Two Augusts in Japan

Urakami Cathedral - largest church in East Asia.  It took 30 years to build, 30 seconds to destroy
Urakami Cathedral – largest church in East Asia. It took 30 years to build, 30 seconds to destroy

Source: Independent Catholic News

August 2021. The eyes of the world are focused on Japan. The world’s athletes compete for gold, silver and bronze medals.

August 1945. The eyes of the world are focused on Japan. The two most destructive weapons ever produced fall on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

A Message from the Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki:

“In August 1945, atomic bombs instantaneously reduced our cities to utter ruin and took over 201,000 precious lives. Many of those who survived have since suffered the devastating after-effects of radiation, the never-ending horror of a nuclear weapon. Even today, the full scope of radiation effects is unknown, and survivors still live in dread.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki have consistently followed the lead of our survivors, who arose from the depths of despair to warn the world about nuclear weapons. Through the efforts of many, we have thus far prevented a third use of such weapons, but sadly, our cherished hope of eliminating them has yet to be fulfilled.”

We at Christian CND find that many people are still ignorant of the horror of what happens after a nuclear blast. If they truly understood, they could not contemplate how a so-called civilised country, let alone one that shelters under the label of “Christianity,” would base its security on such evil. Pope Francis understands this absolutely and has called even the possession of such instruments of death, immoral. The Vatican has led the nations of the world in signing the Treaty to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.

This is what happened in Hiroshima on 6 August 1945. The temperature on the ground was 3,000 to 4,000 degrees. An observer writes that, “on the riverbank I saw figures that seemed to be from another world. Ghost-like, their hair falling over their faces, their clothes ripped to shreds, their skin hanging in tatters. A cluster of these injured persons moved wordlessly towards the outskirts.”

The Shiroyama National School lost 1,400 primary aged children, 31 teachers, and 105 students. The Shima Hospital was directly under the hypocentre. The initial radiation emitted was lethal as far as 1000 metres from the hypocentre. Most in that area died within a few days and many others, including relief workers, within the next few months. Many developed cancers five to 30 years later.

Many of those who could, escaped to Nagasaki. “This is a Christian City”, they said; “we will be safe here.” Three days later Nagasaki also received an atomic bomb!

Keiji Nagazawa was a child of six when the bomb fell on Hiroshima. When he grew up he became a film maker. ‘Barefoot Gen’ is a Manga film of his memories of that 6 August. It is still available online, intensely moving and a passionate plea for the end of war.

Knowing what these terrible weapons do to God’s beloved people and the beautiful home given to us, how can we ever contemplate their use? How can we tolerate our own government’s increasing its lethal stock of warheads, each one over eight times as powerful as the one dropped on Hiroshima? How can we allow more than two billion pounds being spent to renew and expand our Trident weapons programme? How can we tolerate the frequent convoys carrying these horrendous instruments of death up and down our public roads between Aldermaston and Coulport in Scotland?

If you want to know more about what can be done, or help in the campaign to rid the world of such evil, please get in touch with us at Christian Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament or Pax Christi.

Michael and Patricia Pulham are on the Christian CND Executive


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