6 August 2006: Hiroshima/Nagasaki Memorial
Back in 2006, before I began to write for Opednews, I observed the most moving memorial of my life, to the victims of the Hiroshima/Nagasaki bombings, including a firsthand account from a survivor who had been less than a kilometer away from the epicenter of the explosion at Hiroshima. I can think of nothing more appropriate to contribute today than this experience.
The Coalition for Peace Action sponsored a Hiroshima/Nagasaki memorial this evening to commemorate the bombings on August 6 and 9, 1945. around the fountain in front of Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School (Robertson Hall), A large group, including 150 Japanese and American students attending the High School Diplomats program held every summer at Princeton University, was regaled by various forms of musical entertainment as well as words about nuclear weaponry from three different speakers.
Before any of the speeches, however, there was a minute of silence at the exact moment sixty-one years ago when Hiroshima was struck: 8:15 in the morning, 7:15 pm our time.
Then Mr. Yoshio Sato, a survivor of the Hiroshima bombing, addressed the group, sharing with us the experience of being within one kilometer of the epicenter of the nuclear attack. He said he regained consciousness after the explosion stuck in a piece of lumber--all the homes in his city were made of wood and were burned to the ground. The sky was dark. The 14-year-old Mr. Sato rescued his mother, brother and sister, who had been pinned under their house. His father was out of town on business.
A strong wind blew. They were surrounded by fire and kept immersing themselves in water. Rescuers came in the evening with a truck that carried many who were badly burned and had not yet received treatment. They were taken to an army barracks where Mr. Sato's father found his family. Still no treatment was offered to the wounded- one boy's bones were exposed from his cheeks to his ears and he was nearly blind. Another woman naked, refusing any clothing, sat holding her dead baby in shock.
He spoke of hair loss to the point of near baldness; how he and his mother and siblings began to run fevers; his mother died on September 2 of the same year. He and his siblings seemed to recover, though his sister died six months later. His brother grew up to become a physician who later died of liver cancer. Mr. Sato himself had half his stomach removed in 1971--his brother told him he had cancer.
He said that now he was alone and "we must reject war."
Next to speak was the Pakistani physicist Dr. Pervez Hoodboy, a member of the Nobel-prize-winning Council of Pugwash--scientists who champion nuclear disarmament.
"The nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty is in shambles," he told us. He had visited Hiroshima last year on its sixtieth anniversary, where in the museum he saw a shadow burned into stone of someone who had been sitting at ground zero when the bomb struck.
He named the countries that already have nuclear armaments and those who are working toward them; the irony that the Bush government gave WMD as its pretense for invading Iraq, which they knew had none--were this pretense valid they would have instead invaded North Korea.
"It's easy to make nukes today," he continued. The recipe is on the Internet. "All you need are fissionable materials: uranium and plutonium."
He decried our "tribal" mentality, the "us versus them" mindset of the apes. He witnessed people in other parts of the world rejoicing when 9/11 occurred.
"We all want the same things. Our differences are trivial. Why do we want to kill each other all the time?"
Today nukes are no longer weapons of last resort but for regular use. George Bush the elder advocated for the development of new varieties of "the bomb," including bunker busters and fusion bombs.
What can we do about all of this?
We must ban nuclear weaponry. All nuclear development must stop.