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“The man who saved the world” 32 years ago. Jeremy is right.

Jeremy Corbyn, long standing antinuclear campaigner and Member of the UK Parliament, now Leader of the Labour Party,  answered in an interview that he would not press the Red Button. It unleashed a storm inside and outside his party, he was called “unhelpful” and his credentials to be in charge of the security of the nation put in doubt.  He would not start a nuclear holocaust, and neither did Stanislaw Petrov in 1983 when a malfuncion of the Missile warning system seemed to suggest Russia was experiencing a nuclear attack from the US.

Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov,  born 1939 in Odessa, Ukraine, is a retired lieutenant colonel of the Soviet Air Defence Forces. On September 26, 1983, just three weeks after the Soviet military had shot down Korean Air Lines Flight 007, Petrov was the duty officer at the command center for the Oko nuclear early-warning system when the system reported that a missile, followed by another one and another up to five, were being launched from the United States. Petrov judged the report to be a false alarm, and his decision is credited with having prevented an erroneous retaliatory nuclear attack on the United States and its NATO allies that could have resulted in large-scale nuclear war. Investigation later confirmed that the satellite warning system had indeed malfunctioned.

… Awards and commendations

On May 21, 2004, the San Francisco-based Association of World Citizens gave Petrov its World Citizen Award along with a trophy and $1000 “in recognition of the part he played in averting a catastrophe.”

In January 2006, Petrov traveled to the United States where he was honored in a meeting at the United Nations in New York City. There the Association of World Citizens presented Petrov with a second special World Citizen Award.[15] The next day, Petrov met American journalist Walter Cronkite at his CBS office in New York City.

That interview, in addition to other highlights of Petrov’s trip to the United States, were filmed for The Man Who Saved the World, a narrative feature and documentary film, directed by Danish director Peter Anthony, which premiered in October 2014 at the Woodstock Film Festival in Woodstock, New York, winning “Honorable Mention: Audience Award Winner for Best Narrative Feature” and “Honorable Mention: James Lyons Award for Best Editing of a Narrative Feature.”

For his actions in averting a potential nuclear war in 1983, Petrov was awarded the Dresden Preis 2013(Dresden Prize) in Dresden, Germany, on February 17, 2013. The award included €25,000 ($32,000; £21,000). On February 24, 2012, he was honored with the 2011 German Media Award, presented to him at a ceremony in Baden-Baden, Germany…

…Petrov has said he does not know that he should regard himself as a hero for what he did that day. In an interview for the film The Man Who Saved the World, Petrov says, “All that happened didn’t matter to me — it was my job. I was simply doing my job, and I was the right person at the right time, that’s all. My late wife for 10 years knew nothing about it. ‘So what did you do?’ she asked me. ‘Nothing. I did nothing.'” (Wikipedia)

Nuclear weapons are unusable, unaffordable and immoral. They have no place in a civilised world. They are completely unable to differentiate civilans from army personnel and structures. Their only role is to fill the pockets of contractors and bully for power in the international arena producing a false sense of security in some members of the population.

There are many episodes and near misses that show that we are much more likely to experience a massive nuclear war due to accidents and malfunctions than for political reasons. Even in the event of nuclear terrorism launching an attack on any state would be unthinkable and nuclear proliferation makes the likelyhood of terrorists getting hold of radioactive material more, not less, likely.

On International Nonviolence Day the drive for total nuclear disarmament should be the only position worth holding for a humanised world.