Ms Setsuko Thurlow visits City

Last Week City was privileged to host Ms Setsuko Thurlow who discussed her experiences in Hiroshima in 1945.

Ms Setsuko Thurlow was in the UK to receive the Ahmadiyya Muslim Prize for the Advancement of Peace on Saturday. A Canadian citizen, she has previously received the Order of Canada Medal, the highest honour for Canadian civilians and has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. A survivor of one of the most pivotal events in modern history, Setsuko has displayed enormous courage and leadership throughout her long life, sharing her atomic bomb experiences in order to inform people about the real consequences of nuclear war. The audience at City were deeply moved and honoured to hear her story.

As a 13-year old schoolgirl, Setsuko found herself pressed into action by the Japanese Imperial Army to decode secret messages. Her first official day of work, with about 30 other high school students, was set for August 6th 1945. Just as Major Yanai gave the girls their marching orders, Sestsuko remembers a blueish white flash and a force of wind that lifted her body skyward. She would later regain consciousness in close proximity to ground zero of the world’s first atomic blast used in war. Her beloved city of Hiroshima was destroyed by a single ‘bomb’ nicknamed Little Boy.

 

A photo of Hiroshima

 

You may hear more about nuclear disarmament in the news this week. On Monday the UN will host a conference which aims to negotiate a “legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination”. This follows a vote in October 2016 when 123 nations voted in favour of holding this conference against 38 nations who were opposed (including the United Kingdom, Russia and North Korea). Campaigners, including Setsuko, feel positive that this conference will finally see this evil consigned to the history books.

You can read more about Hiroshima and nuclear war through CityLibrary Search.

 

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Simon

Library staff at City University London. Writes about libraries, history, literature and design.

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