This month, it is a hundred years since human beings started World War I –  the first global war that made use of the arsenals provided by industrial society. 
It was a mechanized, “industrial” war. 
It was the first global war that devoured millions of soldiers and of civilians. 

In the second world war, it was not just millions – it was millions and millions and millions who died. Their lives extinguished, so often, by weapons of greater destructive power than ever before in history. And certainly, more civilians than soldiers were murdered in this murderous, criminally conducted war. 

This month, it is 69 years since two bombs, of a kind seen never before,  were dropped on two large, bustling cities. Dropped on Hiroshima, on Nagasaki, two cities far from every frontline, two cities full of factory workers, students, school childrens, house wifes, nurses, sales girls, hawkers, prostitutes, grandmothers and grandfathers looking after young grandchildren, or sick in bed. 
Does it matter that most were citizens of Japan, a country that had attacked the U.S.? 
Did it matter that thousand and thousands were Koreans, compelled by the colonial authorities to work in Japanese factories far away from their own cities or villages, back in Korea? 
Did it matter that there were many students from abroad, from Taiwan and Korea? 
Did it matter that all of them very human beings, longing to live?


In August, 1945 when Japan was already militarily defeated, and just too slow to acknowledge it, there was hardly any logical military justification to bomb these two cities. Cities of no strategic value, yet populated by hundreds of thousands.

Was racism involved when an Asian population, not the Germans, were chosen as victims of this “military experiment”?

Was the whole undertaking conceived as a demonstration of power, of military might that would shock the Soviet Union and solidly inthrone the American ruling class as rulers of the post-war world?

As it were, the Soviet Union soon had its own “nuclear capability:” And thus, an age of what the propagandists of our time would call “deterence” was ushered in.

It never was that clearly an age of deterrence.

We were always living on the edge of a volcano.

And yet, we slept.

The victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, our sisters and brothers – those who died, and those who survived (many of them living only in order to die a slow death) – did not warn us, it seems. 

We looked away.

We did not want to see –  and comprehend –  their tragic fate.  And thus, they did not make us turn around. We did not start to search  for another road – a way of mutual understanding, compassion, and peace.
We forgot them – and forgot ourselves.
We did not see what the future may bring.
We close our eyes to our possible fate.
Since 1945, life always was under the spell of doom, a threat of unthinkable annihilation  –  of all that lives on earth, my brother. Of all that waits to be born, my sister. Since the first atomic bomb PRODUCED ITS MUSHROOM SPECTRE ABOVE THE DESERT SANDS of New Mexico, NOTHING IS SECURE.

I pity those involved in the project who felt the guilt.
They had no way but continue with their research when it became clear that scientists in Nazi Germany were attempting to built the bomb.
The honest ones, among the team of scientists in Los Alamos, never wanted this weapon to be used.
They were aghast when it was used. Against Japan. Recklessly, wantonly. In what amounted not only to a war crime but a crime against humanity.

Will we turn around?
Will we wake up?
Our lives have been hanging by a thread during the entire Cold War.
Pure chance that the button wasn't pushed. 
Pure chance that no misunderstanding occurred.
Today we dream that the danger is over: while ten thousand dangers loom everywhere: with missiles in bunkers, an Aegis destroyers: and submarines: and bombs above us –  as the B-2 planes pass. 
And what is worse: military planners begin to lose the fear of radiation that will turn countries into waste lands. They have switched, in part, to neutron bombs, to laser weapons, robots, drones. They have developed processes of decontamination. They have sent soldiers to test sites. And they have seen that some of these soldiers survived. Some did, but how –  after they witnessed the explosion? Standing upright, so close to the horrible, in the red desert sand. 
Civilians were exposed to fall-out. In the Ute Reservation near Las Vegas. In the Sawatch Range, in Semi-Palatinsk and the Altaiske Cry. The planners saw Chernobyl happen, and Fukushima. So now they tell us, “So what?” and they tell us, “It's not that bad.” And they say, “We can handle it.”
The planners imagine their missile defense “shields” and tell themselves, “We are nearly unwoundable:...”  And they dream that only the other side will be blotted out.  Reduced to a memory of what once existed.

But what is THE OTHER SIDE  if not life –  the life of a woman, a man, and a child? The LIVES OF HUMAN BEINGS, ANIMALS, PLANTS are at stake, brother. Life on earth is at stake, sister.
And the planners, in their arrogance forget how many plans were proved hollow and futile, in history, in mankind's long bitter past.  Reckless gambles BROUGHT MISERY upon us. Reckless gambles left us behind – guilty victims, guiltless victims, clinging to a thread, a thread that may be cut. Tomorrow, next year, any day, any hour, and any minute. 
How can we remain mute if this is so?
Wake up, brother. Wake up, sister. In this late hour –  of the night.

- Nadine Goll

  The atomic cloud over Hiroshima, seen from 10 km away

The Night Hydrogen Bombs Fell Over North Carolina

back-up copy

38 years ago, B-52 crash claimed nine lives near former Big Rock Point [Michigan]

back-up copy

Backup copies have been added to the original links just in case.
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Skin burneed in pattern corresponding to the dark parts of a kimono

Some were still alive - after the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima

Remembering in Hiroshima. 2014

The Hiroshima Dome in 1945

A temple in Nagasaki in 1945


The atomic cloud over Nagasaki