Tuesday, 6 August 2013


“The atomic bomb made the prospect of future war unendurable. It has led us up those last few steps to the mountain pass; and beyond there is a different country.” - J. Robert Oppenheimer

On August 6, 1945, the United States of America used a massive, atomic weapon against Hiroshima, Japan. This was the first time an atomic bomb was used in warfare. The nuclear bomb, which packed the equivalent of 20,000 tons of TNT, flattened the city, killing tens of thousands of civilians. While Japan was still trying to comprehend this devastation three days later the United States struck again with another atomic bomb, this time dropping it on Nagasaki.

Japan marked the 68th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima with a sombre ceremony to honour the dead, and once again pledged to seek the elimination of nuclear weapons from the world’s arsenals. Approximately 50,000 people stood for a minute of silence in Hiroshima's peace park near the epicentre of the early morning blast on Aug. 6, 1945, that killed up to 140,000 people. The bombing of Nagasaki three days later killed tens of thousands more people, prompting Japan’s surrender to the World War II Allies. Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was one of the many dignitaries attending the event, and noted that as his was the only country in history to face a nuclear attack, it has the responsibility to seek to ban nuclear weapons.

The U.S.A and its allies have always maintained that the WWII bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were necessary and helped save many more lives around the world by convincing Japan to surrender, bringing about an end to WWII. The sacrificing of tens of thousands of civilians as a means to an end, however noble this end seems to be, has always been a point of protest and argument against what has been characterised as an inhuman act, or as a war crime.

The sensitive anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing comes as Japan debates the role of nuclear energy, following the country’s 2011 earthquake and subsequent nuclear disaster, which is still now having widespread and dangerous after-effects. Presently, almost all of Japan’s nuclear power plants remain shut down following the meltdowns at Fukushima, which spread radiation over a large area and forced thousands to flee the area. Prime Minister Abe and his party want to restart the plants following safety inspections, but the plan has proved controversial for many in the energy-dependent nation. Since the accident, there have been repeated safety concerns at the Fukushima power plant, where operators are struggling to contain radiation-contaminated water, which is now making its way to the ocean and contaminating intervening land and subsoil.

Humans are blessed with the largest and most powerful brain power in the animal kingdom. We have the capacity to think and our intellect gives us the ability to create and use knowledge in ways that allow us to control our environment in amazing ways. We have developed the power to create marvels: Great works of architecture, art, music, literature, engineering, invention… But we have also excelled in the arts of war, with an almost endless repertoire of destruction and cruelty within our means. We have the potential to be angels, but how much easier to be devils. It takes great effort to be “good” rather than “evil” and that is where the real power of an individual is manifest – to be creative, good and kind rather than destructive, evil and cruel.


  1. Such a sad day... And then Japan has to deal with the after-effects fo the earthquake and the nuclear contamination. Terrible!

  2. Excellent post and very appropriate for this anniversary... So sad...