Remembrance, understanding and forgiveness

After the Post-Gazette article appeared I received a very moving email from Masashi Narita, a medical trainee here in Pittsburgh:

On Dec.7th 2006, I was asked the same interesting question from
different persons " Do you know what is the day today?"  I can recall
immediately that the day is unforgettable memorial day for Americans,
especially veterans at VA hospital. I talked this episode to my fellows
and friends of Americans and Japanese. Some of Americans understand
that Pearl Harbor attack is the same memorial event as 9/11. Some of
Japanese did not know the date of Pearl Harbor attack.  From this
experience, I understand that the importance to keep remember what has
happened in our country’s history regardless of glorious or shame for
us, as well as to think about the loser’s view point. 

I had expected  that someone may ask me the same question on August 6th or 9th this year. Nobody did it.

I can
understand  your emotional issues at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. I
also visited there after 9/11 attack. I could not make any difference
between the tragedies, the terror and the war.

Masashi put into words what I was feeling: there is no difference between these tragedies.

When I wrote my original post about visiting the Peace Memorial in Hiroshima I certainly had in mind the controversy over whether we should have dropped the bomb. I knew too many veterans of WWII who were certain they would have died in the Pacific, had the war continued. Regardless of how we might feel about the issue there is no going back. The important thing is to learn the lessons of the past and there are many of them here. Over the years I have gone from feeling, as a child, that we Americans were on the side of the angels, to knowing that we are capable of the same horrifying deeds our enemies have visited upon us. There are no angels on earth, at least not in any government.

Stacie, an artist who blogs at Nomadic Creations, wrote a profound piece about a conversation with the Rwandan owner of a nearby gallery.

It was a unique opportunity to really see the world through
someone else’s eyes, and to understand how so much alike we all are,
and not always in such a good way. Like many people, I have filters on
my senses. Something like the Rwandan Genocide couldn’t possibly happen
here, or our country would never get into another civil war. It can
happen though. When an economic divide becomes so great…terrible things
can happen.

Yozefu said he had been back to Africa two years ago, and that the
thing that most impressed him was the capacity for forgiveness that
many villagers have embraced as the survivors have returned home. It is
unimaginable for me to think about that level of forgiveness.

Read the entire post here, and learn about the Rwandan genocide, here. Honor all of the victims of these atrocities with understanding, forgiveness and remembrance.

4 thoughts on “Remembrance, understanding and forgiveness

  1. “to knowing that we are capable of the same horrifying deeds our enemies have visited upon us. There are no angels on earth, at least not in any government”
    POWERFUL WORDS. Did it really take me 65 years to fully understand this? Wonderful post!

  2. I did not see that article, but I read a litle history. The viewpoint of the time was that dropping the bomb saved an amazing number of lives. The Japanese would have dug in, as they did on Okinawa, and the death toll on both sides would have been apalling. Dropping the bomb shortened the war is another arguement. Today we see only the horror of it all. I remember Dresden and Hiroshima in the same breath. 9/11 and Pearl Harbor.
    I have a lovely friend, Chalandra on Open Diary, who is folding one oragami crane a day until the war is over. I do so little anti war this time. Thank you for this entry.

  3. You’ve certainly given me a lot to think about. My grandfather was one of those men in the Pacific who might not have made it home had we not dropped the bombs, in which case I never would have been born. But I have to admit I have never really thought about how many people’s lives were irrevocably changed, how many families not grown because of what I’ve perceived all my life as a necessary evil. It’s a bitter pill, but I appreciate the food for thought all the same!

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