recent headlines as well.

--Though there is no evidence that Iran was behind the recent drone strike 
on one of its tankers, Israel is saying they are ready to attack Iran:


--The US is continuing to launch airstrikes against the Taliban in 
Afghanistan, further indicating that a troop withdrawal doesn't mean the 
war is over:


--And, in Somalia, the US enacted its third airstrike in two weeks:


And now the grand news of the week: Because we headed north rather than 
south, we never doubled back past Pioneer Place Mall and the Ann
Huntwork Peace Memorial Sign ran continuously throughout the evening! And 
I mean that-- from the time I assembled it in the parking garage just 
after 4:30 PM until we got back to SW 4th and Yamhill at about 6:45. 
Hooray. Out of respect for Oregon PSR's event, once we got to the 
Waterfront I left our message about Hiroshima day on the sign but "muted" 
the ones about "US Out" and "Justice 4" which had been running up to that 

Last I should not that I announced our Friday rally on September 10 (just 
5 weeks away) will start early (4:30 PM) and mark 20 years since 9/11. 
More details should be available in a few days.

While the Sturgis Motorcycle Ralliers in South Dakota seem unphased by the 
resurgence of COVID


we continue to mask up and stay socially distant at the rallies. If you 
want to join us some week please do, 5 PM most weeks, or 4:30 on Sept. 10.


dan handelman
peace and justice works iraq affinity group

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