It Starts With You
By Andreas Toupadakis

The world's war and peace situation will never be addressed as long as the major powers continue to hold on to their weapons of mass destruction. Inspectors are not needed in countries like the U.S., Britain, France, Russia, and China in order for the world to know that they already possess these offensive and criminal nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and long-range missiles. Yet children in those countries are not dying from sanctions or bombing. Why is it a crime for Iraq and other nations to seek these weapons but not for the so-called "great powers"? But as someone once said, the world knows that they fail to match power with responsibility and have licensed themselves to be shepherds who prey on their sheep. We cannot grasp the fact that while most American, English, French, Russian and Chinese children enjoy their playgrounds in safety, children in other nations are mutilated and killed by American and English bombs and mines.

Permanent members (U.S., Britain, France, Russia, and China) of the security council are promising security to the world while their arsenals posses such destructive power that it is enough to destroy, even by mistake, what they claim to secure. Would it not be wise for the people of a planet tormented by fear and greed make a Security Council for themselves made up of countries that do not posses weapons of mass destruction? And would it not be wise for that Security Council to be a group of countries that represent all religions? Would a mature humanity still talk about crusades and holy wars? How objective could a world security council be when four out of five of its members are Christian nations? Would Pakistan, a Muslim country, be a permanent member of the Security Council if it had 6,000 nuclear bombs?

If today's authorities in every country were honest enough to entertain these thoughts, perhaps the world could be saved from the coming omnicide. But in reality, the politicians or the soldiers cannot save the world, only the ordinary peoples. Only when the people heal their fears and greed and give their extra money to relieve their neighbors, will omnicide be avoided. They will have to abandon the idea of stocks and giving their money away without knowing who will finally get it and what they will do with it. If people cannot do that, then it seems like they will run to the caves soon. Their leaders will not be able to save them. They will realize that all writings and talks were in vain because they did not accept and practice the truth that "your brother is the same as you". Probably the very few who will survive will learn to share in the caves, and they will learn that we are all one.

In matters of conscience, numbers are meaningless. If we do not care for the beggar at our doorstep, we will not care for the thousands of people dying everyday in our world in agonizing death inflicted by our tax money. Only if we unconditionally care for our friends and family will we care for the suffering of the people on the other side of the globe. We need to start where we are. How many people practice the exhortation "if you have two, give one to the one who has none?" If we know the answer, then we know the future. Do not judge this message as religious, atheist, political or propaganda. Just try to practice what you know is the only way to have peace on earth. You might say "But there is no hope because there is too much ignorance around ready to destroy life." That might be true, but do it anyway because that is our duty and that is the way we find true happiness and meaning in life. Socrates said: "An unexamined life is not worth living." How does the abolition of these terrible weapons start? IT STARTS WITH YOU.

Andreas Toupadakis, Ph.D.
Former Scientist of Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore National Labs
Andreas Notebook


BIOGRAPHY

Dr. Andreas Toupadakis has spoken about peace and the urgent need for nuclear disarmament at the United Nations as well as numerous colleges, universities, and other venues in the US, Japan, and Greece. He was a featured speaker at the 2000 World Conference on Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, and he has been the recipient of numerous peace and justice awards. The City of Berkeley adopted a resolution honoring him for the courage and personal sacrifice he displayed in leaving his job at Lawrence Livermore Laboratories.

He resigned dramatically from Lawrence Livermore Lab and his $91,000 salary in January 2000 when he discovered they were using the results of his environmental work in the Stockpile Stewardship Program to illegally maintain and develop new nuclear weapons with increased destructive power. He blew the whistle and joined the peace movement, saying that his conscience would not allow him to work for such a cause. He instantly became an outspoken advocate for peace, and especially for immediate unilateral nuclear disarmament.

He is a native of Greece with a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He has taught chemistry at colleges and universities in the US and Greece, and he worked as a chemist in industry as well as at Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories. He has a wife and two daughters. He believes deeply in non-violence, and he revels in the teachings of such varied figures as Gandhi, Plato, Socrates and Einstein. He is currently writing his first book on life planning through wise career choice and on career change, and while he is visiting USA, he is giving lectures and seminars on peace and career satisfaction across U.S. campuses.


AUTOBIOGRAPHY

I was born in Greece on the beautiful island of Crete, in Rethymno, and I received my primary education while living in the mountainous village of Argiroupoli near the coast. To get an idea of how I lived the first eight years of my life, you can read a little story I wrote about it, which I think you will like at: http://www.swans.com/library/art7/atoup005.html

After receiving my B.S. from the Aristotelian University in Thessaloniki, I began graduate school in the U.S. I received my Ph.D. degree in chemistry from the University of Michigan in 1990, and I have lived in the U.S. for more than 20 years. I did research as a chemist in industry, academia, and two U.S. national laboratories. I also taught at several colleges and universities in the USA and in Greece.

My resignation from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory on January 31, 2000 received media coverage in many places, especially in the U.S., Japan, and Greece. In protest, I followed my conscience and resigned from a high-salaried permanent position rather than devote my knowledge and energy to the further development of nuclear weapons. Since then, I have been speaking on peace, environmental issues, and wise career choice and career change at universities, colleges, and various conferences.

I spoke at the 2000 World Conference against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and I saw first hand what most of us do not realize about nuclear weapons. I cried. When will our leaders cry? If you are interested in what I am trying to say to people about our future you can read some of my articles at Andreas Notebook

I often remind people of Gandhi's words, "Be the change you want to see in the world;" of Plato's words, "Science without virtue is immoral;" and of Socrates'words, "Know yourself."

"It is better to light a candle
than to curse the darkness."
-- Chinese proverb --

"I myself would wish neither;
but if it were necessary
either to do wrong or to suffer it,
I should choose to suffer
rather than to do wrong."
-- Socrates --




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