Last week, over a hundred and fifty activists in India and Pakistan took part in a photo campaign to call on world leaders to never use nuclear weapons. From New Delhi to Islamabad, Bangalore to Karachi, Amritsar to Lahore, Global Zero volunteers took photos saying “Don’t Nuke Us, PM Sharif and Don’t Nuke Us, PM Modi” with the hashtag #NoRedButton. This powerful action comes at a time when both countries have been on the brink of war after the Uri attacks, and nuclear weapons have been threatened to be used.
The photo action seeks to build regional solidarity in the face of war and to work to eliminate nuclear weapons forever. As long as we live in an undemocratic system that gives one person absolute control over mass destruction, we can never be safe. The consolidation of power into the hands of so few dramatically raises the threat of a nuclear war- whether by deliberate intent, by miscalculation, or by accident. We must demand our leaders say No to the Red Button.
9 world leaders across the world have the power to kill thousands of people at a moment’s notice with the push of a button – immediately launching a nuclear strike. Prime Minister Modi in India and Prime Minister Sharif in Pakistan similarly control the fate of over 200 nuclear warheads collectively.
A nuclear war between India and Pakistan would produce so much smoke that global temperatures would fall below those of the last Ice Age, threatening the global food supply. One “average” nuke dropped on a major city would vaporize everything within 1.6 km, and kill 12 lakh people in the first 24 hours, with significantly more deaths from radiation exposure and injuries in the following weeks.
Increasing diplomatic and military tension between India and Pakistan increases the likelihood of global nuclear catastrophe. PM Modi and PM Sharif’s fingers on the proverbial red button threaten the fate of not just these two nations, but of the world.
Global Zero’s No Red Button campaign targets the fear at the very heart of the nuclear threat. The fear that one person could press one of the nine red buttons that exist and destroy the world as we know it. History is proof of human fallibility. As long as these red buttons exist, we are not safe.