Sunday, 22 August 2010

Peace Now Nagasaki 2010

On August 6 1945, the 1st atom bomb was dropped in Hiroshima, followed by the 2nd in Nagasaki on August 9. The bomb ended the World War II, when Japan announced it surrender on August 15. No matter how you interpret the history, the bombing remained as the ugliest incident in man kind history.

2 weeks ago, I stepped into Nagasaki, to participate in a PEACE Workshop, one of the yearly workshops organized by University COOP in 3 different places - Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Okinawa. The main idea of the workshop is to remind the young generation about the historic incident and to promote the idea of non-nuclear movement and peace.

There are still a lot of debate on the whole bombing incident and of course the role of Japan during war time. Inside the country, Japan is widely viewed as the victim of war, being bombed by destructive weapon without fully recognize their own war-crime. I am not an historian, and my knowledge about the war is too little for me to judge. In fact, being a Malaysian Chinese, exposed to lots of materials about how bad the Japanese Armies were, it is hard to believe that how little Japanese know about their past. So the workshop provide me a chance to view the incident from a different angle, how Japanese teens look at their own history.

I would say that, although the workshop was mainly focus on atomic bomb, the organizers had done their best to provide facts from both sides, Japan as perpetrator and victim in the war. They had organized a tour to a private museum that shows Japanese crimes. I did not participate in that tour, but according to others, what showed in that museum really shocked them as much as they could imagine and they felt awful about what they saw. However, something sad about the museum is that, it is privately ran. Not located in the map, no road sign pointed to it, indicates that, after all these years, the Japanese government still politically avoiding the history. Anyway, I'm glad that the workshop has sent the right messages to its participants. Even though to only a few of university students, I believe that the message will spreads in the right form eventually.

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I was busy moving with the group during the workshop, so can't really have the chance to take a proper photo. Most of them are just simply snapshots. Rain on the second day had me left the dslr in the bag for the whole day, with only poor iPhone's camera. Anyway hope that the photos will get you closer to Nagasaki!!! So, do scroll down for pics and further reading!!

Visited the Nagasaki atomic bomb museum, peace park, monuments, remains of ruins, learn about the casualty of the atomic bomb, the impact on people health, story about victims, and peace movement.
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Right: Woden door - the trace of plants can be clearly seen on it where radioactive wave was blocked.

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Left: The clock stopped at 11.02, when the city was bombed.
Right: The photo of a women feeding her baby while waiting for treatment impacted me the most.

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Attended the 65th A-bomb memorial ceremony on 9th August, which according to the press also attended by representative from 32 countries including UK and France. Listened to the speech of one aging survivor, I heard the pain of loosing friends and family in his trembling voice, I felt the destructive of the war.

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Had a chance to listen to a testimonial from one of the survivors of A-bomb. He was 27 when he was bombed, do some simple math and you will find out that he is now 92. Hard to imagine right? We thought he was 80 the most.
According to him, even after the first A-bomb was dropped in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, at the moment still preparing for war, no one believed that Japan will be defeated. It's sad and ironic to know the fact that, how many people had devoted their life to war out of pure patriotic, out of pure believing that their own country will finally won the war. Anyway, the most important piece of words I got from him when one of us ask him, do he hate Americans? "I hated them, long time ago, but I realized hate will not promote peace, I rather be forgiven", he answered.

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Right: Followed a tour to Sasebo city(佐世保), 3 hours drive from Nagasaki city. An abandoned school has been turn into war museum, recording the damages the city suffer from various air attack. There is a corner, especially dedicated to materials about Japanese invasion of China,including Nanking Massacre.

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Left: Bomb shelters had been turn into shop lots.
Right: U.S naval base in Sasebo. One of the U.S military base in Japan. Despite recent protest of an unpopular U.S air base in Okinawa, this naval base seldom cause trouble to the locals.

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Even though there are warning signs, locals are free to enter a public park inside the naval base.

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A panorama view of Sasebo city. The unique geography advantages of the port play an important role as military base. A little fact to share - after 911, U.S nuclear submarine will be stopping at this naval based without any notice to the Japanese government. In spite of Japan's strong stands on nuclear weapon, allowing a nuclear submarine inside its own territorial is controversial.

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Left: An old fort built to protect the city from air attack, due to its short attack range, this fort failed to bring down any airplane attacking the city.
Right: Old wireless tower for military used.

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Left: Peace Message arranged into our group no - 4:
Right: "つなげる平和の「わ」" Network of PEACE!!!

Let's pray for real peace in the future. No more war!!

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