Celebrating Feminists’ Voices, Inspiring Global Peace

News

#HiroshimaNagasaki

Oppenheimer: Unveiling the Untold Horror

Christopher Nolan’s film “Oppenheimer” has garnered widespread attention, offering a glimpse into the scientific quest led by J. Robert Oppenheimer to build the atomic bomb during World War II. Amidst the accolades and acclaim, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), amongst many other peace organistions, raises a vital concern about the movie’s selective focus, which omits the true horror and human suffering caused by these catastrophic weapons, and the present danger they continue to pose to humanity.

Image credit: Universal Pictures
WILPF International Secretariat
6 August 2023

As we reflect on the anniversaries of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, 6 and 9 August, it is crucial to recognise and honour the untold stories that the “Oppenheimer” movie made a point to ignore.

Survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, known as hibakusha, which translates literally as “bomb-affected-people”, faced not only unimaginable pain on the days of the bombings but also lifelong health challenges, including radiation-related illnesses and birth defects. Furthermore, the bombings caused severe environmental damage, impacting the affected regions for generations to come. The film falls remarkably short in fully conveying the harrowing magnitude of human loss caused by the bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In reality, an estimated 140,000 people perished in Hiroshima, and another 70,000 lost their lives in Nagasaki, with countless others experiencing enduring health issues and trauma as hibakusha. But the movie appears to sanitise these profound tragedies, focusing instead on glorifying the scientific “achievements” of the white men who built the bomb and leaving the audience with an incomplete understanding of the far-reaching devastation caused by nuclear weapons.

YouTube video
YouTube video
YouTube video
YouTube video

Explore a series of videos featuring powerful firsthand accounts shared by hibakusha and their families and delve into a deeper understanding of the harrowing magnitude of human loss and the lasting impact of nuclear weapons.

In this context, peace organisations such as WILPF are fervently emphasising the importance of critically exploring the film’s omissions. Experts like Ray Acheson, anti-nuclear activist and director of WILPF’s disarmament programme, published a Twitter thread providing an insightful review of the aspects overlooked by the movie and shining a light on the crucial missing information regarding the human toll of nuclear weapons production and use. It becomes evident that the film manipulatively conveys the fallacy that showing force and resorting to violence are necessary measures to bring about peace, a message that warrants continued scrutiny and challenge.

One of the gravely overlooked aspects that require recognition is the impact of the Trinity Test’s radioactive fallout on various communities. The film’s selective focus neglects to portray the dire consequences borne by local Indigenous, worker communities and those living near the test site in New Mexico. The lingering effects of the radioactive fallout extend beyond the immediate vicinity of the bombings, affecting generations to come and leaving a lasting scar on the environment and the lives of those residing in the surrounding regions.

By amplifying the voices and experiences of these marginalised communities, Ray Acheson’s thread highlights the necessity of acknowledging the broader ramifications of nuclear weapons. It is through more comprehensive narratives, such as Indigenous Action’s article “​​Architect of Annihilation: Oppenheimer’s Deadly Legacy of Nuclear Terror,”  that we can begin to comprehend the true cost of these catastrophic weapons and the urgency to work towards a world free from their destructive potential.

As we commemorate the anniversaries of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, we carry the weight of history and the obligation to make a difference. Understanding the past empowers us to shape a better tomorrow, where the horrors of nuclear weapons become confined to history books and the collective resolve of humanity prevails over the spectre of nuclear annihilation. By embracing comprehensive narratives and taking action against nuclear weapons, we can pave the way for a safer and more peaceful future. Acknowledging the devastating consequences wrought by these deadly weapons is not only a duty to the past but also a responsibility to shape a safer future for generations to come. 

These alternative stories serve as poignant reminders of the irreversible suffering caused by nuclear weapons and compel us to reckon with the lasting health challenges, environmental degradation, and intergenerational trauma that continue to cast a shadow on affected communities.

However, merely acknowledging the past is not enough. Promoting disarmament must be an integral part of our collective mission. Striving for a world free from the ever-looming threat of nuclear annihilation demands proactive measures and a united global effort. By advocating for disarmament, we embark on a path towards peace, justice, and security for all.

If you want to go further… 

Oppenheimer: Campaigners’ Action Kit

Abolitionist Viewing Guide for Oppenheimer

Rethinking the Beginning of the ‘Nuclear Age’ Through Telling Feminist Nuclear Stories

Notes on Nuclear Weapons and Intersectionality

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and Gender, Feminism, and Intersectionality 

How destructive are today’s nuclear weapons? 

Don’t Normalise Nuclear Weapons and War— Abolish Them

What Do Feminists Think of Nuclear Weapons? 

Hiroshima & Nagasaki Remembrance Statement 

Share the post

WILPF International Secretariat

WILPF International Secretariat, with offices in Geneva and New York, liaises with the International Board and the National Sections and Groups for the implementation of WILPF International Programme, resolutions and policies as adopted by the International Congress. Under the direction of the Secretary-General, the Secretariat also provides support in areas of advocacy, communications, and financial operations.

Your donation isn’t just a financial transaction; it’s a step toward a more compassionate and equitable world. With your support, we’re poised to achieve lasting change that echoes through generations. Thank you!

Thank you!

Melissa Torres

VICE-PRESIDENT

Prior to being elected Vice-President, Melissa Torres was the WILPF US International Board Member from 2015 to 2018. Melissa joined WILPF in 2011 when she was selected as a Delegate to the Commission on the Status of Women as part of the WILPF US’ Practicum in Advocacy Programme at the United Nations, which she later led. She holds a PhD in Social Work and is a professor and Global Health Scholar at Baylor College of Medicine and research lead at BCM Anti-Human Trafficking Program. Of Mexican descent and a native of the US/Mexico border, Melissa is mostly concerned with the protection of displaced Latinxs in the Americas. Her work includes training, research, and service provision with the American Red Cross, the National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Centre, and refugee resettlement programs in the U.S. Some of her goals as Vice-President are to highlight intersectionality and increase diversity by fostering inclusive spaces for mentorship and leadership. She also contributes to WILPF’s emerging work on the topic of displacement and migration.

Jamila Afghani

VICE-PRESIDENT

Jamila Afghani is the President of WILPF Afghanistan which she started in 2015. She is also an active member and founder of several organisations including the Noor Educational and Capacity Development Organisation (NECDO). Elected in 2018 as South Asia Regional Representative to WILPF’s International Board, WILPF benefits from Jamila’s work experience in education, migration, gender, including gender-based violence and democratic governance in post-conflict and transitional countries.

Sylvie Jacqueline Ndongmo

PRESIDENT

Sylvie Jacqueline NDONGMO is a human rights and peace leader with over 27 years experience including ten within WILPF. She has a multi-disciplinary background with a track record of multiple socio-economic development projects implemented to improve policies, practices and peace-oriented actions. Sylvie is the founder of WILPF Cameroon and was the Section’s president until 2022. She co-coordinated the African Working Group before her election as Africa Representative to WILPF’s International Board in 2018. A teacher by profession and an African Union Trainer in peace support operations, Sylvie has extensive experience advocating for the political and social rights of women in Africa and worldwide.

WILPF Afghanistan

In response to the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban and its targeted attacks on civil society members, WILPF Afghanistan issued several statements calling on the international community to stand in solidarity with Afghan people and ensure that their rights be upheld, including access to aid. The Section also published 100 Untold Stories of War and Peace, a compilation of true stories that highlight the effects of war and militarisation on the region. 

IPB Congress Barcelona

WILPF Germany (+Young WILPF network), WILPF Spain and MENA Regional Representative

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Mauris facilisis luctus rhoncus. Praesent eget tellus sit amet enim consectetur condimentum et vel ante. Nulla facilisi. Suspendisse et nunc sem. Vivamus ullamcorper vestibulum neque, a interdum nisl accumsan ac. Cras ut condimentum turpis. Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia curae; Curabitur efficitur gravida ipsum, quis ultricies erat iaculis pellentesque. Nulla congue iaculis feugiat. Suspendisse euismod congue ultricies. Sed blandit neque in libero ultricies aliquam. Donec euismod eget diam vitae vehicula. Fusce hendrerit purus leo. Aenean malesuada, ante eu aliquet mollis, diam erat suscipit eros, in.

Demilitarisation

WILPF uses feminist analysis to argue that militarisation is a counter-productive and ill-conceived response to establishing security in the world. The more society becomes militarised, the more violence and injustice are likely to grow locally and worldwide.

Sixteen states are believed to have supplied weapons to Afghanistan from 2001 to 2020 with the US supplying 74 % of weapons, followed by Russia. Much of this equipment was left behind by the US military and is being used to inflate Taliban’s arsenal. WILPF is calling for better oversight on arms movement, for compensating affected Afghan people and for an end to all militarised systems.

Militarised masculinity

Mobilising men and boys around feminist peace has been one way of deconstructing and redefining masculinities. WILPF shares a feminist analysis on the links between militarism, masculinities, peace and security. We explore opportunities for strengthening activists’ action to build equal partnerships among women and men for gender equality.

WILPF has been working on challenging the prevailing notion of masculinity based on men’s physical and social superiority to, and dominance of, women in Afghanistan. It recognizes that these notions are not representative of all Afghan men, contrary to the publicly prevailing notion.

Feminist peace​

In WILPF’s view, any process towards establishing peace that has not been partly designed by women remains deficient. Beyond bringing perspectives that encapsulate the views of half of the society and unlike the men only designed processes, women’s true and meaningful participation allows the situation to improve.

In Afghanistan, WILPF has been demanding that women occupy the front seats at the negotiating tables. The experience of the past 20 has shown that women’s presence produces more sustainable solutions when they are empowered and enabled to play a role.

Skip to content