Countdown to “Liberation Day”

Aaron Tovish
5 min readApr 17, 2024

I hereby declare 6 August, 2045, “Liberation Day”! (You may have already guessed, roughly, what this is on about; I will spell it out in due course.)

Let’s count the days remaining: every four years is 1461 days. There are five four-year periods up to 17 April, 2044: 7,305 days, 365 more days get us to 2045. Plus April 14 more days, May 31, June 30, July 31, August 6. TOTAL: 7,779. So this is day 7,779; not much time is left!

I intend to live to be at least 100 years old, so I hope to join (most of) you in the Liberation Day actions/celebrations.

Let me ask you this: “If you knew a way of ending the nuclear threat to civilization, would you just carry on as usual, or would you swing into action?” (If you find it hard to answer that question, I suggest you read no further — i.e. “carry on as usual”.)

It so happens that my half-century of efforts to curb the nuclear threat have saddled me with the knowledge and experience to see a way forward to Liberation Day. I am “retired” but that does not excuse me from answering, for myself, the question I have posed to you.

Thus, I must “swing into action”; anything less would be a moral dereliction.

Like all organic things, this is going to start small, and relatively slowly. My life is not without its complications, and my financial means are limited (to say the least). I am currently based in Manila, but before the end of the year I will be settled again in Stockholm — the heart of the new NATO. (You will become used to my odd sense of humor.)

Before I launch into what I will be doing, let me say I am honored to have you along on this adventure. If at any point, you feel I am heading off on a tangent, or missing an opportunity, speak up! If you think you can assist in a practical way, by all means, pitch in.

In any ambitious endeavor, it is important to have a sharply defined goal. It should inspire and help to avoid “mission drift”. That’s the point of Liberation Day. On that fine day, thousands of nuclear “weapons” — all that remain — will be certifiably disabled in a globally coordinated exercise. (In the months that follow, their “fissionable” materials will be degraded to well below weapon-grade. More details later.)

Parallel to this logistical tour de force, there will be a global celebration featuring the splendid diversity of human civilization — a party to surpass all parties! You’re invited; in fact, you can help organize it!

When I worked for an international network of city mayors, Mayors for Peace, the goal we set for ourselves in 2004 was agreement on a treaty to abolish nuclear “weapons” by 2020, our 2020 Vision Campaign. (I was appointed the campaign’s International Director.) Some fellow activists thought “postponing” abolition for so long was too risky. We countered that rushing the world into abolition might mean the the nuclear “weapon” free world would not be established soundly enough, and the “weapons” might return with a vengeance. What was accomplished by 2020 is the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). What was not obtained is the agreement of the nuclear “weapon” states.

With a 21-year lead time, can we not only get agreement, but also complete universal disablement? I think so.

So, with Liberation Day as day zero, we begin the countdown today.

Today is easy: I’m writing this. Tomorrow: I am meeting with a newly-arrived Ambassador to the Philippines from a Latin American country. Friday, I’m preparing for the flight to Sweden with my wife, the Swedish Ambassador to the Philippines. I may miss a day or two during my travels, this one coming up as well as others in the future.

(Who am I, your geognosticator? I will try to make available through a URL my “CV” entitled “Accomplishments”. In the meantime, trust me, I know of what I speak.)

Let me wind up this Day 7,779 entry with a further word about cities and ending the nuclear threat. Some folks argue that nuclear weapons are the only things that stand between us and a world war (WWIII). Never mind that there have been and are many horrible wars since the advent of nuclear “weapons”. Would the elimination of the threat of nuclear annihilation unleash the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?

Well, it would prevent the unleasing of a nuclear holocaust, essentially all the Horsemen bundled into One. But clearly that’s cold comfort given the fulsomely demonstrated capacity to devastate cities by “conventional” means. Indeed, in WWII, dozens of cities experienced devastation on a par with Hiroshima and Nagasaki (H/N), via the “perfection” of firebombing. Like H/N, once ignited thoroughly, city-wide fires turn into firestorms, which burn a thousand degrees hotter than a normal fire.

On the way toward a nuclear “weapon” free world, warfare upon/within cities must be outlawed. While I was working for Mayors for Peace, we had the slogan, “Cities Are Not Target!!” We meant more than just nuclear targets. The current Mayor of Hiroshima, re-narrowed the focus to just H/N. The wider focus should be restored ASAP, if not by Mayors for Peace then by United Cities and Local Governments.

In this way, if, under nuclear abolition, there is a noticeable up-tick in warfare around the world, then at least its impact will be markedly decreased. PLUS (reminder): the danger of nuclear warfare would be over. Not a perfect situation, but definitely an improvement. (If you are doubtful, you need to do your homework on HEMP and nuclear winter.)

I have subjected you to many nuclear “weapons”; why, you might well ask, the quotation marks? Consider “draw and quartering”, a fairly popular means of capital punishment many centuries ago. If one were to propose reviving it today, one would find that many opponents would put quotation marks around “punishment”. It is a barbaric means of murder, banished from the realm of civil law, having more to do with torture than punishment.

So, too, nuclear explosions, they are a barbaric means of warfare and threatening to use them is terrorism pure and simple. A weapon is something that can be wielded with precision, and whose impact is tightly limited in time and space, lest noncombatants should fall victims. By this standard, they are NOT weapons, they are “inadmissible”. And so said the Group of Twenty’s Heads of Government in Bali (2022) and in Delhi (2023). The State Parties to the TPNW approved of this stance later in 2023.

When, on Liberation Day, we set these supposed weapons aside, we will begin living in a significantly more civilized world. Now that’s something to aim for; and to celebrate when achieved!

So all that remains for today is to click on the Publish button.

“A small step for man, a giant step for humanity.” — — Perhaps!