Make a difference in the challenge to confront global warming and prevent nuclear war and the development and use of nuclear weapons.
Tell the nation's governors that they can and should proceed with the Clean Power Plan, despite the Supreme Court's stay.
PSR in Japan: First moments in Hiroshima
Mathias Pollock, MPH
August 22, 2012
As I sat reading John Hersey’s recounting of individual experiences in his book Hiroshima on the transpacific flight, I was struck by how much the event sounded like a natural disaster. It was a horrible event that devastated an innocent civilian population. But unlike tsunamis, floods, earthquakes and hurricanes, this wasn’t unfortunate chance- this was preventable.
Flying over Hiroshima, it is hard to imagine that a city so verdant and alive today is less than 70 years removed from the deadliest single act of war in world history. The countryside conjures unsettled Appalachian ranges and the city has rebuilt around a resilient people, and while the scars may be fading, the echoes resonate
Nuclear weapons are unacceptable because they produce catastrophic humanitarian harm. While this is something that we all inherently know, most of us cannot really comprehend suffering on such a grand scale. Our minds just can’t wrap themselves around such tragedy. But being here in Hiroshima makes this issue palpable; like the August humidity, it envelops your body and permeates your skin.
In one day this issue became tangible to me. As I walked past the Genbaku Dome, the skeletal ruin of the old prefectural hall, in Peace Park today on the way to the conference center, my breath caught in my tightened chest.
I hadn’t been in the city more than 20 minutes, but seeing a group of Japanese students listening in rapt attention to a survivor’s story, sitting at the site of the original destruction, struck a chord.
Then we got to the ICAN conference, and it was kicked off by a very moving speech from Tsuboi Sunao, a hibakusha, an affected person, a first hand witness to the bombing. He spoke of unimaginable pain and I could see it in his eyes. He spoke of thermal burns and his face displayed the scars.
To the hibakusha of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, these stories aren’t just memories- they are the reality they have lived with every day for 67 years. Those who suffer to recollect these events do so not seeking our prayers, but our promise- that we, as a global community, will never let this happen again.
Comments Leave a Comment
Video: Can We Prevent Nuclear War?
The danger of nuclear war is real. PSR's Dr. Ira Helfand spoke at TEDx Vail on the threat to human survival posed by nuclear war and what we can do about it: we can all take action to end nuclear weapons in all forms. Read more »
Dr. Ira Helfand Speaks at the UN
Dr. Ira Helfand spoke before the Untied Nations General Assembly on September 10, 2015 as part of a panel addressing the pursuit of a nuclear weapons free world. Read more »
Video: We Have an Iran Deal! Now What?
Watch PSR Security Program's latest webinar to understand the details of the Iran Deal and what you can do to keep the deal safe from Congress. Featuring speaker Kelsey Davenport, Arms Control Association. Read more »