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PSR in Japan: I will bomb no more, forever

Posted by John Rachow, MD on August 28, 2012

Maureen and I walked through the Hiroshima Peace Park late at night.  We approached the Cenotaph (empty tomb).  Sighting through the open center of the Cenotaph parabolic shape that houses more than 100,000 names, we could see the eternal flame and beyond the iconic A-Bomb Dome, precise alignment of profound significance.  

Situated on an island between two of seven branches of the Ota River delta in central Hiroshima, the A-Bomb Dome is the mostly stone remains of the original Industrial Promotions Building one of the few structures that were near the hypocenter of the first nuclear weapon used in war yet were left partially standing.  

In one instantaneous flash 67 years ago, the Original Child Bomb illuminated the branching streams flowing in darkness, and human consciousness was altered forever.  In this instant, humankind gained a new awareness, and an enduring image of a destroyed dome was burned on the collective retina of our civilization.  The stone and twisted steel skeleton of the A-Bomb Dome can be now experienced as an improbable postcard to the future with a message of the deep wisdom that only stone can convey.  One has to be there to experience it.

Crossing the bridge from the Peace Park late in the evening, we were accosted on the bridge by a Congolese physician attending the Congress.  He described with tearful intensity the difficulty we all face in understanding the complex points of view regarding conflict in the African Continent.  We were, ourselves, in an emotional state  from our visit to the Peace Park and were touched to the heart by this African physician’s passion.  We entreated him to visit the Peace Memorial and let the experience calm him.  The next day we learned he did have a healing night’s sleep.

While IPPNW has focused on preventing nuclear war from the beginning, there have always been deep currents of peace and justice thinking and human rights activism flowing through the larger IPPNW constituency.  The Peace Symbol, originating in Britain, itself, is the concatenation of the semaphore signs for “N” and “D” (Nuclear Disarmament).  One of the final sessions at the Congress reviewed IPPNW’s suite of core programs.  Clearly, a wide spectrum of pressing issues that sometimes seem like branching streams are much interwoven in all that IPPNW is.

Chief Joseph, the American aboriginal leader of the Nez Perce, who, facing genocide, declared, “ I will fight no more, forever.”  I was awakened in the wee hours after visiting the Peace Memorial, hearing these words but I said to myself, “We will bomb no more, forever."

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