Hi, Kohaku here. I hope everyone had a great week.
The past few days have been hard, don’t you think?
Right now we are dealing with the aftermath of several mass shootings in the US: Gilroy, California at the end of last month, and back-to-back shootings last weekend in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas. These have been covered a lot by local media. Please look them up, if you haven’t heard about them. There are also many other horrific events that haven’t been covered as much, in part because they are all too normal nowadays. Meanwhile the protests in Hong Kong rage on, typhoons and heat waves batter Southeast Asia (and other parts of the world), and tensions between Japan and South Korea are incredibly high…
This week, we also passed the 74th anniversary of the atomic bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
To honor the over one-hundred thousand people who died, as well as all those who still live, I spent this week writing and posting a series of poetry based on these events. I was having a hard time reconciling how little progress we seem to have made since then. Here are the poems in order, if you haven’t read them all:
- Aug. 6 (Hiroshima) – Seventy-Four to One
- Aug. 7 – 許してください
- Aug. 8 – Even
- Aug. 9 (Nagasaki) – A Single Star-Filled Sky
- Aug. 10 – 黙祷
Perhaps, I should make my thoughts and intentions more clear… Yes, I perfectly understand that Japan and Japanese people did some very terrible things during the war. Particularly because I am Taiwanese, I know this very well. But America also did some very terrible things during the war. Every country did. Please, I am tired of people trying to evaluate history through the lens of “which side had the moral high ground?” I am tired of people saying, “well, Japan did this, so that justified America doing that.” Please stop trying to say that one side or one action was more just or ethical compared to another. It may well be, but it’s too late for that now.
This week, it is not the individual countries and their actions that I condemn. What I condemn is war. What I condemn is the mistakes of humanity as a whole, our willingness to destroy ourselves, our willingness to drop atomic bombs on each other and kill thousands of people in a single instant. What I condemn is our failure to learn from the past, our failure to get rid of our nuclear weapons after seeing how terrible they can be, our desire to keep making more and more weapons that are many times more powerful, many times more horrible, in the name of ‘global power’ and ‘national security’…
Tell me, how can anyone be safe in a world where almost 14,000 nuclear weapons still exist?
And how can anyone be safe in a world where weapons of war can be legally possessed by civilians roaming the streets?
The atomic bombings may have been seventy-four years ago, but they are still very, very real today. Every time there is a war, every time we are brought to the brink of one, every time there is a mass shooting or bombing or arson, part of me is angry, and another part is incredibly sad. We should have learned long, long ago that humanity cannot live like this. But we still haven’t learned. Even the atomic bombings could not teach us. So what can? What now?
No more war. No more nukes. I am tired of this. We are one global community, and we have to start acting like it, or we’re done.
This week, communicate with your loved ones, your friends, your family. Talk to them and listen to them and hear them out, even if you had an argument, even if you disagree with what they’re doing, even if you can’t bear their political beliefs. Stay close out of love and hope for peace. And together, teach your children – and each other – to value life. Human life, and non-human life. Your own life, and the lives of those different from you. If we are to survive and be happy, we cannot continue making the mistakes of the past.
As always, take care of yourself.