Facing the Unthinkable

Program 218 • 29 mins


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The nuclear age remains a fundamental fact of our lives, even if its apocalyptic potential can seem too frightening to think about. But that’s the very barrier to addressing and reducing the risk, according to physician Ira Helfand. He’s a long-time emergency room doctor, now retired, in Western Massachusetts and he’s devoted many years to preventing the greatest emergency imaginable: nuclear warfare. Dr. Helfand is immediate past president of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. He  warns that we simply must face up to this terrible specter, and take the leap to prohibit these weapons of mass destruction.

You know, you look outside on a beautiful day, and you don’t want to think of everything you’re looking at in flames, everyone you know dying, everything you’ve inherited from your parents, and their parents being destroyed, the future of your children being destroyed. This is very tough stuff to think about, but it is the truth, and that’s the problem. We somehow have to make ourselves confront this terribly painful reality that if we do not get rid of these nuclear weapons, this is going to happen.”

—Ira Helfand, Co-president of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War


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