Visited the A-bomb museum today... very, very powerful. Hard to put much into words at the
moment. Its just a series of images: two models of the city side by side... one a representation of
the city before the bomb, the other a flattened plane representing the city after the bomb.
The most devastating images are of the immediate survivors.... the burn victims with flesh
dripping off their arms... the scorched faces... the scorched clothing. According to the museum,
140,000 people died in the explosion and its short-term aftermath.
140,000 gone in an instant. Truly horrible. And yet, think of the attention this event created.
Sixty years later we are still visiting the museum. Everyone remembers. Why is it that 140,000
Japanese killed in an instant creates such a stir.... but 100,000 Iraqis killed over the course of a
year creates hardly a blip on the American imagination? Did those people suffer less because their deaths were spread out? Did their relatives suffer less? Is the destruction any less horrible?
Is death by napalm, cluster bomb, or snipers bullet somehow more desirable than incineration from an atomic bomb? Were the Tokyo firebombs, which killed more people than the Hiroshima A-bomb, more humane?
The museum stressed the need for peace and nuclear disarmament.... but for my taste the emphasis was too much on nuclear weapons and not enough on peace in general. We are now at the stage where conventional weapons are nearing the destructive capability of those first nuclear bombs. The American military, in particular, is an ultra-efficient killing machine. We donft need to use nukes because we can obliterate any nation on earth without them.
In fact, nukes now represent the best hope for peace for countries like North Korea and Iran. They face certain attack from America unless they develop the bomb. They need the bomb to stay safe. Can you blame them for pursuing this option? North Korea just bought themselves a huge insurance policy.... its no coincidence that Bush & Co. are treating them much more carefully. Its no coincidence that Americas aggressive rhetoric is now targeted at Syria and Iran.
Should Iran develop usable nukes, they will get the kid-gloves treatment as well. Until then, they
are in the gun-sights.
So the lesson of the A-bomb museum, for me, is the need for peace in general. This can only
come from ordinary people, not governments. And it will only come when good citizens of
aggressor countries heed Gandhis advice and stop co-operating. As long as loyal patriots are
ready to kill on command, as long as people are ready to wave the flag and cheer the troops,... the
bloodshed will never stop.
Our best hope for peace is to criticize and defy our own governments. Our best hope for peace
is to kill patriotism and national loyalty... to replace it with loyalty to the human race... loyalty
to the planet as a whole. Dont take pride in being an American... take pride in being a human being.