Thoughts, Reflections and Feelings:
Japan Peace March against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs 2015 (Tokyo-Kanagawa Experience)
Valtimore B. Fenis – Mindanao Peoples’ Peace Movement (MPPM), Mindanao, Philippines
Greetings of Peace!
First, thank you for the opportunity to experience the challenge. Physically at first it’s quite difficult but after two days, my body is in motion with the march. Emotionally, to be true it is heavy since I have to go now and do not know yet when the time that we will meet again is, but we have the technology, we can use it. I am very much inspired of this experience.
To the organizers -Japan Council against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs and the rest of partner organizations (Consumers Cooperative Society and the Hibakushas) and all of the marchers, my Salute to you all.
Marching for Humanity
I was notified by my organization, the Mindanao Peoples Peace Movement to be our official representative to the Japan Peace March against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs that at first made me hesitant to accept. The challenge is to March in a place that for a long time I considered not friendly for the developing countries like the Philippines and knowing that Japanese investors are mining and hauling our mountains. But then, the challenge is to engage the mass movement and the peoples in Japan that are also the same with us in Mindanao particularly, that have been longing and working for Peace and peoples’ empowerment.
I have conquered the challenge of going through immigration and yes, came in safely to Japan and directly went to Gensuikyo office in Tokyo meeting staffs that were also just arrived from a successful action in New York during the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review in New York submitting Japanese citizen’s intention to totally ban nuclear weapons.
The day after, the March began. And I am convinced after my research and some conversations with a few – we are in this together for Humanity, we are in this for Peace. We are marching to tell the world that we have to work together and face the challenge against the powers promoting wars and divisions.
I witnessed the enthusiasm of the marchers from Tokyo to Kanagawa Prefecture – from children, youth, persons with disabilities, elderlies, women, workers organizations, small entrepreneurs, cooperatives and most specially to the nuclear sufferers. Such spirit as hot as the sun is inspiring and I will forever treasure this experience.
Peace March is one of the best contributions of the peoples’ movement started by themselves since 1958 pointing against a dominant force. Yes, a peoples’ movement.
Hibakushas Inspiring and Challenging the World
I heard many stories along the march and also met the Hibakushas (nuclear sufferers). They tell their stories and the horror of the 1945 Atomic Bombing in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I do not feel comfortable listening to them. It hurts and cannot afford of hearing those. The lines like “give me back my parents, give me back my grandparents, give me back my family; I am old now but I will offer my life for the abolition of nuclear weapon; that was a sunny day and suddenly a spark of light and explosion shut the whole place down;” and more, put me in tears and I felt heavy inside me.
But I am very proud of them moving forward and are in the forefront of the march and of the campaign. They are the living testimonies why Atomic and Hydrogen bombs must be banned.
Despite of their tragic experience and being old now, they tirelessly educate the public and even challenged us all to be united and work harder. You cannot see in their eyes and body that they are tired (literally and in spirit), and they plea again and again that “There shall be no more Hibakushas”.
Every day I am looking forward of seeing children and young people joining the march. This is because I believe that, a movement without young bloods is a dying movement.
The peace march recruited more than many young people and children and I am very much happy with it. As I mentioned in my speech circulating since the start of the march, that I am marching for my daughter and we are marching for them. We have to involve them.
Along the streets seeing kids and young people waving and wishing us luck and strength are proof that they understood what we are doing and in any ways and means they can be recruited in this movement. Yes, a challenge on how to engage them is quiet challenging but we have to engage them. Ways are just around the corner. It is important to let them hear the stories of the Hibakushas, so among themselves they can create efforts complimentary to ours.
And I believe (I hope you would agree), that we are doing this not for our days on earth but for the generations to come. This is for them. This is our responsibility and moral obligation to our children.
Making History as the Marching Order
We have read and heard the tragic history. Anywhere in the world, wars and bombings only brought disasters, displacements, damages, lost of lives and dreams and weeping relatives. We are told by our history to act not later than today. In us are the obligations to make that history not to happen again.
This is all about the dominant ideology ruling the world for the past centuries making war and dominance as its mechanisms to remain in control regionally or globally. On the other hand in many countries, conscious peoples’ and social movements have proved that it can make a difference – it can turn the situation upside down favoring the mass populations.
We have to defend that future against the oppressive and exploitative powers willing to kill civilizations to maintain world dominance. We cannot expect governments lead by neo-liberal advocates and right conservatives to stand and work for the peoples and the masses. We only have ourselves, our unity and our solidarity as our strength. Let us all make our voices as a force to dismantle the monopolist and killer world system.
Strengthening the Solidarity and Interconnectedness of Struggles
This is not to say good bye but an opportunity to work together in our common struggles – to fight with the Common people for the common good.
Your fight against nuclear weapon and against foreign military bases and other democratic struggles for the people is our struggle too. Our efforts for sustainable development and justpeace for our communities are our contribution to the world’s fight for peace and climate justice. We cannot separate humanity, peace and climate.
While speaking in front of a foreign military base somehow sent our message that we don’t need arms and war. What we need is solidarity and the real essence of friendship and partnership. We have to tell them squarely that we don’t like their policies imposed upon us.
Our task is to be united and to forge strong solidarity in various struggles making humanity and environment at the core of the advances we are doing and to be done.
We are many but we have to invite more and if the common citizens around the world would come together in different struggles, we can break the walls of power and let us all build a world free from exploitation, discrimination and domination. You have done much and we have to do more.
One more important task is, for us to connect all of these struggles and collectively advance forward. Anti-nuclear weapons and anti-war struggles must always be looked in the comprehensive lens making women, youth, environment, indigenous peoples, workers and other social democratic struggles to be linked to and vice-versa. All of these are interrelated and we social forces must also be working together.
From Mindanao Peoples’ Peace Movement, please accept our Solidarity and gratitude. We can always make difference with the grass-roots peoples and communities with us.
The Sun is Here and We Shall Overcome
Lastly, I believe that the Sun is Here – in our struggles, in our collective efforts and We Shall Overcome, Someday. We cannot rely from others to bring us victory, except our own strengths – that is our collective and conscious actions.
Victory will always come to those who never stopped making their dreams come true and critically view eventualities for appropriate actions.
I am sorry, I cannot mention you one by one to give thanks, but I felt honored and privileged marching with you! And to the patient translators, a big thumb ups to you all. To all of those who facilitated my needs, thank you too.
And yes, Japanese citizens especially those whom I marched with are not what I thought of Japan as an oppressive country. It only happens that the world system dominating us today is unfriendly with us – people.
To Yuko Matunaga-san, a mother figure to me in Japan; Itsuro Yamaguchi-san, an inspiration for his tirelessness; Kazunarri Harai-san, as a brother to pursue more the struggle ahead and to the through marchers, drivers, in-charge in the logistics, artists and everyone, thank you very much!
To Mindanao Peoples’ Peace Movement, let us push more as a peoples’ and grass-roots movement. Thank You!
For the continuing marchers, ROCK THE ROAD!
By the way, the name of my daughter is SITTIE MARXYLENN OMELIO FENIS and Mindanao is located South of the Philippines.
19 May 2015
Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan