Monday, August 06, 2007

Aug. 6th

Today is the anniversary of the dropping of the first nuclear bomb on Japan. Tonight, there was an HBO program called "white light/black rain" about the survivors of the nuclear bombs.

I was saddened by the retelling of personal experiences from the bombing. The children who watched their parents and siblings melt or die in agony. I was horrified at the elderly people who still wear the scars of their burns or the crippling effects of their flesh that was eaten away.

But, I was struck by one man stating that the survivors must keep their status under wraps because they would be denied jobs or unable to marry or have children. In their culture, they shun the victims. Such a difference from American culture - where claiming victim status is something of a sport amongst some. I know from work done with Jewish holocaust survivors, simply surviving doesn't mean that a person is necessarily good or bad. I find it interesting that the Japanese are so distant from the victims in their midst.

Also, I was struck by the utter lack of a grudge against Americans. If you look at the fashions of the Japanese - it seems they embrace all things American. However, there are still folks in our country who have not yet let go of Pearl Harbor or the cold war and I suspect a generation into the future, there will still be pretty wide spread distrust of anyone even appearing to look middle-eastern.

Most of all, I'm reminded that war really sucks and ought to be avoided whenever possible.


littleboy said...
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Allen said...

The story of Hiroshima and Nagasaki has been poignant for me for a loooong time. I grew up with stories about the bombings and anti-war books of several kinds. I also grew up in the shadow of the industry created by atomic warfare--and the spinoffs. Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes is one I remember especially.

There is a human cost to war that seems to get overlooked as soon as the drums start to beat. But we must not overlook it. The fallacy that we can get people to like us by shooting up their neighborhoods really doesn't seem that enticing. I just don't get it.

As for the Japanese, they seem to embrace a lot of American stuff, but I don't think they lose their own culture and identity much in doing so. At least, that's how it seemed to me in my short visit there a few years back (2002 or so).

Allen said...

"There was never a good war or a bad peace."
-- Benjamin Franklin

The Super Bongo said...

um, I think it's a tad unrealistic to weigh out the good and bad of all people belonging to any particular group and judge individual members based on those actions. There are good and bad people and policies in every group of people the world over. People who have been victimized deserve not just justice but dignity. Telling one's story is a way of claiming both.

I posted this comment from "littleboy" (which frankly the name is kinda freaking me out) because I want to offer opportunities for discussion and RESPECTFUL disagreement.

I'm thinking that "little boy" is skirting the line between personal opinion and respectful disagreement.

Allen said...

Whether or not the bombings were necessary from the point of view of ending the war or reducing the overall casualties in the war, it was a monumental and tragic event.

Atrocities were committed by Japanese soldiers, sure. Does that somehow make it right to bomb civilians? Is that justification for calling an entire group of people "barbarians"? No. I don't know of any moral or ethical code under which that's OK--except fundamentalist Christians or Muslims who have rejected the real teachings of their holy books.

The Super Bongo said...

Reading it more, I'm thinking that little boy's views are violent and mean spirited enough that I don't really want them on my blog. And, that is the beauty of this being MY blog - I can exert some control.