Dear Donald...

A dangerous world situationA dangerous world situation

Redbridge CND members were turned away when they tried to deliver a letter about the Korean crisis to the American embassy last year. Would you like to join them for a second attempt, asks Nigel Norman?

In 1951 peace activist Monica Felton went to North Korea. She was part of a delegation that went to observe the effects of the Korean War (25 June 1950 – 27 July 1953) on the people that lived there. She felt this was important as people in Britain were being kept in the dark about the course and conduct of the war. What they found was a country that had been totally destroyed by aerial bombing. This included the use of new 'wonder weapons' – napalm and biological weapons – on the civilian population.

During the Korean War, General Douglas MacArthur suggested the use of 25 nuclear weapons to "take care" of the North Korean and Chinese forces. The threat of atomic bombs was used to drive the civilian population to the south. The war left millions dead (one in nine of the population), misery and a mass of refugees.

The North Koreans have not forgotten this and it partly explains their drive to acquire their own nuclear weapons for their defence. It is a tiny country with the GDP of Malawi and maybe 10 to 20 nuclear warheads versus the massive military machine of the United States with its triad of nuclear forces (land, sea and air) and over 7,000 nuclear weapons. They have also observed US-led attempts at regime change in the Middle East and what happened to Libya when they abandoned their nuclear programme.

At the end of November 2017, a public meeting was held in Ilford Library to discuss the present, extremely dangerous world situation. Speakers from Stop the War and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) stressed the risks of events spinning out of control. A war would lead to casualties in the millions. Nuclear weapons can kill on a vast scale, as we saw from Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. The longer term effects may be extensive radiation poisoning across continents and famine due to climate changes. The present Commander-in-Chief of US nuclear forces (President Trump) is unpredictable, (possibly) unstable and prone to violent rhetoric, which has led to real fear among people the world over.

The situation is not without hope, however. The United Nations adopted a treaty banning nuclear weapons in July 2017 and 122 countries voted in favour (the UK government refused to participate).

When our CND group knocked on the door of the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square last summer to deliver a letter expressing our concerns, we were turned away. So, at our November meeting, I suggested the people of Wanstead and Ilford could deliver their own letter to the Americans, and I would like to put together a small delegation to do just that. Please get in touch if you would like to be involved.

For more information, call 07905 917 195 or visit wavidi.co/rcnd


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