New York City’s new video warning about nuclear war is stirring controversy
PeaceQuest Cape Breton’s Sean Howard shares with us astonishing news from New York City that the mayor’s office has released a new video warning Big Apple residents about nuclear war. And it’s generating some controversy from unlikely places.
The video is a modern take on the old “duck and cover” films shown to school kids back in the 1950s at the height of the Cold War with the Soviet Union (now the Russian Federation).
“So there’s been a nuclear attack. Don’t ask me how or why, just know that the Big One has hit. OK? So, what do we do? There are three important steps that I want you to remember…,” says the video’s narrator.
“The PSA [public service announcement] is well-produced, set in a spacious apartment and soothingly narrated by a charming young woman, sounding rather like a schoolteacher mildly concerned about bee-stings on an upcoming class picnic,” writes Howard.
While its disquieting that New York needs to warn people about nuclear war, some feel that the video is not telling people the truth about the horrible impacts of a nuclear explosion, from which there is little defence.
Experts fear it is repeating the mistakes of the past, when “civil defence” commercials and leaflets told people how to build atomic bomb bunkers and store food and water, while fires and radiation ravaged the planet.
“Like so much ‘civil defense advice’—as nuclear expert Dr. Jeffrey Lewis promptly tweeted—it is ‘designed’ to serve a cynical purpose: ‘to make people feel better without really leveling with them,’” says Howard.
Mayor Eric Adams responds, “I’m a big believer in ‘Better safe than sorry,’” and that the very proactive step was justified by public concern over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Howard’s essay this week also looks at developments at the United Nations where counties are reviewing the state of the most famous disarmament treaty, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, or NPT.
- Read “Mixed Progress on Banning ‘The Big One’” by Sean Howard, published August 10, 2022 by the Cape Breton Spectator.