CTB CLEARINGHOUSE PROPOSAL
The Bell Toll Project
Commemorating the end of nuclear weapons testing
As 1996 begins, a momentous achievement is within reach: a
worldwide ban on nuclear weapons testing. The completion of a
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, if achieved, will be the
culmination of a decades-long struggle by the international peace
and disarmament community. It is up to that community to define
that victory in its own terms, not the terms of the politicians
who have been dragged reluctantly to the negotiating table. The
signing of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty will present
non-governmental organizations with a once-in-a-lifetime
opportunity to present our message to the world. It is not
enough, although it is certainly critical, to pat ourselves on
the back for a tireless and now ultimately successful struggle.
Instead, the international activist community must use this
historic opportunity as a springboard for a renewed push toward
the complete abolition of nuclear weapons.
The CTB Clearinghouse proposes an international bell-tolling on
the day the test ban is signed to mark the overwhelming
environmental, political, and economic damage that nuclear
testing has wrought on the planet and to announce a new call for
total nuclear disarmament. The CTB Clearinghouse urges churches,
shrines, and other appropriate institutions to ring their bells
51 times to mark 51 years of nuclear testing. This bell-tolling
should draw attention to r-he emerging nuclear abolition
campaign. It should be accompanied by a single statement, read
worldwide, that celebrates the end of nuclear testing and calls
for a world without nuclear weapons.
The United Nations has called on the Geneva Conference on
Disarmament to produce a completed test ban, ready for signature,
by the time the United Nations General Assembly reconvenes in
September 1996. Most countries agree that in order to meet that
goal negotiators must approve a final treaty text by June. This
is the stated position of the Clinton administration. The CTB
Clearinghouse proposes that grassroots activists begin laying the
groundwork for a September bell-tolling as soon as the test ban
is reported out of Geneva. Every church should be invited to
participate, but the Clearinghouse urges activists to organize a
press event to coincide with the signing ceremony at the most
historic or otherwise notable bell tower in their town.
"The world's nuclear weapons have been tested in over 2000
explosions at more than 20 locations around the globe. Their
deadly efficacy is all too clear.
"Now, here in this body, the workings of another way of
resolving humanity's disagreements are on trial. Now it is we who
are being tested.
"We dare not fail. Our success will ring through the ages."
John Holum, Director of the US Arms Control and Disarmament
Agency, to the Geneva Conference on Disarmament at the opening of
the 1996 round of Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty
negotiations, January 23, 1996.
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