SIC convener Sandy Cluness will open a travelling photographic exhibition highlighting the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings of August 1945 next Thursday at 11am.
The exhibition will be open to the public in the town hall council chamber until 4pm on Friday. It will then be made available to Shetland junior high schools over the following weeks for educational purposes.
The exhibitions have been developed by the Hiroshima Atomic Bomb Museum and the Nagasaki Peace Museum to show the background to the bombings and above all the human effects of the bombings.
They also highlight the work of Mayors for Peace and other groups in campaigning for the abolition of such weapons. Some of the images are distressing and parental guidance is advised for younger children. The aim of the exhibition though is not to shock people but to educate them as to the dangers of nuclear weapons and to think about the issues of using them.
Shetland Islands Council has been a member of Mayors for Peace since April 2003. The International Councils organisation is led by the mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the two cities in Japan that were destroyed by the use of nuclear weapons in August 1945.
Councillor Rick Nickerson, the SIC’s Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) representative, said: “The use of nuclear weapons on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is an issue of great debate. Some argue it was justified because it helped to bring about the quick surrender of Japan and end the Second World War. Others say Japan was about to surrender and that the indiscriminate killing in two cities was as bad an event as was the holocaust.
“What is clear though is that for the 66 years since the bombings of 6th August and 9th August 1945 the fear of another nuclear weapons attack on another town or city has dominated foreign policy around the world.
“During the Cold War between the Soviet Union and its allies and the United States, UK and its allies there were many times when a third nuclear attack looked very possible. Fortunately that has not happened, but the concerns that Iran and North Korea may be developing nuclear weapons still worry and alarm many people.”
Mr Cluness added: “This exhibition is very important and personal to me. As a councillor, and as the convener of Shetland Islands Council, I have been a strong and consistent supporter of its opposition to nuclear weapons and its long-held support for both Nuclear Free Local Authorities and Mayors for Peace.
“I hope many people in Shetland will take the time to view this exhibition. We plan for it to go on to a number of schools across Shetland and to organise a number of educational events for our schoolchildren.”