This is a late entry because I am travelling and during my travels I was not
able to recharge my Netbook computer for a few days, and lost both my pens. I
acquired a new pen and started to get caught up with regards to handwritten
notes. This entry is being typed into the e-document on August 9.
night, we met S at the Hiroshima airport and found somewhere to go get
reacquainted over dinner. The hotel was fine. We are traveling in a rented car
for the time being. Y, our AWC host, guide and interpreter has established the
entire itinerary and booked rooms for us in Japan.
is August 6, the anniversary of the dropping of the Uranium A-bomb
on Hiroshima. We drove to Peace Park to have breakfast then attend the rally by
ten-thirty. It was pouring hard all night and earlier this morning, but let up
before the rally started. However, some supporters from the outlying areas were
unable to make it due to the heavy rains and flooding. Those among our
associates who assembled today numbered 50 to 75.
official state ceremony happened at 8:15, the precise time of the A-bomb
explosion over Hiroshima. The Prime Minister presided and other state officials,
plus foreign dignitaries including Caroline Kennedy, the US Ambassador to Japan
attended. The keynote speech is criticized as a tokenism, and a rehash of last
year’s speech. Hundreds were at the ceremony to listen to speeches, lay
wreathes, pray and sing.
if not thousands more roamed the park during the day. Around the entire park
over the whole day, there was a kind of a peace fair with cultural programs,
tours, leafleting, greetings, prayers, talks, eating, meditation and artwork.
There were various booths and tents and banners.
contingent took up a corner at a park entrance in front of the dome, which is
the shell of what used to be a community center turned prefecture administrative
center during the Second World War. Many people passing by, including American
and Europeans visitors, stopped to look at enlarged photos of injured and dying
victims, and the landscape of a smoking city in ruins. They also looked at the
banners and placards, took and read literature, listened to speeches, signed a
petition, and talked with organizers. Three of us international visitors were
present and we each gave speeches. A national representative of the AWC-Japan
Committee and the ILPS gave the second keynote rally speech and spoke for our
ILPS Peace Solidarity Mission. A youth group emceed the rally. The leading
organizer was a son of A-bomb victims and he gave the main speech. S was happy
to display his banners and sign, make his presentation and get noticed.
Everyone there signed his petition.
National rep of AWC in Tokyo, me for TEA-KOR and ILPS Korea/international committee with Y AWC-Japan Secretary and Interpreter, S for WTP anti-nukes group at Hiroshima Peace Park rally.
park was full of regional and international tourists who had made an effort to
visit Hiroshima on August 6 as part of their vacation itinerary. I
think they must be serious people. How much fun is it to visit the nuclear
holocaust memorials and museum on a hot, humid and cloudy day, after all?
Besides, there is nothing else for tourists right in Hiroshima. I think it is
valuable that they commit to taking time to get information and honour victims
in Hiroshima and other places such as Auschwitz, Ho Chi Minh City, and Pnom
fact, the City of Hiroshima promotes peace tourism. We went through the museum.
We only wish it were about the past, but it has developed to document all the
nuclear weapon development, testing and stockpiling in the world. The US has
around 7500 nuclear warheads, Russia 8,000 and France 500. The place was
jam-packed today. As it was my second time there, and my first visit was only
last year, I did not read and see everything in the exhibit this time. S got the
audio equipment to hear everything about the exhibit. He had been very excited that morning about being in Hiroshima
on August 6 and being invited to tell his story.
we left the museum, an anti-war march arrived and formed a big colourful circle
to hold a rally there in the plaza beside the museum. There must have been 150
to 200 of them and they appeared to be well organized.
my part, I was surprised to see so little political and social mobilization
outside that was specifically addressing the problems of war today and various
related peoples’ struggles. What about Gaza? The pictures of Gaza on TV and the
internet these days are reminiscent of flattened Hiroshima. I saw no messages
about that conflict, or Syria, or Libya, or Iraq…