Categories
Paean To Peace

Recalling Hiroshima & Nagasaki

“I was three years old at the time of the bombing. I don’t remember much, but I do recall that my surroundings turned blindingly white, like a million camera flashes going off at once.

Then, pitch darkness.

I was buried alive under the house, I’ve been told. When my uncle finally found me and pulled my tiny three year old body out from under the debris, I was unconscious. My face was misshapen. He was certain that I was dead..."

-- YASUJIRO TANAKA/ LOCATION: NAGASAKI/DISTANCE FROM HYPOCENTER: 3.4 KM, AFTER THE BOMB, https://time.com/after-the-bomb/
The two atom bombs that ended the Second World War. (1939-1945) Courtesy: Creative Commons

Recalling the incidents of 1945 — when two bombs were dropped in the name of peace destroying towns, populations and a way of life of innocents who had nothing to do with the aggressive invasion of the power-hungry, instilling suffering for generations to come, and justifying the whole incident in the name of peace — should have taught humankind lessons that we would never forget. When I read about the incidents, the horror of these make me shudder. Even the sky changed colours. The Earth grew barren as life on it writhed to an untimely halt, some wounded towards a painful end and some dead. Some of our species suffered  in the most horrific ways. For some death lingered with pain. For others, life lingered with pain —  both emotional and physical. Has that all been forgotten or erased from our minds? 

Given the current global atmosphere, we perhaps most need to pray for peace: peace, to alleviate hunger; peace to be with loved ones; peace to have access to resources at a reasonable price so that all of us can afford to live in comfort. And yet the wars rage…

As we move ahead this year, poetry around war has proliferated in our pages, showing why we need peace. Today, in this issue we bring to you writing that looks for peace as well as our older pieces describing the horrors of the atom bomb in Hiroshima. 

Poetry 

Poetry for Peace by Michael R Burch… Click here to read. 

Oh, Orimen by Manjul Miteri, translated from Nepali by Hem Bishwakarma…Click here to read. 

Commemorating Hiroshima: Poetry by Suzanne Kamata …Click here to read. 

Prose

An interview with nuclear war survivor’s daughter, author Kathleen Burkinshaw, who continues to suffer the aftermath of the Hiroshima blast that only her mother had faced and has written a book, The Last Cherry Blossom, describing the horrors of the war, life before it and after. Click here to read. 

Can Peace come Dropping by... An essay by Candice Louisa Daquin, contextualising the current global issues and exploring peace. Click here to read.

No Nuclear War (1987) by Peter Tosh (1944-87)
Categories
A Special Tribute

Peace in the footsteps of Hiroshima & Nagasaki

The mother of a soldier once told me she did not agree that winning a war was a solution to peaceful living. She said, “If our army kill the enemy, some other mothers lose their sons; some other wives are widowed; some other children lose their fathers…”

Her summation of the war seems like an accurate description of the current day scenario. While politically the bombs that killed 140,000 in Hiroshima and 74000 in Nagasaki on 6th and 9th August respectively(1945), destroyed two cities, ended the Second World War (1939-1945) which claimed a total of 70-85 million lives over six years and led to the celebration of VE Day (Victory Europe Day), can we afford such horrors of violence and annihilation again? This is a question that remains in the grey zone as nuclear non-proliferation looks like agreeing to peace because the terror of war frightens. Will we ever have a world where peace is loved for the sake of what it brings and not for the fear of annihilation?

Writers in this special commemorate the horrors of the atom bomb and write their plea for peace. While American-Japanese writer, Suzanne Kamata, and Manjul Miteri of Nepal explore victimhood, Michael Burch talks of the Enola Gay, the legendary bomber that dropped “Little Boy” and annihilated a whole city. He reflects on the testing that continued on Bikini Island and further to ‘maintain peace’. We also have the words of Kathleen Burkinshaw who continues impacted by this terror — though it was her mother who was the hibakusha or survivor of the bomb blast. We round up this section with Candice Louisa Daquin’s reflections on peace and the reality as it is.

Poetry

Commemorating Hiroshima: Poetry by Suzanne Kamata that brings to life August 6th and the impact of the bombing on the victims and the devastation around them. Click here to read.

Oh Orimen! A poem in Nepalese about a victim of the blast written by a sculptor, Manjul Miteri, who while working on the largest Asian statue of the Buddha in Japan visited the museum dedicated to the impact of the blast. The poem has been translated to English by Hem Bishwakarma. Click here to read.

Mushroom Clouds: Poetry by Michael Burch that reflects on Enola Gay and the Bikini atoll. Click here to read

Prose

Surviving Hiroshima

Kathleen Burkinshaw is the daughter of a woman who survived the Hiroshima blast. Burkinshaw suffers neural damage herself from the impact of the bomb that her parent faced. She has written a book called The Last Cherry Blossom recounting her mother’s first hand experiences. Her novel has been taken up by the United Nations as a part of its peacekeeping effort. She has been actively participating in efforts to ban nuclear weapons, including presenting with Nobel Laureates. Click here to read the interview.

Peace: Is it even Possible?

In the post second world war scenario, Candice Lousia Daquin explores war and peace through history. Is peace possible? Click here to read.