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Pictures from Hiroshima Day Lantern Vigil

IMCer | 11.08.2005 23:42 | Anti-militarism | Cambridge

As well as the Open Boat Day, also on the evening of Sunday August 7th, a lantern vigil to mark the 60th anniversary of the atom bomb being dropped on Hiroshima took place.

Lanterns being dropped in the river...
Lanterns being dropped in the river...

...the Peace Circle before, and the lanterns heading upstream.
...the Peace Circle before, and the lanterns heading upstream.

Between thirty and forty people turned up for the vigil, from all ages and backgrounds to place on the river their handmade candle lanterns.

Some people also made paper Crane birds, which they either hung from the trees by the river, or floated downstream along with the lanterns.

As always, this was a very elegantly poignant reminder of all those who perished in the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs, numbering in the hundreds of thousands - those also affected by the fallout notwithstanding.

It is also worth bearing in mind that Depleted Uranium shells have been used in both Gulf Wars - the radioactive debris from these still litters both the deserts and outskirts of many Iraqi cities, proving that nuclear material is still in use even today in warfare, albeit on a smaller scale, but no less horrific in it's effects on the civilians and soldiers who come into contact with it.

Most countries have moreorless ignored Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaties over the last ten years, so, it's fair comment to say that the Nuclear Arms Race is not over yet, meaning that we still have a long way to go.

While we live in the age of the Nuclear Weapon, vigils like the one that happened last Sunday will continue to be both relevant and timely reminders of the kind of world we're passing onto our children.



Hide the following 4 comments

The reason why

12.08.2005 07:47

It is worth remembering the reason the atom bomb was chosen for these attacks. The Japanese philosophy of the time which placed death before surrender had already seen hundreds of thousands of Japanese soldiers and civillians as well as some 80,000 US troops die in capturing some of the smaller islands. Estimates at the time showed an invasion of Japan would require a larger number of troops than D-Day and lead to at least 300,000 US death with perhaps 750,000 to a million Japanese ssoldiers and civillians dead. In addition an invasion would not be able to be logisticly possible until at least February 1946.

As horrific as the bombs were they without doubt saved lives and shortended the war.


US to blame

12.08.2005 09:11

Who cares why they did it what we do know is the this was the work of the USA with once again an attack on a peaceful nation. The nuclear bombing was unprovoked and was part of the US attempt at Imperial expansion in Asia. We all know the Americans faked the Pearl Harbour attacks (only old ships blown up, nobody killed) as an excuse to expand it military bases in the Pacific.


"We had to destroy it to save it."

12.08.2005 09:56

"It is worth remembering the reason the atom bomb was chosen for these attacks."

To show the Soviets that the US was more powerful? To see what would happen if you dropped an atomic bomb on a real city?

They could have arranged for a demonstration of the bomb somewhere uninhabited (some wanted to), but they didn't. They could have dropped one on a military target instead of a civilian target. (It should be noted that Nagasaki was home to several thousand Allied POWs. I'm not sure about Hiroshima.) And they didn't have to drop TWO bombs (the Japanese hadn't had chance to confirm reports of the first bomb). There were those in Japan who wanted to surrender, but others wouldn't because the US insisted on "unconditional surrender" (because they'd just got their new toys to work and knew they had the upper hand) -- they could have negotiated. And there were those in the US that were convinced that the Japanese WERE going to surrender. There are those who argue that the Soviets joining the war against Japan would have brought about a quick surrender. And those that argue that the bombs were dropped BECAUSE the Soviets joined.

"As horrific as the bombs were they without doubt saved lives and shortended the war. "

Hurrah for nuclear bombs!

I've yet to discover where this argument comes from. I would suspect that it was government propaganda, delivered via the media and state education. I found myself repeating the same argument several years ago. Maybe it's just an "obvious" argument -- but it doesn't stand up to close examination.

I'm sure that if the Nazis had got the bomb first they would be using that same argument today. (And they might even use that argument to justify the Holocaust.) Face facts, the only reason people use that argument is because "we" won, and "we" have the bomb, and "we" are good. The argument is a bogus one, possibly the result of propaganda, and one of the few things worthy of sending down the memory hole...


A Peaceful Nation of Murderers

12.08.2005 10:16

"Who cares why they did it what we do know is the this was the work of the USA with once again an attack on a peaceful nation. "

We should care why they did it -- THEY do not want us to care.

Also, Japan was far from peaceful -- they had invaded China and were killing Chinese peasants in numbers that the Americans could only dream about. Among other things, they used to drop plague infected rats from aircraft over villages. (Remember the recent protests in China about history books that had had Japanese WW2 warcrimes played down or removed?) In fact, the US didn't mind about that -- they were hoping to share China with the Japanese. Only the US and Japan had different ideas about what share meant -- hence Pearl Harbour and all that followed.