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75 Years After The Most Horrible Human Disaster

75 Years After The Most Horrible Human Disaster

This year, we recall, not celebrate, the most horrible atomic bombing of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the U.S. in 1945, during the World War ll. When the atomic bomb hit Hiroshima, Fr Pedro Arrupe, a Jesuit superior general, was a novice master in Nagatsuka, only seven kilometres from the epicentre of the explosion. From the hilltop he saw the huge lake of fire that tore Hiroshima to pieces. Arrupe and his companions immediately converted the whole novitiate house into an emergency hospital. They took in 150 injured people and treated them; most of them were saved. In Hiroshima, more than 70,000 people died on the day and over 2,00,000 were injured. By the end of 1945, the number of deaths rose to 1,66,000. The death count in Nagasaki was over 75,000.

Nagasaki is precious to Christians. The hills of Nagasaki are holy to the Catholics because of the holy blood of 26 Jesuits, St Paul Miki and companions, which was shed there when they were crucified. When Christianity was banned in Japan from 1614 to 1873, more than 250 years, all the missionaries were expelled and the people lived their religion in hiding without any priests. When the missionaries were allowed to return, the hidden Catholics, about 30,000 of them, came out of their secret places. It was a resurrection event.

There has been no use of nuclear bombs after Hiroshima and Nagasaki; but the manufacturing of new nuclear weapons goes ahead. The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) has numbered about 13,400 nuclear weapons today in the nine nuclear-armed countries: Russia, U.S., China, France, U.K., India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea. ICAN points out that these nations spent a collective $72.9 billion in nuclear weapons in 2019. The U.S. alone spent half of the whole.

Nuclear bombs are the most merciless weapons – a single nuclear weapon can destroy a city and kill most of its population; it produces ionizing radiation which kills or weakens the exposed, contaminates the environment, and has long-term health consequences, including cancer and genetic damages; physicians and other health agents won’t be able to do any service; it causes widespread harm to living beings, causes severe health damage and untold human disorders that have no remedies, not even terminal relief. Needless to say that it basically violates international law, causes severe environmental damage, undermines national and global security, and destroys all human needs. It is imperative that we oppose this malaise at least in our own nation.

The United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), adopted in July 2017, prohibits nations from developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, transferring, possessing, stockpiling, using or threatening, or allowing nuclear weapons to be stationed in their territory. The Treaty will enter into legal force once 50 nations have signed and ratified it. None of the nuclear-armed countries, including India, has joined the Treaty yet. India is arranging nuclear bomb carriers “Rafale” to hit its neighbouring countries. Pakistan is already equipped with better carriers! In war moral, the one who bombs first is the criminal. The only point countries can boast of today is that they have invented the techniques to destroy each other. They are yet to come up with techniques to save and liberate each other. Once the former is done, the latter is out of question.

(Partial credit to: Vidya Jyoti Journal, August, 2020)

(Published on 24th August 2020, Volume XXXII, Issue 35)