Peace, justice groups stand out against nuclear weapons

  • Braving below-freezing temperatures Saturday morning, members of local peace and justice groups met on the Greenfield Common to join others worldwide in a “standout” for nuclear disarmament. STAFF PHOTO/MARY BYRNE

  • On Friday, the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons became international law. The United States was among the countries that didn’t support it. A demonstration organized by the Traprock Center for Peace and Justice on the Greenfield Common brings attention to this and other causes. STAFF PHOTO/MARY BYRNE

Staff Writer
Published: 1/24/2021 3:51:59 PM

GREENFIELD — Braving below-freezing temperatures Saturday morning, members of local peace and justice groups met on the common to join others worldwide in a “standout” for nuclear disarmament.

“We all know if there’s ever a nuclear war, we would pretty much be decimated,” said Emily Greene, a member of Racial Justice Rising.

On Friday, the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons became international law, the Associated Press reported, amounting to the world’s first legally binding international agreement to ban the development of nuclear weapons and seek their total elimination. Still, the United States — along with Russia, Britain, China, France, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel — were among the countries that didn’t sign the treaty.

“Putting a ban on nuclear weapons is a start,” Greene said. “We’ll still have nuclear power plants, but at least the nuclear weapon situation will help the safety and security of living on this planet.”

According to a release from the Traprock Center for Peace and Justice, events, actions and celebrations were expected to take place around the world to welcome the “entry into force” of the treaty.

NuclearBan.US and The Resistance Center for Peace and Justice organized a protest Friday in Northampton, specifically targeting L3Harris, a subcontractor to Northrop Grumman in developing a replacement for the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile system; that work is not done in Northampton. Protesters from both groups also demonstrated earlier in the day at the Pittsfield location of General Dynamics, an aerospace and defense corporation.

At a press conference in Northampton on Friday, Pat Hynes, Traprock’s director, said President Joe Biden must open a dialogue with Russia and renew nuclear agreements immediately, stop the new program of upgrading nuclear weapons and follow the lead of other countries in signing the new UN treaty.

“A limited nuclear war could trigger a global famine that would likely end billions of lives,” Hynes said. “A full-scale nuclear war would end human and most other life on Earth. … A nuclear war, whether by accident, misjudgment or intention to destroy the enemy, would destroy the rest of us as well.”

On Saturday, Greene said she is “very hopeful” with the new administration in place, “especially with what I see them doing for the United States and its domestic problems.”

However, Greene said, she has concerns for Biden’s approach to foreign affairs, as well as the approach of recently named Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

“I’m one of the people who thinks we shouldn’t be interfering with Venezuela or Cuba, or Iran,” Greene said.

Mary Byrne can be reached at mbyrne@recorder.com or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne


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