Thursday, August 09, 2007

The victor writes the history; or, What is truth?

Today, on the 62nd anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, I got an e-mail from a friend in Japan.
It's a disarmingly sincere letter describing her feelings about the destruction of that city and of the far worse fate suffered by Hiroshima three days before.
Her views contradict what we in the United States are taught about the decision to use those weapons.
Are her opinions more or less "correct" than our own?
I think the real story of Hiroshima and Nagasaki lies somewhere between her views and ours.

She also shares her views on whaling, terrorism and the war in Iraq.
Whether or not you agree with her opinions, I think her letter is a great reminder that arrogantly casting aside the opinions of others is what has gotten the world into the series of shitstorms that have rained down upon us over the course of human history.

I think the moral here is that nobody, no nation has a monopoly on the truth.
I believe the question Pontius Pilate asked of Jesus is arguably the most profound question we can ask ourselves: What is truth?

Here is her letter to me, which I have left largely unedited save for some minor corrections and clarifications in brackets:


"There are no warlike people
just warlike leaders"
Ralph Bunche

back to 62 years ago ...
8/6 8:15 a.m. at Hiroshima by Enola Gay (B-29): Uranium type [atomic bomb]
8/9 11:02 a.m. at Nagasaki by [Bock's Car] (B-29): Plutonium type [atomic bomb]

I offered silent prayers ... for each day.

Recently, I knew that Bush thought U.S. was prepared to use nuclear weapons to strike terrorists first. I felt angry to hear that. Whenever he uses words [like] "justice," "terrorist," I doubt what is justice, what is the definition of terrorist. U.S. leaders have often justified their sophisms.

Why do they try to take the mote out of [the eyes of other] countries before trying to take the beam out of their own eyes? For example, whaling. They look disapproving[ly] at ours (nowadays, whaling of ours is very limited, but still we do a little for the purpose of an investigation in the sea) and seem they think us barbarians because we can kill whales who have high I.Q.
But I want to ask them, "Haven't you caught a whale? Whale is no, but cow is O.K.?"
Our ancestors had used almost 100% of their [whales'] dead bodies because we believed that was the least thing we could do to reward their sacrifice. On the other hand, U.S. used 20% of them mainly as fuel [whale oil] and dump 80%.

I can't understand U.S. leaders' double standard at all.

"Thanks to our atomic bombs, the world could stop the WWII, moreover, Japan could save millions of lives [by avoiding a bloody invasion of their nation]. Unless there two atomic bombs [are dropped], Japan would still continue [to fight] ...
It is said that this is American generals' thought.
I disagree.

I admit Japanese [in] those days were brainwashed, but we didn't have energy and resources to fight against U.S. anymore. It was clear that Japan would sooner or later surrender to U.S. without atomic bombs. The real reason to have used them was they wanted to know the power of them.

Try to use nuclear weapons in Iraq, and U.S. will know that they are in a dark and deep labyrinth which [they will] never be able to escape, which only leads to death.

This time the enemy is crazy radical group of Islam. They are different from us "yellow monkeys" [a common racist epithet used against Japanese during World War II era] who try to live [in a ] gray zone. ...

If we Japanese still have "Samurai Spirit," we should protect Iraq's citizens against the hegemony of U.S. Unfortunately, our leaders are faithful dogs of U.S., though.

Today, I have criticized scathingly toward your country, but I write this because I still have a hope in people [who] live in U.S. I worry and wonder the poorest sacrifices are the returnees from Iraq who suffer PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder] now. I pray for calmness of their mind.

If we suppose [that the] spirit is permanent and I chose to be born as a Japanese, I should speak out what I have to tell others. I think so.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Certainly America's has unclean hands. Sadly this can be placed at the feet of our leaders & their advisors. Japan was brainwashed before & today the US is brainwashed into fighting terrorism. Our enemy is whoever the government names and thousands of innocents pay the price.

I hope for all countries.

The tyranny in America will only increase until we are deprived of all rights and privileges

*Freedom of speech--- by making religious teachings a hate crime.

*Gun/militia through gun control nevermind that only the law-abiding citizens would turn in their guns & stand defenseless against crooks.

This list could be long, but this sleeping giant is not impenetrable & the government lies have not ceased in our day either.