Monday, April 25, 2011

Could You?

The A-Bomb Dome
So today is the 25th of April, 2011. It is my birthday, and in Australia it is Anzac Day, a day when we remember those Australians and New Zealanders (in particular) who fell fighting in War. For those unfamiliar with the day, it commemorates the same date in 1915, when Allied troops landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey, and well, found themselves trapped in a fierce battle for months in which thousands and thousands of people died. 
So today, spare also a thought for the people of 1945 Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Because in the months that followed the 6th of August 1945 140,000 people died as the result of single bomb. The first Atomic Bomb ever dropped on people, on a city, on a population. Think of them, and pray that it was the second last. The one dropped on Nagasaki was bigger by the way.

Hiroshima, after 'Little Boy'

Hiroshima is a remarkable and indeed beautiful city. It was rebuilt from total devastation after that fateful August morning in 1945. 66 years later it stands as a monument to peace, to no nuclear weapons. Every mayor of Hiroshima writes a letter of protest before every nuclear test. Who is listening? 140,000 people was only the beginning. People suffered and died for years and years after the bomb was dropped. Cancer, Leukemia. Ask yourself if you could do this. Could you? Could you imagine the destruction that was let loose? I couldn't. And I won't accept ANY 'Ends Justifies the Means' argument. So ask if you could? Then ask - How could anyone?
At the memorial to those who were killed, these are some of their faces.
There is a museum here. There is the A-dome - a building directly under where 'little boy' exploded, some 600 metres above - which was a prefectural office at the time. Because of the position it somehow, in part, survived. I sat in silence and just looked at it. People walk past every day for work. It's part of the city. The Peace Garden, so beautiful. But then, what lessons have been taken? How do we as the Human Race look each other in the face? So we have not seen a nuclear bomb fall in war since 1945. 66 years. But humans kill humans all the same.

Hiroshima as it stands today, a beautiful, modern city.

I have been through three countries so far on this trip. Vietnam I saw the effects of war there, and the effects of Agent Orange. Birth defects, burns, destruction. In Laos un-exploded bombs, 1.7 tonnes of explosives dropped on a nation of (at the time) 2.4 million farmers. And now here, two atomic bombs. Most of those killed women, children and POWs.
I am not anti-American. Please understand that. Please understand that I have American friends and I know there is a lot of good in the USA. A LOT of good. It has given the world so much. So much music, great movies, technology, the internet.

But I look at what it did in these three countries and despair. The most powerful country in the world for over 100 years now.
So maybe it has changed somewhat. I think it has a long way to go though, because War seems to be its business, and I don't know if it conducts itself in war in a good way.
Think to yourself. Imagine you are the decision maker. Would YOU make the decision to bomb Laos once every seven minutes for seven years? Would YOU use agent Orange? And finally would you use a bomb that could kill so many? People died instantly. People died slowly over the next few days from burns and radiation. People died over the next few decades from Cancers.

And think on this, 'Little Boy' was the merest fraction of the weapons created since.

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