RENATO REDENTOR CONSTANTINO
Cyclists zip intermittently past empty benches and pedestrians walking along the bank of the gently flowing Motoyasu river. A few meters away, a heavy tram rumbles across the steel bridge, past the room-less windows and windowless rooms of the Genbaku Dome-mae. The Atom Bomb Dome. A skeletal reminder of what has been and what may yet be.
A man with a camera has already circled the Dome thrice, kneeling, twisting his body, crouching, constantly snapping pictures yet never seeming to find the right angle. Who knows if there really is one?
The Atom Bomb Dome is the ruins of the former Hiroshima Prefect Industrial Promotion Hall. At in the morning of
"In order to have this tragic fact known to succeeding generations and to make it a lesson for humankind," prayed the memorial plaque installed at the Atom Bomb Dome on
Forever may be too brief a reminder.
"I told [Pres. Roosevelt]," wrote US Secretary of Defense Henry Stimson in his diary on
In the middle June 1945, six members of the Japanese Supreme War Council had already authorized Foreign Minister Togo to approach the Soviet Union, which was not at war with Japan, to mediate an end to the war "if possible by the end of September."
Weeks later, on July 13 - four days before Harry Truman, Winston Churchill and Josef Stalin gathered in
But other hearts had other desires. And other targets?
It is important to state, wrote General Leslie Groves, who was in charge of the "Manhattan Project" - the code name for America's atom bomb program - "that there was never from about two weeks from the time I took charge of the project any illusion on my part but that Russia was the enemy and that the project was conducted on that basis. I didn't go along with the attitude of the whole country that
Dropping the atomic bomb, wrote the British scientist P.M.S. Blackett, one of Churchill's advisers, "was not so much the last military act of the second world war as the first act of the cold diplomatic war with
On July 18, 1945, perhaps after the glowing reports from New Mexico of the Manhattan Project's atom bomb test - the world's first - on July 16 had sank in, Truman wrote in his Journal: "[I] Believe Japs will fold up before Russia comes in. I am sure they will when
"It is my opinion," wrote US Admiral William Leahy in his 1950 memoir, "that the use of this barbarous weapon at
Shinichi Tetsutachi, was the owner of a little tricycle that was badly burned like him. The boy was almost four years old when the bomb struck; he died on the night of the bombing. Shinichi's father thought his son was too young to be buried in a lonely grave away from home. He buried Shinichi in their backyard with his possession hoping his son "could still play with the tricycle." Shinichi's remains were dug up by his father in 1985 and transferred to the family grave. The tricycle was donated to the
"I fought with myself for 30 minutes before I could take the first picture," said the photographer Yoshito Matsushige who was the only person in
"We pray that He may guide us to use it His ways and for His purpose," beseeched Truman in the aftermath of the
"I am an airman, a pilot. In 1945, I was wearing the uniform of the
"Memory is a wonderful thing if you don't have to deal with the past," said Julia Delpy to Ethan Hawke in the captivating movie Before Sunset.
"Up to fifty atomic bombs should be dropped on Chinese cities," huffed Gen. Douglas MacArthur during
"I want to remember but sometimes it's hard," wrote Brett Dakin in his book about living in
All 67 of the
Haunting, de Brum knows, is a mild word. If we were to take the total yield of the nuclear weapons the
Hiroshima as strategy: "The US intends to shatter Iraq physically, emotionally and psychologically," said the architect of Shock and Awe, Harlan Ullman, "... so that you have this simultaneous effect - rather like the nuclear weapons at Hiroshima - not taking days or weeks but minutes."
The three headlines of 2005: "US warns
"There is a greater than 50 per cent probability of a nuclear strike on US targets within a decade," warned former officials of the
Is anyone listening?
The combined nuclear weapons of the
"Why [anyone] would want to move against us in an overt manner that would cause us to use our air or naval power against them would be beyond me ... We can generate more military power per square inch than anybody else on Earth, and everybody knows it ... If you ever even contemplate our nuclear capability, it should give everybody the clear understanding that there is no power that can match the United States militarily.," boasted US General John Abizaid in December 2004.
On the 60th anniversary of one of the most ghastly acts of mass slaughter in human history, madness riots like weeds and memory withers like a rare plant seemingly condemned to die before it can take firm root.
 From a series of articles by the author written based on his visit to
 From declassified US memos on display at the
 In the Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer, US Govt. Printing Office,
 P.M.S. Blackett: Military Consequences of Atomic Energy, 1948.
 Ibid., 2.
 Original of "remembered what had not yet happened" by Eduardo Galeano in Genesis, the first book of his Memory of Fire trilogy.
 Declassified documents on display at the
 From the
 See "I couldn't press the shutter in hell" by Yoshito Matsushige in Eyewitness Testimonies: Appeals from the A-Bomb Survivors, Third Edition, Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation, 2003. Matsushige was actually only able take only two photos of the survivors, at
 Ibid. 2.
 Niall Ferguson, Colossus: The Rise and Fall of the American Empire, Penguin Books, 2005.
Brett Dakin, Another Quiet American: Stories of Life in
 From "BRAVO and Today: US Nuclear Tests and the
 "800 missiles to hit
 "US Senate votes to revive nuke weapons program," Philippine Daily Inquirer, July 3, 2005.
 "Nuclear threat hasn't passed," Robert McNamara and Helen Caldicott, Today, April 29, 2004