2014/08/09

Hibakusha - Never Forget


A mother and daughter in Nagasaki three days after the bombing, their faces showing injuries from the attack.

Hibakusha means "explosion affected people" and is used to refer to survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Their numbers decline each year and before they are all gone, efforts are being made to record their stories so that future generations will not be without their unique insight.

Nagasaki was A-bombed on August 9, 1945.   The bomb exploded at 11:02 in the morning.    The true number of casualties will probably never be known, but conservatively 75,000 people died by the end of 1945 as a result of the Nagasaki A-bomb.

Here is the story of one of Nagasaki's hibakusha.  One reason that their testimony is so valuable is that there was an official blackout of information about the bombings by the US Government.   Even people who were against the bombings, such as General Douglas MacArthur,  participated in keeping photos, reports, and medical information from being disseminated.   This gave the government time to establish its fictional narrative of why the bombings were "justified" and allow them to continue to develop even more powerful weapons.   This was largely successful and it was not until many decades later that classified photos, reports, and government documents regarding the decision to use these weapons came to light.  By then, most Americans believed the official narrative and accepted it as fact and were not interested in hearing the bitter truth.

So let us listen to the hibakusha and may we never forget what happened nor ever stop working to bring an end to nuclear weapons and to learn to settle our differences without resorting to warfare of any kind.  We can chose peace if we want it.

One long time project seeking an end to nuclear weapons is from the UCLA School of Medicine and is called "Children of the Atomic Bomb". 





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