Rising Out Of The Shadows

PEAC Institute

I stated PEAC Institute back in 2016 as a reaction to my time spent in Japan. I was working there and visited Hiroshima on a long weekend. I was so taken aback by what I learned there from a Hibakusha, a survivor of the Hiroshima bombing.

Although I had no experience in film-making, I decided to make a documentary about the Hibakusha and why we need to all be concerned about and fight for the total abolition of nuclear weapons! Now, at the time people said I was crazy and idealistic.

"this is impossible, it's never going to happen."

This is the type of talk that is ALWAYS prevalent when any kind of abolition is on the table. I knew there were others who felt as passionately as I did so instead of being discouraged I went out to look for my people.ICAN, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, was full of "young, idealistic" people just like me. And you guessed it - WE DID IT!

ICAN won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017 for.....the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. 122 nations have signed so far. Drawing upon ICAN's success, it is clear that young people have a significant voice in the field of international peace and security.

At PEAC organize youth forums which serve as an avenue for youth to engage in dialogue with representatives at the United Nations and High-Level Conferences. At PEAC you'll receive training on campaigning and formulating action plans toward a global youth movement in support of nuclear disarmament and abolition. We train our students to be ambassadors of peace, and in turn, they get more people involved. It's a ripple effect, and it starts with you!

Signature/ratification status of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons opened for signature at United Nations headquarters in New York on 20 September 2017 and will remain open indefinitely. Once 50 nations have ratified or acceded to it, it will enter into force.

There are currently 79 signatories and 32 states parties.

2018 US Nuclear Posture Review

The United States maintains an arsenal of about 1,650 strategic nuclear warheads deployed on Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs), Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBMs), and Strategic Bombers and some 180 tactical nuclear weapons at bomber bases in five European countries.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) published a major report in October 2017 that estimates the nuclear weapons spending plans President Donald Trump inherited from his predecessor will cost taxpayers $1.2 trillion in inflation-adjusted dollars between fiscal years 2017 and 2046.

This amounts to about 6 percent of all spending on national defense anticipated for that period, as of President Barack Obama’s final budget request to Congress in February 2016. When the effects of inflation are included, the 30-year cost would approach $1.7 trillion, according to a projection by the Arms Control Association.

Estimated Costs for Nuclear Triad Modernization

Investments in nukes

"Early in February 2018, the Republican-controlled Congress passed and President Donald Trump signed new federal budget legislation that increased U.S. military spending by $165 billion over the next two years. Remarkably, though, a Gallup public opinion poll, conducted only days before, found that only 33 percent of Americans favored increasing U.S. military spending, while 65 percent opposed it, either backing reductions (34 percent) or maintenance of the status quo (31 percent)." Lawrence Wittner IPPNW

Who's Investing?

329 financial institutions from around the world invested 525 billion USD into 20 companies involved in the production, maintenance and modernization of nuclear weapons since January 2014.

Important progress being made right here, in Cambridge!

In 2016 the Cambridge City Council passed a resolution to divest City-managed pension funds from companies that produce nuclear weapons, or invest in their production. There was a forum held in January 2018 which addressed the issues confronting city government as it works to follow through on the resolution. The forum was sponsored by the Cambridge Peace Commission; Massachusetts Peace Action; Campaign for Peace, Disarmament and Common Security; Institute for People’s Engagement; and Future of Life Institute Program Committee: Councilor Dennis Carlone (Chair); State Rep. Mike Connolly; Shelagh Foreman (Peace Action Board Chair); Prof. Jonathan King. John Ratliff (Cambridge Peace Commission)


Rising Out Of The Shadows

Gallery Walk

Take a few moments with each picture and as you look think of these questions:

  • What do you see?
  • What do you notice about these people? What else?
  • What are these people wearing/not wearing?
  • What else do you notice?
  • Look closely at the background. What can you identify?
  • What is on the ground? How do you know this?

As we watch the videos think of the same questions

  1. Distribute 5 x 8-inch cards and ask students to write a paragraph that describes the film and photographs which includes a minimum of five sensory details. Instruct students to consider what they could see, hear, smell, taste, or touch if they were in the photographs. Next have students select a single figure from the film or photographs. Pass out the handout Photographic & Film Details. Instruct students to look closely at all the details about the person they chose to focus on, and then answer the questions in the handout. Discuss responses as a class.
  2. Instruct students to identify the events leading up to the atomic bombings. The following web resources might be helpful: "HIROSHIMA AND NAGASAKI REMEMBERED” on the Hiroshima and Nagasaki Remembered website (http://www.hiroshima-remembered.com)
  3. Distribute the character list from John Hersey’s Hiroshima. Explain that these people, like most of the stories of what happened directly following the atomic bombing, were almost invisible in U.S. history. Additionally, you could have students orally recite one of the character synopses. You may want to take a look at “Hiroshima” on The New Yorker‘s Website (http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1946/08/31/hiroshima).
  4. Have students select one person for the videos, photographs, or book and write five (5) to ten (10) journal entries from the perspective of that individual. Explain that they will create journals in a biographical narrative format. Further explain that all information surrounding the bombing was censored by both the US & Japanese governments.
  5. Possible journal topics could include the following:
  • Type of work they did before the bomb
  • Details about their family
  • The day the bomb was dropped
  • Their day to day life after the bomb
  • A dramatic moment
  • How they felt 5 years, 10 years, 20 years, 50 years after
  1. Remind students to include many sensory details in their writings. The journal entries should span the years of the individual‘s life from right before/right after the bomb to now. Students can conduct research with Web resources like “Hiroshima” on The New Yorker‘s Website) (http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1946/08/31/hiroshima)..
  2. Tell students to select a moment from their journals and create a piece of Shadow Art that illustrates the moment. Show students an example of such artwork from the past workshops: (https://youtu.be/yLtD06_hjWA).


Have students finish their journal entries and begin to think about what kind of Shadow Art they will engage in.

Creative Expression - Day 2

David Plunkert: BrainyBeautiful, For NY Times.


Paper, crayons, markers, watercolors, paint, contemporary magazines, scissors, and provided images.

  1. Show students examples from the Dada Collage’s & Alex Webb’s photographs. (See the image bank and descriptions of the Dada movement and Alex Webb’s You can also show some examples of other student’s work, https://youtu.be/yLtD06_hjWA.
  2. Ask the students what they believe the artist was trying to say through their art. Have them break into groups and discuss.
  3. Tell students to select a dramatic moment in their journals or a reaction to the survivors’ story from which they will create their collage.
  4. Have the students choose 3 to 5 words or symbols from the word bank and 3 to 5 images for their collages. (Students are welcome to add their own images or )
  5. Have the students begin manipulating the images by cutting them and rearranging them. Ask them to find two different ways of arranging them. Have the students think about the meaning they want to portray and how to combine the images, words, and color to get their point across.
  6. *Bonus - Ask the students if they can make the opposite meaning with the same images and words.
  7. Before the students finalize their collages, by gluing them down, have them pair up and ask the following questions:
  • What feelings or emotions come up when you look at the collage?
  • Where do your eyes go?
  • What do you focus on?
  1. Have the students finalize their collages by gluing down the images and words. Have them add color to make their statements stronger.
  2. Here are some questions you can ask for a final discussion:
  • What are shadow people?
  • Are their any shadow people in your life?
  • What current events are happening now that involve shadow people?
  • If you were a world leader what would you change now that you have learned more about what happened in Hiroshima & Nagasaki?
  • Are there things in your schools that you don’t like?
  • How can you change them?
  • Was dropping the bomb an extreme form of bullying?


Final journal entry: Imagine you are one of the US leaders or bombardiers, what would you say to the character you chose?


Read an excerpt about shadow people from John Hersey’s Hiroshima while they are creating as an added value to the art-making process. From p. 72 of Hiroshima by John Hersey released in 1989-

“The scientists noticed that the flash of the bomb had discolored concrete to a light reddish tint, had scaled off the surface of granite, and had scorched other types of building material, and that consequently the bomb had in some places, left prints of the shadows that had been cast by its light . The experts found, for instance, a permanent shadow thrown on the roof of the Chamber of Commerce Building (220 yards from the rough center) by the structure’s rectangular tower; several others in the lookout post on top of the Hypothec Bank (2,050 yards); another in the tower of the Chugoku Electric Supply Building (800 yards); another projected by the handle of a gas pump (2,630 yards); and several on granite tomb stones in the Gokoku Shrine (385 yards). By triangulating these and other shadows with the objects that formed them, the scientists determined that the exact center was a spot a hundred and fifty yards south of the torii and a few yards southeast of the pile of ruins that had once been the Shima Hospital. (A few vague human silhouettes were found, and these gave rise to stories that eventually included fancy and precise details. One story told how a painter on a ladder was monumentalized in a kind of bas-relief on the stone facade of a bank building on which he was at work, in the act of dipping his paint brush into his paint can; another, how a man and his cart on the bridge near the Museum of Science and Industry, almost under the center of the explosion, were cast down in an embossed shadow which made it clear that the man was about to whip his hours.)”


At the end of the class ask students to share their Shadow Art, what the experience has meant to them and what it makes them feel. Ask the students what Shadow Art means to them? Encourage students to upload pictures of their Shadow Art to http://education.peacinstitute.org/shadow_art to share what they made with an international audience and have the opportunity to Apply to PEAC’s 2020 75th Memorial Hiroshima Tour.


Students will be assessed on their participation in group discussions and their ability to provide five to 10 journal entries with sensory details from the perspective of the individual they selected. Students’ Shadow Art should reflect a moment from their journal entries. Here is a link to the rubric that will help you assess the journal entries. All resources can also be found on the Handout page: http://education.peacinstitute.org/handouts.

The Bomb and US

by Anne Sandstrom

As I write this, a nuclear ban treaty is within reach. And yet, the optimism I should be feeling is tempered by the knowledge of the people, lands, waters, cultural traditions, and innocence that have been lost to the scourge of nuclear weapons.

On Sunday afternoon, June 18, during an ICAN strategy and planning meeting, many voiced opinions on various aspects of the ban treaty. There was much discussion about the victims of nuclear testing, with Roland Oldham (President of Moruroa e Tatou) offering the perspective of the inhabitants of French Polynesia. At the conclusion of the meeting, Roland offered the booklet “Moruroa La Bombe et Nous” to anyone interested. He seemed apologetic as he admitted that it was available only in French.

Thus began my virtual journey to French Polynesia. Rather than being the idyllic sojourn one might envision, the following days were spent carefully translating the booklet from French to English. The story unfolded slowly, word by word, in all of its humility and horror. This is a tale told simply, without the breathless hyperbole so common in all sorts of media today. Painstakingly illustrated with historic photos, it is told by Polynesians for fellow Polynesians, meant to educate young people about what happened to their recent ancestors. But it is one we must all hear.

The booklet’s description reads “From 1966 to 1996, France detonated 193 bombs at Moruroa and Fangataufa. During those 30 years, the lives of Polynesians have been completely upended. Young people are ill informed about what actually happened at Moruroa and about the changes to the daily lives of their parents caused by the testing by the CEP [Pacific Test Center]. With some essential facts, individual stories, photos and illustrations, this brochure, geared toward young readers, will let them learn about this important but forgotten time that is actually so recent.”

The absolute and permanent damage inflicted by the barbaric testing undertaken by the French government, centering on the atolls of Moruroa and Fangataufa, is presented with a gentle stoicism that is in itself shocking in its honesty.

It is in that spirit that I hope this document endures, reminding anyone who reads it of the interminable impact these weapons have had on the area of French Polynesia. And, by extension, on all of us.

French Nuclear Test Licorne, 1970
Nuclear colonialism and French nuclear tests, Polynesia

How You Can Help Ban Nukes

Hibakusha Appeal

Join the Hibakusha Appeal: I vote with the survivors of the atomic bombings and nuclear testing for a world free of nuclear weapons

We, the Hibakusha, call on all State Governments to conclude a treaty to ban and eliminate nuclear weapons. The average age of the Hibakusha now exceeds 80. It is our strong desire to achieve a nuclear-weapon-free world in our lifetime so that succeeding generations of people will not see hell on earth every again.
You, your families and relatives, or any other people should not be made Hibakusha again. We believe that your signatures appended to this appeal will add up to the voices of hundreds of millions of people around the world and move international politics. They will finally save the future of our blue planet and all life on it. We earnestly appeal to you to append your signature to this petition.

“So that the people from future generations will not have to experience hell on earth, we want to realize a world free of nuclear weapons while we are still alive.”

Join your voice with those of the Hibakusha to say “Never Again.”

Sign the petition for a new treaty to ban nuclear weapons below.

Hibakusha Earnestly Desire Elimination of Nuclear Weapons

At present, humanity stands at the crossroads of whether to save our blue planet with all living things on it as it is or to go along the road of self-destruction.

The two atomic bombs dropped on August 6th and 9th 1945 by the US forces totally destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki in an instant and killed and wounded hundreds of thousands of people without discrimination. With corpses charred black, bodies with their skins peeled off and with lines of people tottering in silence, a hell on earth emerged. Those who narrowly survived soon collapsed one after another. For more than 70 years since then, we have struggled to live on, afflicted by the delayed effects and by anxiety about the possible effects of radiation on our children and grandchildren. Never again do we want such tragedies to be repeated.

After 11 years of silence following the A-bomb suffering, Hibakusha assembled in Nagasaki in August 1956 and founded Nihon Hidankyo, the Japan Confederation of A-and H-bomb Sufferers Organizations. There we pledged that we would work to "save humanity from its crisis through the lessons learned from our experiences, while at the same time saving ourselves".

Since then we have continued appealing to the world that "there should never be another Hibakusha." This is the cry of our soul. Wars and conflicts are still going on in the world, and many lives of innocent people are lost. Nuclear weapons are being used to threaten others. There are also moves to develop new nuclear weapons. The destructive power of existing nuclear weapons, which number well over 10 thousand, amounts to that of tens of thousands of Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs combined. Nuclear weapons are the "weapons of the devil". They could wipe out the human race and all other creatures. They could destroy the environment and turn the globe into a dead planet.

Human beings have prohibited the use, development, production, and possession of biological and chemical weapons by treaties and protocols. Why do we hesitate to prohibit nuclear weapons, which are far more destructive than these weapons?

We, the Hibakusha, call on all State Governments to conclude a treaty to ban and eliminate nuclear weapons. The average age of the Hibakusha now exceeds 80. It is our strong ' desire to achieve a nuclear-weapon-free world in our lifetime so that succeeding generations of people will not see hell on earth ever again.

You, your families and relatives, or any other people should not be made Hibakusha again. We believe that your signatures appended to this appeal will add up to the voices of hundreds of millions of people around the world and move international politics. They will finally save the future of our blue planet and all life on it. We earnestly appeal to you to append your signature to this petition.

April 2016

Initial Proposers of the Appeal:

Sunao Tsuboi, Sumiteru Taniguchi and Mikiso Iwasa, Co-Chairpersons, Hidankyo (Japan Confederation of A-and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations)

Terumi Tanaka, Secretary General, Hidankyo

Kwak Kwi Hoon, Honorary Chairman, Korean Association of Atomic Bomb Victims

Tsukasa Mukai, President, US Association of Atomic Bomb Victims

Takashi Morita, President, Associacao Hibakusha Brasil Pela Paz

Setsuko Thurlow, Hibakusha of Hiroshima, Toronto,Canada

Yasuaki Yamashita, Hibakusha of Nagasaki, Mexico City, Mexico

International Signature Campaign in Support of the Appeal of the Hibakusha for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons

Earnestly desiring the elimination of nuclear weapons without delay, we, the Hibakusha, call on all State Governments to conclude a treaty to ban and eliminate nuclear weapons.

I, the undersigned, hereby support the Appeal of the Hibakusha.

NOTE: After the launch of the International Signature Campaign in April 2016, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was adopted on July 7, 2017. This Campaign now calls on all State Governments to join the Treaty and achieve the total elimination of nuclear weapons.

Created By
Rebecca Irby


Created with images by geralt - "statue of liberty mushroom cloud atomic bomb" • TheDigitalArtist - "gas mask contamination contaminated" • geralt - "dollar currency money". Rest copyright of Rebecca Irby and/or PEAC Institute.