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Hidden with code "Submitted as Feature"
Commentary :: War and Militarism
Hiroshima Day 2007
06 Aug 2007
Modified: 01:52:55 PM
Today is the 62nd anniversary of the destruction of Hiroshima and its people in split seconds, 8/6/45 -- the worst massacre and bloodiest day in American and Japanese history. In human history. 140,000 perished immediately and within hours and days. Another 70,000 were vaporized in Nagasaki on 8/9/45. Survivors (hibakusha) are still dying from the long-term after effects, their average age now 73, the cenotaph in Hiroshima now bears more than 253,000 names. These survivors were little kids caught up in the blast.
Hiroshima_Panel_Fire.jpg
For many Japanese, Hiroshima remains a painful topic to articulate, a never-healed wound of their history. As filmmaker Nobuhiro Suwa said a few years ago, "Japanese people can't see or talk about this city. It's both too intimate and too immense." Here the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum: http://www.pcf.city.hiroshima.jp/top_e.html


But we Americans can: compare 9/11, the way many New Yorkers and others may still feel, the war on terror it has fueled --- and this monstrous outrage against innocent people, ordered by an inexperienced American president against the advice of many. Perhaps the greatest single war crime in our national narrative of manifest destiny. Certainly the most criminal single second in American military history: more than 253,000 victims in Hiroshima, and still counting. The figures for Nagasaki are equally mortifying.

In the view of many historians, this was an act of state terrorism against a civilian population: http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2004/08/294142.shtml
It was not needed to "hasten" the end of the war.

On campuses and in classrooms, a discussion on Hiroshima is very timely any time, but especially in the August of its anniversary and the current context of 'War is Peace.' In the critical classroom, one can try to show Resnais' classic "Hiroshima mon amour" (1959) and Nobuhiro Suwa's "H Story" (2001) or Yoshida's "Women In The Mirror" (2002) to catalyze reflection. Steven Okazaki’s film "White Light, Black Rain," acknowledged as a powerful new documentary premiering today http://www.hbo.com/docs/programs/whitelightblackrain/synopsis.html is available from HBO on DVD. Though at some level, it is as Marguerite Duras said of the Resnais film (which she scripted): "It is impossible to speak of Hiroshima. All one can do is speak about the impossibility of speaking about Hiroshima."

The discourse and hype on 9/11 and the war on terror -- and the nightmare our leaders have brought to Iraq -- act to block out the stark memory of this singular monstrosity. It remains a powerful reminder of Tolstoy's dictum 'Government is violence.'

The world’s nuclear arsenal today stands at some 28,000 devices, with combined destructive capacity 400,000x more than the Hiroshima bomb. Washington, the UK and France are upgrading their nuke arsenals, and circles inside the EU, including German elites, are pressing for an EU bomb, and there is much work in the U.S. and France on ‘mini-nukes’ and nuclear 'bunker busters' to employ in ‘surgical strikes’ against so-called ‘rogue states.’ All this must be brought to public attention and opposed.

On 4 Aug. 2007, a number of protesters from the Oak Ridge Peace Alliance were arrested at the Y-12 weapons plant in Oak Ridge during a large demonstration after chaining themselves to a barricade. There are protest demos and vigils planned around the world. Activists in Austria will be in the streets in large numbers http://www.werkstatt.or.at/ There are numerous commemorations planned around D.C., some perhaps with protest http://dc.indymedia.org/newswire/display/140204/index.php

In Tel Aviv, progressives of many stripes, including Anarchists Against the Wall, are organizing a protest vigil at an ominous juncture in a volatile region. Israel is not only a major nuclear power but maybe the only one where the ruling class is actually ready and now gearing up to use its arsenal. The call for the vigil: http://www.kibush.co.il/show_file.asp?num=21527

An international statement calling "For a Middle East Free of Weapons of Mass Destruction," was just issued. Harold Pinter is among its signatories, and many peace groups around the world, including The Israeli Committee for a Middle East Free from Atomic, Biological and Chemical Weapons. It is a powerful statement for action now call in the shadow of a possible nuclear attack on Iran. http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/me060807.html

This work is in the public domain