Tuesday, September 28, 2010

White Light, Black Rain

LIFE, Nagasaki circa 1900.

"All this pain we carry in our hearts and in our bodies-- 
it must end with us."
--Sakue Shimohira

Sakue Shimohira was 10-years-old when the Fat Man plutonium bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. She and her sister were the only family members to survive. Soon after the bombing, her sister committed suicide due to depression stemming from the event.

I know this may seem like a bit of a departure from regularly scheduled programming, but yesterday I watched an absolutely astounding documentary, White Lighting/Black Rain. It's the story of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as told by some of the survivors. I've been fascinated by this event for awhile now (I posted another set of first-hand accounts a bit ago, which was the article that started the obsession), in part because no matter how many accounts, or videos, or photographs I take in, it is absolutely unfathomable to me what happened to these people. I don't think any of us can, and we are so lucky for that. To think that so many civilians died so horrifically in the name of war is heartbreaking. To think that there are survivors today that must live with the memory of the bomb every day is equally so, no matter how you feel about the "necessity" of the bombs or the actions of the Japanese military.

I'm just really affected and I couldn't think of anything more appropriate to post right now. If you're interested in seeing this film, send me an e-mail and I'll gladly work something out for you.

We must learn history so that we can learn to understand one another. Man's capability for destruction is immense-- far moreso than it was in 1945. We can ensure this will never happen again. But it takes everyone. It takes knowledge. It takes honesty. It takes love.


Zoya said...

I completley agree this part of history is completley heartbreaking.

amanda said...

I'm going to hunt this film down. I went through a Hiroshima fascination phase back in 4th grade and I kind of want to revisit it now that I'm an adult.

You have read 'Barefoot Gen', yes?

Vanessa said...

Amanda: I've seen clips of "Barefoot Gen" (I know it was a manga as well) but I haven't seen the whole thing yet. Interestingly enough, one of the guy who wrote it is one of the survivors interviewed in this film. I'd actually seen bits of "Barefoot Gen" before watching this, and I was floored by the idea that all the imagery was based on what a survivor had actually seen.

Elaine said...

War is heartbreaking in general.

CLOTHED MUCH, a modest fashion blog

Luinae said...

When we studies wars in history, I always say that World War 2 is the saddest war of them all. Not because more people died (though they did), but because for the first time ever, a vast, VAST majority of them were civilians- the nuclear bombs, the blitz, the holocaust.

Vanessa said...

Luinae: That's so true. It's absolutely staggering to think of.


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