Circle 024: Inga Thorsson, Responses and Strategies for the Nuclear Age, 10th Anniversary Circle, April 22, 1982

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"Nothing else really matters." - Dr. Helen Caldicott

With these somber words as a backdrop, 300 members of the New England Circle gathered at the Parker House April 22nd for a reunion meeting on the most critical issue facing this or any other generation: nuclear war.

"The Last Epidemic," a chilling movie produced by Physicians for Social Responsibility, began the evening's thoughtful discussion with its vivid portrayal of how "unwinnable" nuclear war really is, and how foolish the notion that surviving a nuclear exchange would be desirable, were it even possible.

"There is indeed reason for much concern about the future of the world and its children," said guest speaker Inga Thorsson, Sweden's Under-Secretary of State for Disarmament. Arguing against linkage of general Soviet behavior to U.S. willingness to negotiate disarmament issues, Thorsson said that "because of the nature and possible effects of the ongoing arms race, arms control and disarmament is the predominant concern of this present generation of mankind. The perceived political interest of the two superpowers will have to give way to this overriding interest in avoiding common disaster."

Thorsson sees two gleams of hope in an otherwise grim picture: both superpowers run the risk of ruining their economies as they continue the arms race; the sharply awakening public awareness of the folly of continuing to stockpile nuclear weapons.

Panel members George Kistiaskowsky and Jim Rouse echoed the theme that governments need political pressure to behave differently. As Rouse put it, "We can change the world - and begin by changing this country."

By Gail Harris (Anchorperson, WBZ-TV 4, Boston, MA)