Today is Hiroshima Day, which commemorates the day the Americans used the world's first atomic bomb to kill thousands of people in Japan at the tail-end of World War Two. Two days later, the Americans dropped another larger atomic bomb on the port city, Nagasaki.
The survivors of the blast, and the peace movement that holds fast to the memory of the tragedy, would like the Hiroshima memorial dome (below) and Hiroshima Day to be a reminder of the horrors of nuclear weapons and nuclear power. It seems, though, that we all still have to struggle with getting that genie back in the lamp.
The Japanese have had their own recent close call when their largest nuclear power plant was compromised during the recent earthquake – releasing radioactive water into the Japan Sea and reportedly clouds of radioactive steam into the atmosphere, before the situation was brought under control again. While the authorities insisted that the radiation leaks were within 'acceptable' levels, there still many concerns about the powerplant's refusal to be open about what happened early in the emergency.
In its peace-time applications, the nuclear genie too has many casualties – not the least of which are truth and transparency.
I didn't make it to the commemorations in the city this year – by the time I knew about them, I had already promised the kids and made plans to take them to the ABC's 75the birthday party in Federation Square. Does anyone know how the commemorations went in their neck of the woods?
[Images: paper lanterns at last year's commemorations in Hiroshima by Giyu (Velvia) (cc); and Hiroshima memorial dome by bebouchard (cc)]