As movement to halt nukes grows, some argue more stability must first be achievedThanks, Chris
HIROSHIMA, Japan — In this place where a fearful age was born one fiery instant 65 years ago, the Flame of Peace still flickers on, awaiting the day when the world is rid of nuclear weapons.
Many believe that day may be approaching.
"I saw a light in a dark tunnel," says Emiko Okada, 73. "President Obama said, 'Yes, I can.'"
For her and other "hibakusha," survivors of Hiroshima 1945, abolishing nuclear weapons has been a lifelong crusade. But the cause that Hiroshima never abandoned is now also the cause of a growing movement worldwide, embraced by statesmen in Washington and other capitals, endorsed by old Cold Warriors, promoted by Hollywood, financed by billionaires.
Ordinary people, too, in country after country, want "zero nukes," opinion polls show.
But is it achievable? Can doomsday arms be banished from the face of the Earth? Will man stop reaching for ever more powerful weapons? And, more immediately, will an American president, following his ambassador's unprecedented visit, finally walk this year among the cherry trees, the memorials, the unspeakable memories of Hiroshima?
"The hibakusha say, 'We're getting older and older and we'll soon die.' For them abolition is a kind of dream that should be achieved immediately," says Kazumi Mizumoto, 53, a Hiroshima-born scholar of the nuclear age. "I understand their feelings. But feelings aren't enough."
The strongest feelings are of obligation — to the countless thousands whose ashes lie beneath the burial mound beside the Ota, the tidal river that ebbed and flowed with charred bodies on Aug. 6, 1945, after U.S. airmen dropped a bomb that, in a blinding orange flash, unleashed the atom's unearthly power on an unsuspecting city below.
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Friday, August 13, 2010
An allied correspondent standing in the rubble in front of the shell of a building that once was a movie theater in Hiroshima, Japan, a month after the first atomic bomb ever used in warfare was dropped by the U.S. on Aug. 6, 1945.