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Messages from Nagasaki

Japanese version

Mitsue Kubo (female)
'Chokubaku'  1.4 km from the hypocenter / 16 years old at the time / current resident of Hyogo

Photographer: Eiichi Matsumoto.
The scenes of the A-bombed city are introduced here. The photographs are not directly connected with the messages.
When the A-bomb went off I was working at an arms factory a kilometer and a half [0.9 mile] from the hypocenter in Nagasaki. The initial blast knocked me unconscious and trapped me under the wreckage. Surrounding cries of children, screaming "Help me, mom!" brought me back to consciousness. Being completely immobile, I told myself, "I can't die here! I want to live!" after minutes of desperate struggle I was able to finally free my arm. With my freed arm I grasped the leg of a friend who had been blown next to me, however she lay motionless. I called her name and shook her leg however she remained limp. Desperate to survive I continued to struggle against the debris and was somehow able to escape from under the wreckage.

An unspoken sin has been stuck in my mind since that day. How do you know when somebody has passed away, what if my friend was still alive? Despite my survival from the burning wreckage, every year on August 9th I am reminded of my friends unresponsive, limp body trapped under the debris. How does one apologize for this except through prayer?

Human beings wage war and made atomic-bombs. The human decision to drop the bombs instantly erased over 200,000 lives from Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined. War gives rise to the most deplorable states of the human condition, and causes undeniable suffering. Not a day goes by without me both regretting the existence of war and praying for the abolition of nuclear weapons.

As individuals our wishes are but whispers yet, as many, enormous power can be born. I strongly believe that we must utilize this power responsibly to oppose wars and protect the whispers of peace.