It is fair to say that we experienced much more on this trip than we had expected: new friends in Revelstoke and Jericoacoara, nature to the power of ten in Galapagos, raw volcanic power and landscaping in Hawaii, the joy of kite boarding and and… However, we were not prepared for a truly moving event in Japan’s Hiroshima – and the being moved included all members of the Breadbasket Team from six to 51. By sheer coincidence we had the chance to be in Hiroshima at the anniversary of the atomic bomb drop on August 6th, 1945. Just a few days earlier we had visited Pearl Harbor, where we learnt that US intelligence failed to pick up the treacherous Japanese plan to attack US soil while simultaneously leading peace negotiations with the kind but unsuspecting President Roosevelt. That’s how it’s portrayed in the museum in Pearl Harbor, leaving out the fact that there is a hot debate among historians with good evidence indicating that Franklin D. Roosevelt very well knew about the pending attack. Do we want to call the exhibition in the Pearl Harbor museum propaganda? Nah, that’s only done by evil powers. Isn’t it?
As we all know, taken by surprise and deeply wounded Roosevelt then led the USA into the war that no American wanted and saved the world from Japanese and German imperialism. Certainly a good move. However, neither in Pearl Harbor nor anywhere else did I find an acceptable explanation for the two days in August 1945, which heaped incredible suffering onto Japan and changed the world forever: the first atomic bomb thrown on Hiroshima at 8.15am on August 6, followed by the larger bomb in Nagasaki on August 9. I am admiring the people of Hiroshima, who have been treated so cruelly by the United States of America for their relentless messages to the international community to undertake everything (well, simply abolish nuclear weapons, really) to prevent a repeat of this brutal massacre. I am admiring the people of Hiroshima for not holding grudges towards the country and its people that caused this human tragedy.
The annual floating of lanterns on the river opposite the A-Dome (a former governmental building that has been left in exactly the state as it was after the bomb had exploded) was the event that moved the Breadbaskets with its peaceful, calm and festive atmosphere.
I also admire Barrack Obama for showing up in Hiroshima as first president of the US and, while not apologising for the atrocity, sending a clear message to increase efforts in the struggle to abolish nuclear weapons, subtly accompanied by paper cranes folded by Obama himself (the paper cranes have become symbolic due to a little girl of Hiroshima, Sadako, who suffered Leukaemia caused by the bomb’s radiation and folded more than thousand paper cranes in the hope to survive the disease. She didn’t.).
I don’t admire, however, that the US in Japan and the Allied forces in Germany chose to mass murder civilians by dropping atomic or conventional bombs on residential areas. As inhumane as the respective regimes in Tokyo and Berlin might have been: committing atrocities in the name of humanity doesn’t sound right, doesn’t it?