Remembering Hiroshima

by Thursday.

Relevant links: Hiroshima At Sixty Five. (trigger warning for victim-blaming).
eta:Another non-apologetic (trigger warning for victim-blaming. Please don’t read the comments on this one.)

Trigger warnings apply to all links under the cut.

First: How dare you, you [unprintable]. The hypocrisy of this entire statement is just infuriating. How dare you be so flippant — all of you.

Okay, I have problems with Japan’s refusal to compensate countries for its war crimes and the vagueness of the Prime Ministers when it comes to nuclear issues (even Japanese people have issues with how their government erases their history) but WHAT THE FUCK. Nobody deserves to have a nuclear bomb dropped on them. Those were civilians, no more responsible for their government’s actions than I am for any Indo-Pak war. And you cannot — cannot hand-wave this by talking about the Bataan Death March and the Rape of Nanking. Get this through your [unprintable] numbskulls: THIS IS NOT WAR CRIME OLYMPICS. On what planet does one atrocity balance out another? On what planet does Japanese imperialism in WWII balance out US imperialism either then or now, or even any other imperialism? Nobody deserves the N-bomb, just as nobody deserves to be rounded up and sent to death camps, or raped, or tortured, or any other crime against humanity.

This wasn’t a “just war against evil” (why wasn’t the N-bomb dropped on the Nazis, then?!) because no military war is ever just. There’s no way you can defend Allied soldiers who fought in the Philippines and Okinawa, and the atrocities they committed (and in the case of Okinawa, continue to commit) — because selective cultural memory is what leads to these opinions. When you look at people talking about the N-bomb, like when a Certain Person talked about “nuking Pakistan back to the Stone Age”, and how quickly MacArthur asked Truman for authorisation to use the N-bomb on China during the Korean War, saying that it’s okay to kill people because look they’re killing people: THIS CANNOT BE RATIONALISED. IT WILL NEVER BE RATIONALISED. It’s just a way for USAmericans to try to downplay the true horror of the bomb — at least the people they dropped it on were less than human, right?

And that whole “but the bomb saved lives!” Say that to the victims. Stand in front of them and say that to their faces. Say that to their families, their children. Say that to the people who have had to live with it; the people who want to make sure the world never forgets the horror of such a weapon. How dare you dehumanise these victims. How dare you reduce their nightmare to a false dichotomy, and on top of that, blame them for suffering they had no say in. Say that to their faces. GO ON.

I repeat: how dare you. All of you.

eta2: Jha has a great rant on this here (trigger warnings for violence, victim-blaming). But if you are able, please read it.


5 responses to “Remembering Hiroshima

  1. Hear, hear!

    In a similar vein, I was quite appalled to recently come across a secondary school history textbook, which is widely circulated in Singapore, suggesting that the Japanese Occupation of Singapore gave the local leaders the only opportunity to coalesce both their anti-colonial sentiments and nationalism–because the British had been toppled and were no longer around to thumb the nationalists down.

    The chapter framed it as if without the war, Singapore would never have gained independence and that the people would have failed at rising up against their colonial rulers.


    (p/s – we at the barn <3 this site!)

    • We’re taught the same in Malaysia too: that without the Japanese invasion, we would never have realized that we had the strength to throw off the British. Knowing my countrypeople, this impression has a point. Talking to my uncle who lived through the Wars, he said, “we never realized how badly we were treated by the British until they abandoned us when the Japanese came.”

      But it still doesn’t justify Japanese occupation.

      • Jha – I didn’t know that, thanks for sharing!

        I’m not entirely sure what to make of this. Are the history classes trying to say that it’s okay for you to invade and take over the colonised as long as you’re a shade better than the colonised’s previous masters? Also, I really don’t think the war crimes committed during the Japanese Occupation was in any way a shade better than what the British were doing. Perhaps history classes need a laundry list of graphically detailed war crimes that took place, on top of the graphically detailed accounts of the after effects of the H bomb falling on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

  2. I don’t know, really =/ Sometimes I think it’s there for anti-British sentiment, building a nationalist spirit. I feel the negatives of the Occupation are downplayed a lot, because the Japanese targeted Chinese… but then after the Occupation, the government targeted Communists, most of whom were Chinese too, so … I guess they don’t want to confused student? I don’t know. But “Occupation gave us strength to overthrow British” narrative make sense, given that the Japanese Occupation itself isn’t something to be celebrated either. It’s more like, we had to be beat down by someone new in order to realize how we had been beaten down by someone old?

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