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Bernard Lown's Message
PSR was born in my home in Newton Mass in 1961. Except for
myself, the doctor activists were all in their twenties. We undertook the herculean task to educate a
cowed, terrified public on the medical consequences of nuclear war. We
addressed the incomprehensible. Our voices made a difference. The public
listened. The most enduring memory of that bygone age was the prodigious
energies, the penetrating intelligence and the unswerving commitment of this
Twenty years later the lessons learned, enabled us to
organize a global movement. At the time
the arsenals of the two superpowers were stockpiled with obscene nuclear
overkill. The world came close to extinction.
The IPPNW was unprecedented in its growth and global impact. We contributed to a profound historic transformation,
none too soon, and helped stop a gallop toward the brink.
Perhaps the most important
lesson to be drawn from our antinuclear campaign is a sense of hard-headed
optimism. For the physician whose role is to affirm life, optimism is a
medical imperative. Our movement's history lends sanction to this view. Against
overwhelming odds, a small cadre of passionately committed physicians roused
multitudes. This would not have been possible without the numerous student
activists who because they were unfazed by the impossible achieved the
seemingly unattainable. The world needs
your commitment. Your life as health professionals will be fulfilled by
responding without equivocation.
Bernard Lown, MD