Aug. 16, 2004Articles and commentary
regarding world events
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.
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"Lessons of Nagasaki for Fighting
Terrorism." (Aug. 9, 2004) http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0809-07.htm
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
"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.