Aug. 16, 2004Articles and commentary regarding world events
Nuclear Night

     Pictures of Hiroshima, 1945: Heat rays from the blast incinerate a precious human being so that only a shadow is left on stone steps. The pattern of checked clothing, seared into a woman's skin. The burnt legs and arms of a schoolchild, scorched, by the thousand plus degree heat. Devastation upon devastation. The heart cries out to stop this, to make it go away. But it will not go away. Not until the true basis for peace comes to the earth. Not until our 'enemies' can become our companions and fellow-humans at a table that is set for all.

     The seeds of this explosion are being planted even now - here, in the absence of the willingness to conciliate. They are planted by the reliance on military force and power to vanquish the enemy. Yet, who is our enemy? Who is our friend? We must seek friends who seek peace and the basis for peace - the humility of heart that chooses to share in the earth's resources and power.

     The burnt skin of a woman, the dead bodies piled into mass graves, the earth, scorched and still. The heart cries out to stop this madness - to prevent it from happening. But it cannot be stopped for as long as nuclear warheads are being amassed and stored. They do not have to be used to be lethal. They are lethal because they exist. Their very existence incites those who do not have them to want them, for who does not want to come out on top in a war of might that is beyond the capacity of the weak to survive. The storage of weapons insures their continuation. It insures their proliferation. It ensures the heartache that the world has already witnessed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki - cities whose names themselves are a call to peace.

     Oh, scorched earth and lost lives. Burnt skin and the pain of a million hearts that weep for a life that can never be the same. This earth that we wish to give to our children - we are in the process of destroying it. We destroy it actively, and we destroy it by our complicity in maintaining defenses that prevent peace from happening.

     Can we not sit down like brothers and speak to our opponents as human beings? Can we not involve them in the political process even if we disagree with their views and aims?

     It is said that the uprising in Najaf must be squelched because the Mehdi army and the followers of Moqtada al-Sadr are threatening the political process in Iraq and the newly constituted government. Can they not become a part of the political process? It is we who define our 'enemies' and our 'friends'. We must - if we are to avoid another war of cataclysmic proportions - make room in our hearts for all. We must make room because life - the sacred life of the earth and the sacred life of vast numbers of our brothers and sisters - cries out.

     This burnt child, this dead corpse of a woman, this toppled building, this scorched land. It is a moment before the darkness sets in. In this moment, we must determine to stand for that which is good and true within us - to allow the word 'enemy' to become something other than a cause for bloodshed. Rather, we must redefine the word 'enemy' so that it becomes a word for another being like ourselves, one whom we do not yet understand.

     Oh, precious earth, what is coming to you fills my heart with tears. And I pray for your sake and for the sake of your children that what has been seen and written will not have to come to pass.

Related links:

"Lessons of Nagasaki for Fighting Terrorism." (Aug. 9, 2004)

Drawing analogies from the bombing of Nagasaki in 1945, the author envisions the possibility of nuclear weapons falling into the hands of al-Quaeda and what might happen. He also suggests the means to prevent this.

"The Third World War Is Now." Prince El Hassan bin Talal, the brother of the late King Hussein of Jordan (Aug. 7, 2004).

A plea for peace and for dialogue among those who share similar fears for their safety and security, both in the Middle East and elsewhere.

"Photographs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki."

A photo-journal of Hiroshima and Nagasaki following their respective bombings on Aug. 6 and Aug. 9, 1945. This link should be opened only with care and forewarning as the material can be shocking.

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