Saturday, August 06, 2005

Pika Don

It's a slang term, in Japanese: "Flash-Boom" is the usual translation.

It's what the Japanese called the atomic bomb. On August 6, 1945, on a hot morning at 8:16 AM, a single plane dropped a single bomb, and an entire city was obliterated. Virtually every structure in the city of Hiroshima was destroyed or heavily damaged, and approximately 140,000 people died. The exact number will never be known, as some may have been vaporized.

Vaporized. It's a terrifying word. Nothing to even scrape up and toss into a jar to give grieving relatives closure.

For sixty years now, we have lived under the shadow of that first mushroom cloud. Whether we were right to use it or not is a specious argument. The fact of the matter is and remains we did use it, and the genie was released from the bottle.

What the mind of man can devise, the mind of man can duplicate. Others now have The Bomb, others who may not share our interests and goals. For sixty years we have managed to live under the shadow of The Bomb, and the threat of Hiroshima multiplied across an entire planet has stayed our hand.

The huge Peace Bell tolled in Hiroshima today, calling people to pause and reflect on the lesson taught to us by the Pika Don. Learn to live together without war, or step off into the abyss.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interestingly, the whole 'big deal' effect of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs only really picked up momentum well after the explosions. At the same time, the rest of Japan was being fire-bombed to the Stone Age, and the first night of the fire-bombing on Tokyo burned more people than the two bombs put together, let alone all the other nights and all the other cities. As far as US bombing raid leaders were concerned, what the bombs achieved in devastation was no different than any other bombing day. The only difference was that only one B-29 bomber was required as opposed to the usual 400 or so used on similarly 'effective missions'. Yet people only mention the 2 bombs and wonder why the pilots were/are indifferent to their use. From an end-result point of view, which in this case was the grinding of Japan into submission, the 2 bombs were just a novel way of doing what had been going on for a few months already; Obliterating Japanese cities. If so much importance is being attributed to the nuclear way of ending human life, why, in the case of WW2 in Japan, is the far greater death agent of napalm so thoroughly unrepresented. It is no great secret that a letter of surrender by Japan was making its way to the US via Russia and Europe BEFORE the 2 bombs. Yet their testing on real people was always going to happen. Ironically, some Japanese veterans say now that the 2 bombs, despite the deaths they caused, saved Japanese civilisation from extinction because the alternative was in the form of prolongued ground warfare to the end of the 1940s where millions more on each side would perish. As evils go, some Japanese feel that the lesser was chosen, and ultimately Japan was saved to become the great nation it is today.

7:38 PM EST  

Post a Comment

<< Home