On these days, with nuclear war at the edge of our consciousness, it is worthwhile to read the diary of a Japanese doctor -- Michihiko Hachiya -- kept during and after the bombing of Hiroshima and published in 1955. Here, as war sits near us, is Dr. Hachiya on what he saw in the dim light after the bomb fell on his city,
"There were the shadowy forms of people, some of whom looked like walking ghosts. Others moved as though in pain, like scarecrows, their arms held out from their bodies with forearms and hands dangling. These people puzzled me until I realized that they had been burned and were holding their arms out to prevent the painful friction of raw surfaces rubbing together. A naked woman carrying a naked baby came into view. I averted my gaze. Then I saw a naked man, and it occurred to me that, like myself, some strange thing had deprived them of their clothes. An old woman lay near me with an expression of suffering on her face; but she made no sound. Indeed, one thing was common to everyone I saw -- complete silence."
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