Revised 06 August 2018.

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SURVIVING THE DAY AFTER

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In those days around September 22nd, 1962, I spent a long time with my ear glued to the radio expecting to be evaporated at any moment. My house in Asmara (Eritrea) was less than a couple of kilometers away from Kagnew Station, the most important strategic communication center of the American Armed Forces between the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans. These were the days of the Cuban Missile Crisis and nuclear war seemed inevitable; Kagnew Station, I thought, would have been a primary nuclear target. When, sometime in the mid 1980s' I first typed on an Amiga 1000 these pages, I was living in Vicenza, Palladio's home, and less than a kilometer away from the American Military Ederle Camp aware that Vicenza was a primary strategic nuclear target where not even a single cockroach would have survived in the event of a nuclear conflict. Beautiful Italy, all way down from north to south, houses several strategic targets which are surely mapped for at least a good megaton thermonuclear bomb. The clear indication that the Italian government is mostly made up of a group of imbeciles (I am Italian) is that instead of trying to diminish these threats and getting rid of foreign military presence on its soil it is increasing it. If Vicenza at the time was worth a megaton bomb with at least an additional one on its outskirts (Longare Base), a few years later it was worth one more with the new American Military Installation in its airport, viz., Dal Molin. The psychological pain of a nuclear holocaust probably was more felt in those years, prior to the fall of Berlin's Wall, however the threat is still lingering and something might get out of hands from those enlightened brains of the world's politico-military elite and plunge our beautiful planet in cinders, smoke, pestilence, death and, quite likely, a long nuclear winter.* With tens of thousand nuclear weapons, each ready for a planned target, writing something like "Surviving the Day After" is sheer nonsense since a limited nuclear exchange can hardly be envisioned while the deadly effects an all-out nuclear exchange would not spare any part of the planet. However, the data presented in this pamphlet is quite instructive; as such it might help to increase the number of anti-war lobbyists in a possibly doomed planet.
As I write these lines, today is the 73rd anniversary of the atomic blast over Hiroshima, on a planet with rampant misery and a failing ecosystem, uncountable billion-dollars have been gambled away by those mad MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) and deterrence insanities and uncertainties remain, even if great and smaller international crisis have been overcome leaving dormant tens of thousand fantastically more powerful "Little Boy" and "Fat Man". Should we be optimistic since they are everywhere and ready to be abruptly woken up at the push of a button? In their silos; cruising under the oceans inside nuclear submarines; aboard military fleets and in the sky on strategic bombers and, always on the alert! Worst of all, we still have all powerful paranoiac warmongers among us opposing disarmament and constantly seeking increased and more sophisticated armaments. Although the proclivity to use the bomb has been tamed they may still miscalculate or act wildly. This is the real danger.
 
 
* "... the long-term climatic effects of a major nuclear war are likely to be much severer and further-reaching than had been supposed. In the aftermath of such a war vast areas of the world could be subjected to prolonged darkness, abnormally low temperatures, violent windstorms, toxic smog and persistent radioactive fallout-in short, the combination of conditions that has come to be known as "nuclear winter." The physical effects of nuclear war would be compounded by the widespread breakdown of transportation systems, power grids, agricultural production, food processing, medical care, sanitation, civil services and central government. Even in regions far from the conflict the survivors would be imperiled by starvation, hypothermia, radiation sickness, weakening of the human immune system, epidemics and other dire consequences. Under some circumstance, a number of biologists and ecologists contend, the extinction of many species of organisms-including the human species, is a real possibility." (“The Climatic Effects of Nuclear War.” Richard P. Turco, Owen B. Toon, Thomas P. Ackerman, James B. Pollack and Carl Sagan. Scientific American, August 1984.)