Livermore 8/6/2010

Hiroshima survivor urges forgiveness at Livermore protest on 65th anniversary of atomic bomb

By Kimberly Chua

Posted: 08/06/2010 08:55:47 PM PDT

LIVERMORE — At 8:15 a.m. Friday, about 200 protesters paused for a moment of silence in front of the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

Protesters have gathered outside the Livermore lab every year since the 1980s to protest the development of nuclear weapons, but there was something new happening as part of a Hiroshima memorial on the other side of the world on Friday. For the first time since the bombing on Aug. 6, 1945, a U.S. ambassador — John Roos — participated in Japan’s annual memorial.

Hiroshima survivor Takashi Tanemori, the speaker at the Livermore event, said the attendance of Roos brought the level of attention on the anniversary into a higher world “political realm” — but his own message was one of peace and forgiveness.

“Today I’m here to tell you that I’m grateful for the gift of life, by learning to forgive,” Tanemori said from the stage at the corner of Vasco and Patterson Pass roads. “Our own enemy is our own darkness in our hearts. Until we love ourselves, how can we extend our love to a global base?”

While a few held signs with slogans like, “Peace through war is an oxymoron” or “Remember Hiroshima/No nukes/Anywhere/Ever,” one man, Santa Cruz resident Mel Nunez, said he doesn’t like words so much. He instead opted to carry a large flag with multicolored bands radiating outward from a peace sign.

“The silence of the culture,” Nunez said simply of his reason for attending the protest for a fifth time. “We don’t talk about it and we don’t seem to educate younger people to do better.”

Following speeches from other guests such as journalist Normon Solomon and Scott Yundt of Tri-Valley Community Against a Radioactive Environment, the crowd marched to the laboratory’s east gate.

Upon their arrival, however, officials closed the gate and said there would be no arrests that day.

After some negotiating from Tri-Valley CAREs executive director Marylia Kelley, who insisted the prearranged location was the safest place for protesters to be arrested, the lab was reopened.

The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office reported 31 arrests.