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Anniversary of the Nagasaki atomic bomb

The story of Keiko Ogura, a survivor of Hiroshima - VIDEO

On August 6th was the 74th anniversary of the atomic disaster in Hiroshima (see AVIONEWS), today, August 9th, is the date of the second nuclear bomb, nicknamed "Fat boy" and launched by American planes in 1945 in Nagasaki. In Japan the annual commemoration was respected: a minute of silence at 11:02 local time, the time of the release of the bomb that caused the death of over 74 thousand people. Kazumi Matsui, mayor of Hiroshima, had invited the Japanese government to sign The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons as soon as possible. However, in a world that seems to have not yet learned the lesson (see AVIONEWS), Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pointed out that the treaty does not reflect the current situation and that Japan is acting consistently with other countries under the United States' decisions about the atomic powers of the world.

It is estimated that the two atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki caused between 140,000 and 200,000 victims. Over 6,000 children were left orphans. At the moment there are about 180,000 survivors ( called "hikabusha") many of whom continue to suffer from physical and psychological injuries reported 74 years ago: one of these is Keiko Ogura, a 78-year-old woman, who says: I was eight years old, a second-year student at the National School. When the atomic bomb was dropped I was in Ushita Town, 2.4km north of the hypocenter. One of my older brothers, a fifth-year elementary student, had been evacuated, and my other older brother, a junior high school student, was involved in agricultural work north of Hiroshima Station as a mobilized student. My father had said: "Something doesn't feel right. Don't go to school today.” So I was all alone on the road on the north side of our house.

Suddenly, I was engulfed in a dazzling flash of light, and the tremendous blast that followed slammed me to the ground. The straw roofs of the neighbouring houses burst into flames. When I went back to the house, I found that everything inside was destroyed, the ceiling and roof tiles had been blown away, and the doors and window panes were shattered into hundreds of pieces and sticking out of the walls and pillars. But thankfully my family inside the house only suffered minor injuries.

Rain started to fall immediately after that. I went outside, and my clothes were dampened by the sticky black rain.

My brother finally came home, with burns on his face and hands. He said: 'Hiroshima is a sea of fire.I went outside to look at the city from the hill'.

It was then that I came across a line of people, their clothes in tatters, with burns, seriously injured, fleeing the city. These people had charred hair, faces and lips swollen and blackened with soot, and they were covered in blood. Most of the people in this silent procession of ghost-like figures were soldiers or students; some of them ended up bent over and others lay down on the stone steps along the road. The whole area was filled with seriously injured people on the brink of death.

I found out later that the reason that people were fleeing up there was that the area around the nearby shrine was being used as an emergency aid station. However there was no sign of anyone who looked like a doctor, just one soldier with a bucket, applying something like zinc oxide oil to the injured with a brush. After that, seriously injured people died every day, and were carried to the park, which was being used as a temporary site for cremating the dead. My father and members from the civil defence unit cremated more than seven hundred corpses.

As I was walking someone on the ground suddenly grabbed my ankle. From around my feet, a weak voice said "Give me water". A woman covered in soot and blood was clinging to me desperately. I ran home, got some water from our well, and carried it to the dying people. Immediately after drinking the water, a number of those people suddenly slumped, and died right before my eyes. Shocked and trembling with fear, I regretted giving them water. I was so young, I did not know that it was said at the time that we were not supposed to give water to people with serious burns. I vowed never to tell anyone about what happened that day. My memory of that day remained with me as a nightmare even decades later.

My half-collapsed home was crowded with injured relatives, friends and neighbors. My older sister was crying as she removed with tweezers shards of glass that were stuck in my uncle's back. Flames had spread to the mountain behind our house, and Hiroshima continued to burn throughout the night.

On August 7, I looked down over the city again. Burnt ruins spread as far as the eye could see, and I could pick out the remains of a number of buildings including the department store Fukuya and the former Chugoku Shimbun building. The sea that I could see beyond that felt so close that I could touch it. Smoke from cremations rose up from the park nearby. From that day, I climbed those stone steps every day and continued to gaze over the city of Hiroshima.

Over the past thirty years, I have interpreted the testimonies of various atomic bomb survivors (hibakusha) on the one hand, while on the other communicating my own experience in English to the people of the world. I do this because I do not want humankind to ever again experience the horror caused by nuclear weapons. I know that retribution and hatred mean nothing under that mushroom cloud, and that all the people of the world share the same fate. I would like the world to stand up for the disarmament of nuclear weapons. I do not believe we can justify the cruelty of nuclear weapons.I tell my story to those who says nuclear weapons are need them to promote security. It is widely recognized that nuclear weapons would bring humanitarian disaster. We must learn from history – not only of your own but other –. We must know of the history of nations so we know what made that country wage war. We should have a dialogue with those come from different countries. I would like high school and university students to join this discussion. We would then understand why the value differs from country to country. We would discover what we have in common through such discussions. We are all equal in front of nuclear weapons".

Below, two videos in comparison: the first on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the second a report about some nuclear modern bombs:

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