Pearl, bombing of ships and murdering young sailors. Hiroshima, Nagasaki, bombing of structures and murdering civilians, mothers, fathers, children, elders, young soldiers. Days of infamy, all. Some will still want to take one side or another. They can. And will. They’ve had 73 years to say and say their ‘side’ over and over again.
I’ve heard all the arguments. And more than once. All the stories about the naming of bombers after one’s mother, and bombs with ‘cute’ nicknames, and the twisted wreckages of Pearl and Nagasaki and Hiroshima, carriers and carriages, helmets and tricycles, ammo and burnt kimonos, dog tags and dust of those who once walked as human beings before ‘the hits’ -no matter the hitter, no matter those taken down. Heard it and heard it. Sorrow and sorrow and sorrow is what I hear underlying all. Including anger. Still from underneath, seeps sorrow.
Our young however, know more about Iraq and Afghanistan, and Israel and Palestine, and Congo and Somalia and Mexican drug cartels– and the innocents murdered therein, than they know about Pearl, Hiroshima, Nagasaki. In many cases, they do not recognize these latter names at all. So perhaps it ought be that only we who were there, or whose female and male relatives were there, be the ones to do the remembering and honoring.
Above in the image, is a translation of the following poem, written by Rafael Jesús González, in our time, 2013. The translation and the Japanese brush calligraphy was done by Prof. Naoshi Koriyama.
In Japanese, it says this:
It’s said that if you
fold one-thousand paper cranes
your wish will come true.
For peace I would gladly spend
the rest of my days folding.
I’m old. I know that most of the time, rowing with just one oar on only one side of the coracle is literally madness, making one go in circles rather than making small and large progress forward through currents and cross-currents to and for better. I sense too, for a long time now, that holding matters above the waterline that otherwise would sink beneath and be lost, can often be a challenging and worthy endeavor… for those who need to be heard, for those who hope to listen deeply.
For this day, I would just hold this above the waterline:
May all elders, all mothers and fathers, all sisters and brothers,
all children rest in peace no matter how they lost their lives,
and/or how the lives of loved ones were lost
in the conflagrations called World War II.
May all from each and any ‘side’ be comforted.
May all who suffer now in wars not of their making,
be kept safe, be protected, tell their stories to the world someday.
There are never ‘only two sides’ to a war.
There are millions. As many millions as there are people.
May more and more stories be told in dignity..
May those who have ears to hear,
listen with more than ears alone.