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For Those Who Pray for Peace
Peace Through the Mill

Nobuko Nawata
56th graduate of Hiroshima Jogakuin Kojo,2nd graduate of High School Residing in Osaka city

 Driving on an unknown road in France, Aya still felt the warm hand of Mr. T., the pilot of the B-29 "Enola Gay", which dropped the A-bomb.
 Only a few minutes ago she shook his hand. At the same time, Aya keenly thought about this man who had been living in anguish for 35 years. He might say to himself in his mind, "My God! What have we done? If I live a hundred years, I'll never be able to get this thought out of my mind."

 "Don't you know that the city was completely destroyed?" the newscaster of T.V. France asked to Mr. T.
 "Yes, I know."
 "Did you repent of it?"
 "No, I didn't."
 "Do you now repent even though Aya beside you, might have died?"
 "No, I don't."

 The shocking implication of the conversation could have knocked Aya down with mere brush of a feather. "Who's he?" Aya whispered.  "Is there a connection between this man and the bomb? How anguished he is!"

 Aya, pondered this and felt sorry for the man and could not look at him directly in the face. Perhaps his features might suddenly comfort with pain and reveal his inner agony of soul.

 It was in February 1981 when Pope Jon Paul came to Japan. Just 10 days before the Pope visited Japan, Aya suddenly received a telephone call from T.V. France through Japan T.V. They said that they were looking for someone who could go to France and appear on T.V. at the same time that the Pope was giving the Appeal for Peace in Hiroshima. The reason why she was called was that she filled the necessary requirements for a meeting. Aya was a person who had been severely exposed to the awful experience of the bombing in Hiroshima as a child and as a young woman she had become a sister.

 At first Aya refused the invitation. A few days later, she was called again, and told that they could not find any one else to represent the victims of the bomb. Aya could not continue to refuse. She accepted the invitation.

 In France Aya had a surprise meeting with the pilot. She did not know who or what he was until the coverage was over. But she felt what he experienced in the exchange of words, which gripped her heart and held her fast. It seemed to her that his response to the questions could not have been otherwise. Aya thought, if she had been in his position, perhaps she would have answered in the same way.

 Of course, he could refuse to obey orders but could he virtually refuse in his situation? Wouldn't the bomb have been dropped anyway if he had refused? Some one else surely would have replaced him and dropped the bomb in his place.

 The damage from the bomb created unspeakable misery. Nobody could have imagined its violence; 200,000 people had been killed in an instant.
 That was not all.
 Many people were transformed into monsters. Some of the survivors ground the bones of their dead neighbors into powder, and applied them to the burns of their own bodies with total indifference, in order to cure themselves; no one had medicine or medical treatment at that time. Every-body desperately tried to do something for themselves no matter what the remedy! They heard that calcium might be effective for burns. They believed this and applied the crushed bones of their fellow human to their own burned bodies.

 Is it possible for human beings to do such things under normal conditions? Is it possible for human beings to kill a single person in normal conditions? Is it possible for some one to use such a bomb in normal conditions? Who is normal? It is the insanity of war?
 The war transforms man into a crazy beast! The war is a devouring beast that feeds upon humanity itself that has become a beast in the utter destruction of its Nature. The Beast devours a beast. This is war!
 What was Aya doing at that terrible summer day in August 1945?
 Instead of studying, all the students below grade two of the second Middle School were working as laborers on the compulsory dismantling of houses, which was carried out to create firebreaks in the built up areas of the city. All the students above grade three had to work at the military supplies companies.

 Then, Aya would have been on the compulsory dismantling of houses, but she was in bed. There was little or nothing the matter with her, but she was tired out and said to her mother, "I am feeling off today." Hearing that, her mother was greatly anxious about her and forced her to be in bed.

 Aya wanted to go and do her duty; her mother did not want her to go. Aya decided to wait for her friend who usually called on her on the way, and they went together every day, but on this day, Aya was lying on her bed with her school uniform on.
 She wondered what had happened to her friend? She did not call for Aya that day. Had Aya missed an opportunity to do her duty through mere laziness? Was she wasting precious time lying on her bed thinking about this, that, and other things?

 Suddenly, there was a great flash and boom, as if some one had taken a photograph of the whole city with a gigantic camera. She could not fathom what was happening. In what seemed but a few moments, Aya found herself under the now destroyed house, as did countless other people, many of whom were killed by the awful fires raging everywhere.
 Fortunately for Aya, she was dug out from beneath the rubble before the fire reached her destroyed house. However, she did not escape the deadly influence of radiation sickness caused by the bomb, and she hovered between life and death for three months. She finally triumphed over the disease without any treatments, without even one drug.

 One day after the long hot summer had ended, Aya happened to meet the mother of her school friend, who used to call for her except for that final day in summer when she did not appear.
 "What was the matter with Kimi on that day?"
 Kimi was her friend's name.
 "Where is she now?" "Is she well?"
 Aya asked successive questions of Kimi's mother. Her brow furrowed and her eyes dimmed with tears. She tried to answer as calm as she could.

 "On that day Kimi had a headache, and she wanted to stay at home. But saying that the soldiers in the front fought hard for us, so that she should not neglect her duty only because of a headache, I forced her to go. She dawdled and she was too late to call for you. I sent her on her way. That was the last I saw her. Kimi never came back to me. I could not find even a small piece of her bone."
 "Heavens, what a ….!" In astonishment and disbelief Aya inwardly cried: "Oh I hate it! Kimi! Kimi! What a ….!" "I was not really ill, but I was encouraged to remain in bed by my mother and was saved. Kimi was really ill, but her mother forced her to go and she was killed."

 Who could praise or blame Kimi's mother? The war made her crazy. That is the war. War! It is a terrible thief that steals sons from mothers, husbands from wives, and deprives the children of parents. It steals the children from the parents and the earth is barren. "Rachel weeps for her children who are no more." (Jeremiah 31:15)
 Mr. T. brought the bomb, but he was not so much a murderer as a victim along with the rest of the people of the city.

 Some survivors felt that their city and been chosen for the singular purpose of suffering profoundly in order to bring peace to the world. They look upon their 200,000 dead as sacrificial victims for peace and deeper insight into the meaning of suffering itself. Without suffering there is no seeing. Without sight there is no real joy.

 Furthermore, Aya deeply meditates upon the two new bombs used in the World War , and believes that the responsibility belongs to all the people in this world: both those who brought them and those who directly suffered from the bombs.

 "I wonder if we, including myself, remember all the victims? If not, did they die to no purpose?"
 Aya ponders the warm hand of Mr. T ...

his heart
    his agony …
      then mingles it

with her heart and let it disappear as one into the boundless mystery of Love eternal.

…74 years old