Commentary. And what about Italy, with its Atlantic subservience and the presence of dozens of nuclear ordnance on its territory? Now it won’t be so easy to ignore activists’ demands as utopias and pipe dreams.

What Italy should learn from this year’s Nobel Peace Prize

The recognition of great work accomplished gives us a little hope, plus the excitement and satisfaction knowing the Nobel Peace Prize 2017 was awarded to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, or ICAN.

The award for the campaign, represented in Italy by the Italian Disarmament Network and Senzatomica, which honors the work of hundreds of large and small associations around the world, therefore strongly emphasizes the importance of the commitment of the international civil society in the push for disarmament.

The Nobel Prize has a great political significance. It not only celebrates a result already achieved but gives a strong signal about the steps to follow. While on the one hand, it is clear that the historic, majority vote at the U.N. and the proclamation of a ban on nuclear weapons last year gave a strong and concrete motivation to the Nobel Committee for this assignment, on the other hand, the international political situation tells us that much work has yet to be done.

This has been a year of turmoil, from North Korea to Trump’s wish to cancel the nuclear deal with Iran, causing the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists to set the Doomsday Clock a little closer to midnight. Nuclear warfare would not be sustainable for anyone under any circumstances: That’s why these weapons are so inhumane and present such a great humanitarian crisis.

So the Norwegian Nobel Committee has dedicated its prize as a wakeup call to nuclear powers and the countries under their umbrella (including Italy, which houses between 40 and 50 U.S. nuclear warheads). We are faced with a declarative notice that if we want to achieve real and concrete nuclear disarmament, it is necessary to take courageous steps and not to be entangled in the innuendos and incremental (and inconclusive) diplomatic movements.

And it is not necessary to submit to the dictates of NATO, which issued a stern note in opposition to a treaty that has had the great value of restarting the nuclear disarmament initiative, stalled for many decades.

And what about Italy, with its Atlantic subservience and the presence of dozens of nuclear ordnance on its territory? Of course, the wakeup call is also to our government, which, despite pressure from civil society, never wanted to get involved in a virtue contest. Now it won’t be so easy to ignore activists’ demands as utopias and pipe dreams. A Nobel medal testifies to the great importance of their efforts and appeals to the responsibility of rulers who should think about the future and the security of their people (impossible with 15,000 nuclear warheads in the world!) and to elevate to international level what is surely the will of most Italians.

To believe that nuclear disarmament can only be reached by small steps from the large powers is an unrealistic illusion. And even more so with the new course Trump has set, abandoning the narrow verbal openings Obama created.

On the contrary, the most concrete way for real nuclear disarmament is a shared path for an international ban, which should be prioritized by Italy, maybe even within the European community. If nuclear disarmament is really a political goal of our government, as declared many times but denied by the facts and votes in parliament, it would be good to see more than just words. Because the positive forces of the world, as the Nobel Prize demonstrated Friday, are moving in the other direction. This is why the Disarmament and Senzatomica Network will continue in their action: “Italy, Think Again!”

The Italian campaigns have a double satisfaction because ICAN’s first “international appearance” after the Nobel Prize will be Tuesday in Rome to receive the Golden Dove peace prize.  The award of this prize was announced a few weeks ago, a happy preamble to the Oslo announcement. The Nobel Peace Prize is a bridge toward the future thanks to the positive energy of international civil society working for humanitarian disarmament.

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