Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds

Over the next few days there will be reflection and remembrance of the day the first real bomb was dropped. Following the invention of gunpowder by the Chinese civilisation some thousand years ago, bombs had moved in incremental steps; little by little growing in size and power. But one day they made a jump, a leap that changed the way we perceive each other and our own destruction. And to the people who argue the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were war crimes, I still consider the greater crime was not to call a halt when there was the chance.

A number of people who survived the bombing of Hiroshima on 6th August travelled to their home town of Nagasaki over the next three days. Eight survived both bombs. The cities weren't destroyed, Tokyo having suffered worse in the firebombing of March, earlier that year, but what was created was a symbol of what can and should never be. If you have a vote, use it wisely.

When you visit the Peace Park in Hiroshima today, the story to stand and reflect upon is (for me) not one of the blinding devastation that day, but one of a young girl who survived the incineration. Her mother told her that if she made 1,000 paper cranes, a bird of hope in Japanese, she would survive. The statue is still there in the park. Covered in cranes. She didn't make it to 1,000. She died. And I still stand and think about that at this time of the year. A young child.

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