Centre for Bangladesh Studies – Voice of Peace

ICAN– International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapon has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize-2017. An organisation, largely run by youth volunteers, Center for Bangladesh Studies as a campaign partner to ICAN also has some claim to this global recognition. New Age Youth talks to their volunteers-Zakaria Hossain Onimesh and Mohymeen Layes – about their political goal and commitment to abolish nuclear weapon.

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New Age: What are the political and ideological reasons behind your opposition to nuclear weapon?

Centre for Bangladesh Studies: It is only very recently anti nuclear weapon movement has managed to establish a strong voice. There is not much conversation on this serious issue in Bangladesh. These very weapons are a threat to the world peace, to the entire humanity. This weapon system has the ability to obliterate the entire mankind from the face of this earth. We campaign to abolish all nuclear weapons, thus creating a more balanced world where peace could prevail.

NA: How did you get involved in this international campaign?

CBS: As you know, Center for Bangladesh Studies is a research organisation based on voluntary work. They have supported and started working as a volunteer for ICAN – International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapon. Many youths are associated with CBS, thus we are working in an anti-nuclear weapon initiative. Also, this very initiative goes hand in hand with our ideology, which is why we volunteered for this programme.

NA: How do you think your work is relevant for our country?

CBS: Bangladesh is nearing to start the construction of Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant, which makes it a concern of CBS. As a country with apparently poor infrastructure and questionable technological skills, Rooppur might not be a feasible option for our country. We have seen Fukushima, the disaster it has created. Even a technologically sound country like Japan was not able to tame the unleashed horror there, how do we think we will perform?

NA: As a country trapped between two nuclear-weapon wielding neighbours, how can you relate your volunteer work with our geopolitical reality?

CBS: To be honest, this is a great concern for our country, given the current political and diplomatic relations between India and Pakistan. Being a small country with unequal political leverage stuck between two nuclear-weapon giants, we are the first to be vanished should these two engage in any kinds of nuclear-warfare. However, use of those weapons in a real war field might not be the wisest options for either of them given the population density of this part of the world.

NA: How do you see this notion of modern destructive weaponry, including the devastating nuclear ones?

CBS: Well, in the very core of this weapon-wielding philosophy lurks sheer male-chauvinism, patriarchy. The intense need to show the muscle power, control everything through that power leads back to that patriarchal mentality. Nuclear weapon is just a new addition in that arsenal, just a new invention to kill more people effectively and efficiently. So the whole notion of modern weapon is nothing but a brutal legacy of patriarchy.

NA: Although, nuclear weapons have profound impact in consolidating the globally powerful, imperial states, it has not been used as often. In fact, it was only used twice in history. So, why do you think your initiatives are important?

CBS: Due to the concentration of the nuclear weapon, several countries have emerged as superpowers — accumulating most of the power under their belt. As a result, a concentrated world power has been developed. The abolishment of nuclear weapon is extremely important to break this vicious cycle to destabilise this global power structure. At this very moment, the western superpowers are interfering into North Korea or Iran’s alleged nuclear-weapon projects; the influence of the turmoil is reflected on international politics.

NA: Why are you standing against nuclear weapon when there are many other mass-destructive weapons still at large?

CBS: Nuclear weapons work in a slightly different way than conventional weapons. The devastating effects of nuclear weapons prevail in the nature much longer than regular weapons. Also the scale is very different with nuclear weapon. Even after half a century later, disable children are being born in Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Their cultural, political, economical, social, ecological — overall system has been ruptured in an unchangeable way. Nuclear weapons scratch way deeper than the surface. It plants misery and turmoil into the very soul of cultural, ecology and human life and the impact continues for generations.

NA: Given a successful operation of the Rooppur nuclear project, will the government consider adding nuclear weapons to our military arsenal?  

CBS: We certainly don’t think so. Firstly, we don’t think Bangladesh, at this moment, does not have the capability to pull off such a technologically advanced project. Even if it manages to do so properly, adding nuclear weapon to our arsenal is too far-fetched of a question at this political moment.

NA: What is the response of your campaign in Bangladesh?

CBS: We would like to thank Bangladesh government in this regard. Last month, at a New York conference, the government has signed a nuclear disarmament treaty outlawing nuclear weapon in. We have already published a book concerning the abolition of nuclear powered weapons. We are working to create awareness in among youth about the serious effects of nuclear weapon as well as nuclear power projects.

NA: Would you like to share your philosophy of work with us?

CBS: We are putting our time and talent in order to make a better world for the next generation. We want a world without any discrimination — political, economical, religious or racial. We are creating awareness to build a society where power-wielding will not be appreciated, where human being will wield knowledge and wisdom, instead of nuclear or even any weapon.

NA: As you have said earlier, countries with nuclear weapon are the super powers. Do you think abolishing their nuclear weapons might create an imbalance in the current political order, thereby; disarming those states of their nuclear weapon would also disempower them from flexing imperial power on others and wage unjust wars?

CBS: What you have just said is true; abolishing nuclear weapons will loosen the grip of these superpowers on their opponent countries. A chaos will be launched, and from that chaos, peace will emerge as the Phoenix bird. From that turmoil and chaos will emerge a new balance; a new world order will appear where no one will live under the threat of a nuclear annihilation. That very chaos will bring order to the nature and lives of human beings. At least, we hope so.

NA: Thank you.

On behalf of New Age Youth Nahid Riyasad has taken the interview with CBS volunteers.          


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