Kazakh anti-nuke protest song revived

November 17. Central Asia Newswire

181110-news-kazakh-anti-nuke-protest-song-revivedA Japanese anti-nuclear group has revived a protest song originally sung by Soviet era activists in Kazakhstan against nuclear testing.

The Japanese peace group based in Hiroshima, the city that was destroyed by a U.S. nuclear bomb in World War II, is selling a CD with Japanese- and English-language versions of the song to help bolster the movement to ban nuclear weapons globally.

The song “Zaman-ai – Oh Such Times” sung around 1989, shortly before the Soviet Union disintegrated, became known throughout the empire as a protest against nuclear testing in Kazakhstan.

Soviet nuclear scientists conducted some 470 underground and aerial nuclear test explosions from 1949 to 1990 at the Semipalatinsk Test Site in the northeast part of the Soviet republic, resulting in around 1.5 million people in the area being inflicted by physical deformities or psychological illnesses from exposure to radiation.

The head of the Hiroshima Semipalatinsk Project protest group, Keiichi Sasaki, said he hopes the CD will encourage solidarity among nuclear weapons abolitionists worldwide, the Japan Times reported Wednesday.

A singer named Tomoko performs both versions of the song, while the CD also includes an original Kazakh soundtrack.

“I expressed my wish for there to be no more victims of nuclear arms,” the news agency cited the singer as saying.

“Struck by exploding light, stabbed by sharp rays, assailed by fierce blasts, our hearts are splintered into myriad shards,” read the lyrics, describing testimonies of people who witnessed the explosions.

The CD released last Thursday is priced at $12, Japan Times said.

Semipalatinsk was closed down in 1991, the year Kazakhstan became independent.