Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘World Peace’ Category

If I were Judge, I would not use punitive sentences to those who are not of danger to our communities, instead, I would sentence them to acts of human kindness.

For  a year or two or three, go out into the community and conduct acts of kindness to strangers. If guilty of a hate crime, adopt a family of your “hate” and aid them in becoming a part of our community. Work with the children and help them adjust to our schools. Punitive actions do not seem to alter negative human nature…Studying our history of human injustice has not made much of a dent. Perhaps,we need to use human kindness instead of intellectualizing with history and dialogs.


			

Read Full Post »

Help Me Remember

A few weeks before my mother died, she came out of her dementia state and in Japanese, told the Buddhist priest:

Watashi wo wasure sadanaide. Do not let me be forgotten.

It made me think: What if all of my ancestors had said this? Both families on my parents’ side who perished 70 years ago in Hiroshima?

I have a candle lit to remember them. I hope you will spend a minute to remember all those who perished in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. If you haven’t already, do read my dear friend Charles Pellegrino’s book: To Hell and Back: The Last Train from Hiroshima. This book, for the first time, made me realize that my ancestors are not statistics but real people who lived.

Thank you for helping me remember.

Read Full Post »

To President Obama in Hiroshima and candidates promising a better world…this is

from the children :

 

Voice from the Unborn

You promised me, eons ago,

A world, free of battlefields, soldiers, children

Abandoned  in fear and hunger.

You offered me Hope, again and again.

A world, you said, where we will stand

Hand in hand, beyond  color, religion, gender, age,

One race. One humanity.

 

You promised me a world

Free of poison in oceans, earth and air.

“You  are the future”, you told me,

“Come and be born in this world I will

Create  for  you.”

 

My brothers and sisters who believed you

Are now old men and women, and they wait.

They wait.

 

Listen to my voice, your unborn child.

 

Eons ago, you sliced the chrysanthemum

Off  its stalk and left it

Naked in the sun.

 

Over the ashes of Hiroshima,

Our victory was hailed.

Beneath that, my ancestors lay buried.

 

Stop using me, your unborn child

For promises and meaningless  rhetoric.

The future is now.  I can’t wait any longer.

The future is now.  I want to be  born.

Today.

©Frances  Kakugawa

 

Read Full Post »

Norma Loudenslayer of Citrus Heights, CA posted this letter to the editor in the Sacramento Bee.

And I quote:

“Japan owes America the apology, not the other way around.”

“I vividly remember the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Thomas Lea Owsley from my hometown…went down on the USS Arizona.”

“I  commend President Harry Truman for having the guts to end what Japan started.”

I also commend FDR for the internment camps for the Americans with Japanese heritage.”

“It is easy for survivors of the bomb to cast blame, but those who would consider that America apologize are not looking at the full picture….”

This is why even the Japanese Americans lost their lives in war, to help preserve our Democracy so we can all express our views, conflicting or otherwise. And here are mine:

Under the rising sun,

The enemy came,

Wearing my face.
from my Kapoho: Memoirs of a Modern Pompeii

After Pearl Harbor, we too  lost something, we  lost our identity along with our dignity and honor. My ancestors, too, are buried, buried  in Hiroshima.

Masahiro Sasaki, survivor and brother of Sadako of the thousand cranes story, in his addresses before UN and in America faced a child who asked him, “Mr. Sasaki, which country dropped the atomic bomb?’

Mr. Sasaki answered, “ It’s been more than sixty years since the  bombs were dropped… So, I forgot who dropped the bomb.”

The adults looked puzzled but the child understood his response . Looking at  the boy, he said, “Children! Teach your parents!”

The survivors asked not to be called victims. As Mr. Sasaki explained, “To say ‘victim’ requires a victimizer, and the victimizer is led to blame; and that starts the cycle of blame. For example,if we say ‘victim of Hiroshima,’ the next sentence that comes up will involve Pearl Harbor and the blaming chain gets stuck all the way in the past. Then we are completely derailed from the lesson that war itself is humanity’s Pandora, and that nuclear weapons are something that came out of Pandora’s Box.”

(The above quotations are lifted  from To Hell and Back: The Last Train from Hiroshima by Charles Pellegrino)

How long do we wait to get ourselves unstuck from blame and political discourse  before we’re able to  use our knowledge and experiences to create a nuclear free world of peace?  We don’t need any apology or blame  to help create this world.We owe this to our children.

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

In the Sacramento Bee yesterday, a letter to the editor states that President Obama must not  bow when he visits Hiroshima this month, that a bow means an apology and U.S. must never apologize.

 

Read Full Post »

 

December 7

Under the rising sun,

The enemy came,

Wearing my face.

I met her at the Pahoa Library. I will call her Mrs. I. She was a child when Pearl Harbor was bombed and she was taken to the Internment camp with her family. She has kept that part of her history from her children.

The writer in me kicked in and I asked her why. Shouldn’t her stories be preserved for her children? Will she tell me her story?

Her answer stunned me into silence and I put my pen away.

“No,” she explained. “I never told my children about being in the internment camp because I didn’t want them to feel badly toward our country. I wanted my children to love and honor America and to live as good citizens. If they heard about what happened to us in the internment camp, I was afraid they would have come to hate this country who took us away. I didn’t want this to happen.”

 

Read Full Post »

cover hell and back

Hell and Back: The Last Train from Hiroshima by Charles Pellegrino

Before my mother died, she left me with a nagging thought. She told the minister, “ Don’t let me be forgotten.” What if all my ancestors in Hiroshima had said this? What if my grandparents or their parents and their parents had said that, too? I know nothing of them until today. They have remained statistics without names or personhood, except for the surnames of both my grandfathers: Kakugawa and Takahashi. Until today, I have carelessly referred to every member of my Hiroshima family as “my ancestors who were killed in the Hiroshima bombing.”

Today, they have risen out of the shadows because of Dr. Charles Pellegrino’s newly published book, Hell and Back: The Last Train from Hiroshima. My ancestors have become real people. They are children, teenagers, young adults, mothers and fathers and grandparents. They are children who went to school on an empty stomach because of war rations and of their mothers who would try to find forgiveness by leaving their special food on their children’s graveside for the rest of their lives. They all have a voice.

The story begins in Hiroshima at the first flash of the bomb and ends at Nagasaki and beyond. Approximately 300 people from the smoldering city of Hiroshima fled to safety to Nagasaki. Nagasaki was home to many of these survivors. 90% of them were killed by the second bomb. Thirty people survived the second atomic bomb in Nagasaki to become double survivors. One known survivor would experience radiation for the third time in Fukushima.

This story is told through the voices of the survivors of the bombings. Pellegrino preserves that part of history with his forensic and archeological expertise along with his poetic and masterful use of language. It is not a generic history but a very personal and humanistic one. It is not a political story, it is a story of humanity. It is not a story of blame, it is a story of forgiveness and hope for our future children.

Pellgrino had originally published a riveting book titled : Last Train From Hiroshima. After publication, more survivors sought Pellegrino to tell their stories, stories that were silenced for 70 years. Their message is clearly told…what they experienced must not happen again. What happened to Hiroshima and Nagasaki must not be forgotten, ever for the sake of our children.

Each time Pellegrino brought forth the story of a child, a teenager, a mother or father, I saw them as my ancestors. Ancestors I haven’t thought of as real people.

On pages 43-44, 14 year old boy Akihiro Takahashi’s story is told with uncensored description of the people he saw that day. Pellegrino calls it the un-gloving where skin is burned away and only flesh remains. Takahashi bears many of these scars.

Twenty five years later, in Washington D.C., Takahashi met the pilot of the plane who dropped the bomb and here is part of their conversation:

Pilot Tibbets sees the scars on Takahashi’s hands. “Is this the effect of the A-bomb?”
Takahashi: “Yes, we must overcome the pain, sorrow, and hatred of the past—and {we must} work together to make sure that people never experience this gain.”

Tibbets: I understand but I would have to do the same thing, under the same circumstances; because once war breaks out. Soldiers can do nothing but follow orders.”

Takahashi said later, “Among humankind’s abilities, it is said imagination is the weakest and forgetfulness the strongest. We cannot by any means, however, forget Hiroshima, and we cannot lose the ability to abolish war. Hiroshima is not just a historical fact. It is a warning and a lesson for the future.”

My mother’s voice echoes back. I need to believe that Akihiro Takahashi was one of my ancestors. My mother’s maiden name was Takahashi.

On Page 208, Pellegrino speaks of Kiwanu who survived the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and yet, a third time.

Kiwanu had chosen, as his family’s place of refuge, the pristine-appearing fields of Fukushima. On March 11, 2011, he would suddenly come to a special unity of feeling with the Kakugawa family, whose members had departed Hiroshima ahead of the war, seeking the illusory peace of a farming community in Hawaii. To the west of Kapoho Village lay beautiful Pearl Harbor/ and somewhat nearer, a scared mountain that would one day bury the entire village beneath a lake of lava.

Many of the names are familiar surnames found in our communities: Sato, Sasaki, Doi, Fujii, Yamaguchi, Nagai, Yoshioka, and many many more, but you don’t need to bear the same name or ethnic background to find meaning in Pellegrino’s words. He speaks for all humanity.

We are all familiar with Sadako and the Thousand Cranes. Sadako’s brother Masahiro asked Pellegrino to continue the legacy of his little sister who made a thousand cranes while dying from cancer.

“I think Omoiyari is the best way to start. The worst way is to call ourselves victims. To say ‘victim’ requires a victimizer, and the victimizer is led to blame; and that starts the cycle of blame…

Sadako understood this theme more personally and more intensely than most people ever will. And she had only enough time to begin teaching anew what most of us have so easily forgotten.”

The survivors who told their stories to Pellegrino are all adults but their memories are from their childhood so these stories are from the children who survived. They are not pretty stories but they are real and a part of who we are. Surely, as Pellegrino and the survivors proposed, each time we do an act of kindness, we honor and remember our ancestors by helping to create a world of peace.

Thank you, Charles Pellegrino, for helping us to not forget all those who have passed before us.
And to my mother, no, you and all those before you, will not be forgotten because there are the Charles Pellegrinos of the world who will painstakingly pick through the mountainous piles of political and historical debris to bring us the human story of all our ancestors. So we carry on this legacy of peace, forgiveness and human kindness in each of their name.

Pellegrino’s book is dedicated to Tomorrow’s Child.

1st published in Hawai’I Herald

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts