Hibakusha

Hibakusha DVD coverLast Thursday, while researching at the office, I came across the term “hibakusha,” meaning surviving victims of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Wikipedia’s hibakusha entry conveys in a few succinct words and pictures some of the tragedy, including the many Korean forced laborers, the “nijū hibakusha” (those who suffered both A bombs and survived), and the discrimination against hibakusha by their own culture.

Of course I’m familiar with the rationalizations for our having dropped those bombs. “How bloody would an extended Pacific campaign have been?” and “Dresden took at least as much damage, though by many bombs instead of one.” Somehow, those arguments don’t soothe my soul.

As a poet, the only way to cope is to share my feelings in verse. So I spent Thursday evening preparing this:

Hush, hibakusha.
Hide away your shameful scars.
Righteousness is flame.

And I tossed it into the sea of social media like a tiny message in a bottle.

It got some “Likes” on Facebook. But even better, it was Retweeted on Twitter by @HibakushaFilm, a project I’d not be aware of otherwise. I’ll definitely be picking up a copy of the Hibakusha DVD (pictured above), and I hope you’ll do the same. The goal of civilization should be to make war ever more difficult to justify.

—Les

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