Today marked the 68th anniversary of the atomic obliteration of the city of Hiroshima, Japan. A second atomic bomb was dropped on the innocent civilian of Nagasaki just a few days later. Please take a moment to remember, and to think on and pray for those affected by the extraction, shipping, production, running and disposal of nuclear materials, weapons, and energy.
In remembrance a gathering took place at Portland’s Japanese-American Historical Plaza in Waterfront Park, followed by art at the Nikkei Centre Gallery. Veterans for peace marched to the event. In a peaceful world of none war there would never have been the incredibly difficult decision to use an atomic weapon – an act that today would be considered an act of genocide and a war crime were we not the victors of that war (as one of the speakers noted). Kayla Godowa-Tufti, a member of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs spoke wisely and from the heart (inspite of her mentor grandfather’s burial the evening prior). Kayla regrets the role of the Hanford Production and extraction facilities in multiple nuclear projects. She also stresses that there are longstanding traditions in this area (many of which have changed drastically with the damning of the Columbia river) revolving around the gathering of products from the healthy wilderness – fish, berries, roots, wood, grass. Much of the land has become poisoned and no longer provides in ways it did. The climate crisis, and its relation to fossil fuels and associated toxins has had clear health disturbances – and as new sources of energy are sought we must remember that nuclear is not an answer. Nuclear is an invisible death which creeps through the walls, into the air, into the water and stays in the land.
Chuck Johnson provided hope that recent studies will push for the shut down and replacement of the sole nuclear power plant operating in the northwest.
Portland Taiko provided moving and wonderful accompaniment, and I hope to see them again soon. Very fluid and practiced engagement in that art practice of drumming.
I leave you with a quote from Former President John F. Kennedy, from his address relating to the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty on July 26, 1963:
“the number of children and grandchildren with cancer in their bones, with leukemia in their blood, or with poison in their lungs might seem statistically small to some, in comparison with natural health hazards. But this is not a natural health hazard – and it is not a statistical issue. The loss of even one human life, or the malformation of even one baby – who may be born long after all of us have gone – should be of concern to us all. Our children and grandchildren are not merely statistics towards which we can be indifferent.”