I came across a headline that North Korea has been suspected by the UN to have achieved tremendous success in the development of nuclear weapons. Many others for that matter may be working to attain the ‘supposed’ supremacy. In the recent decades from the development of nuclear power plants to Russian dog Laika’s journey to space and to the recent travails aiming for Mars etc are certainly substantially appreciable achievements. The current covid-19 pandemic too would be perpetuating the cycle of excellence in the field of medical and vaccinal contrivance. Even though we pat ourselves to be set well on the trajectory of development, I’m sure it does pop up once in a while in one’s head that why are these achievements limited to a handful of fields of study only? Why are philosophy, sociology and personal and mental growth maintaining a status quo? Why do we see the other person as someone belonging to different nationality, caste, religion etc and not the human being that they are? What clouds our judgements pertaining to the supposed menial (as compared to the mentioned temperaments) ways of life?

On 75th anniversary of the atrocious bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki I came across interviews and accounts of numerous survivors who wish to speak up for the cause that scarred them physically and emotionally for their lives and now that they won’t probably stick around longer than a couple of decades or so. Most of them described how as youngsters they were fuelling with feelings of anger and revenge and how they loathe nuclear weapons to the date.

One woman speaks of the exhilaration witnessed upon beholding green buds that sprouted from tender stems of the radioactive trees that survived the bombings. She described the entire place to have become like a lifeless monochromatic landscape, with all life sucked out of it, where all burns that turned black with time, the white smoke all around. Everyone who survived was thought to be radioactivated. People didn’t wish to bear children anymore for the fear of the birth of still babies or two headed twin like structures for babies whose chances of survival were as meagre as the chances for the ones that made it. In such desolate surroundings, even something as menial as tiny green buds on stems of trees brightens one’s soul up with happiness because it was symbolic of how life could still perpetuate in Hiroshima. It was imbued with philosophical embolism of hope.

One survivor, Koko Kondo confessed how she had a secret mission as a young girl: revenge, to find person who dropped the bombs on Hiroshima, the one who caused everything to burn within minutes, the burns on the face of her father and friends that scarred her memories of childhood for years. All she wished was to encounter that person, corner him and punch him in the face real bad. However, Little did she fathom that she’d soon get the opportunity to be to able to meet the person responsible when several survivors were called up on the American TV show called ‘This is your life’. She was brimming with energy, waiting for her moment as she saw Captain Robert Lewis, Co-pilot of B-29 bomber Enola Gay that dropped the bomb. While she was fantasising about the ways of pinning him down and punching him, the host asked Lewis how he felt after dropping the bomb. Tears brimmed up in in eyes as he began “looking down from thousands of feet over Hiroshima, all we could think of was what have we done!” Koko was grateful she met him as that helped her realise that he was infact not the monster she thought him to be, it wasn’t him but the war to be blamed. She got past the hatred and helped actively in the rehabilitation programs as she grew up, taking up elimination of nuclear weapons from the world as her purpose besides helping other survivors.

Many surviors feared to carry the radioactive material and perpetuate that in genes and in fact tried their best to hide their scars even from the closest kin and their spouses. They’re now not afraid anymore of prejudice or seclusion and are coming forward to share the harrowing tales with the world, solely with the aim to demotivate and in a way develop abhorrence into every life they touch for the nuclear weapons. They say these weapons are no means of strength. All they represent is death, misery and destruction.

Almost all of them are trying to spread the message and details, one woman Kieko Ogura who survived the bombings organises English guided tours for foreign visitors at Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park. She describes the experience to be daunting at first, for reciting the happenings everytime translated into reliving every moment of the agony but then she had a bigger fish to fry so she held on and went on with the service.

The mutual angst isn’t against the Americans for committing a crime as this. It’s instead an attempt to never forget the daunting images, the tragedy that grapples people even decades after the the bombings, absurdity, heinousness of the war, all culminating in an attempt to spread the message as fast and far as possible, to be able to eliminate the nuclear weapons from the world as soon as possible because with great power comes great responsibility and our race hasn’t particularly excelled the art .

6 thoughts on “Decades after the attack, are we there yet?

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