Saturday, January 16, 2010

Give Me One Minute More

Amidst all the horrific news of Haiti’s earthquake this week was the heartening report that the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists moved their official Doomsday Clock back one minute. According to Global Security Newswire, the infamous Doomsday Clock “is meant to symbolize humankind’s flirtation with Armageddon” and that “moving its hand away from midnight indicates the world has taken positive steps toward nuclear disarmament.”

In 1945, the Bulletin was first formed by the Manhattan Project physicists who were troubled by the “the destructive powers of nuclear weapons.” In 1947, the Doomsday Clock was created and the minute hand set at 7 minutes to midnight. Scientists cite our sitting on the cusp of nuclear annihilation based on our “nuclear proliferation and climate change.”
During the Bush years, the Doomsday Clock ticked closer to midnight at 5 minutes, the worst rating since its creation in 1947. According to the Christian Science Monitor, the Atomic Scientists worried in 2007 that “the world stands at the brink of a second nuclear age” as “the U.S. and Russia remain ready to stage a nuclear attack within minutes.”
When the Atomic Scientists moved the Doomsday minute hand back this week I found myself whistling the Mans Zelmerlow song “Give me one minute more.”

I just want one minute more

Just want one minute more

I just want one minute more

Of love

As we enter a new decade, there is some cause for optimism as those in the arms community note that President Obama and Russia have promised nuclear cutbacks in our dangerous arsenals. And more nations, including the U.S., are committed to taking significant steps to face climate change. It is not just about the environmental conservation; it is about the future security of all life here on earth.

Or, as my brother, who works in the military says, “Maybe climate change is the real terrorism and the biggest threat to our national security.” According to him, the military have been seriously studying climate change and future scenarios for survival.” He was the first to point me to the work of General Zinni, a visionary in studying military threats from global warming.
Of course there are those who see doomsday as edging ever nearer with each earthquake like that in Haiti or tsunami; they interpret every report of catastrophe as a sure sign that our world is on the brink of End Times. And that Armageddon is upon us – no matter that the Doomsday clock has just been turned back.
As a writer, I always pay attention to words and their double meanings. It’s interesting to me that the word Armageddon has the root word “arm,” which also calls to mind “arming” a nation or the nuclear “arms” race. Then there is the “hand” of the Doomsday Clock, or the “hand of God,” to biblical true believers.

Humans reach out their arms and their hands to manipulate matter, to defend, to attack, or to embrace. In turning back the hands of the Doomsday clock and in lending our hand to help in this Haitian earthquake -- the whole world is now reaching to aid a nation’s healing. This earthquake is not a sign of doomsday or Armageddon; it is an opportunity to use our arms to support and hold steady a nation and a people who have been shaken to their core.
Follow up: 
Global Security Newswire (NTP)
Christian Science Monitor
General Zinni

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