Reduce, eliminate, count down to zero

Countdown to Zero

A review by Nancy Eng MacNeill

Countdown150x221 I have always loved the phrase, “time goes by so fast.”  Countdown to Zero, has reminded me that I have lived my whole life under the threat that all living things (except for cockroaches, but we will not go there), could be destroyed with the push of a button. Quoting John F. Kennedy, "Every man, woman and child lives under a nuclear sword of Damocles, hanging by the slenderest of threads, capable of being cut at any moment by accident, or miscalculation, or by madness."

Countdown to Zero recalls specific moments in history telling the story of the unfolding evolution of splitting the atom. Marveled at as a scientific feat, the application created the most powerful weapon for any government or country. Just as global society began the race to get into space, country after country began put together the pieces to make nuclear warheads in order to claim and be acknowledged as being a nuclear power with nuclear capabilities. The recounting of a historic time line of events fills in the back story of history, things known and unknown, but never undersells the fact that world’s leaders knew the magnitude of a nuclear threat.

Countdown to Zero relays to the viewer that it is only a matter of time before an accident occurs and shifts the focus for the 20th century that nuclear capabilities have moved from its inception as a defensive weapon to a weapon of terror for the probable use to of annihilating a total culture of a people.  The film cites the ease in obtaining highly enriched uranium throughout the global and although tougher restrictions could be put in place, the most secure way to address the threat is for the global community to reduce and eliminate the stockpile of warheads and delivery vehicles as is called for by the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START). The Senate is expected to vote on ratification of START in September 2010. Countdown to Zero provides an opportunity to sign the new START Petition and the Global Zero Declaration.

As with any film there is criticism and critics focused on which countries were highlighted and which ones were not, what was said and what was left unsaid. Nonetheless, the bottom line is clear: it is only a matter of time when our youth and young adults, who have only seen the power and destruction of a mushroom cloud through cartoons, news reels or brief video clips, will feel the fear and terror of nuclear weapons in their lifetime. This is a film to remind those of us who remember, share the story to those who do not know and call upon the worlds governments and leaders to reduce and eliminate nuclear weapons, to Countdown to Zero.     

Check out where the film is showing.

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