Saturday, December 30, 2017
When the president of the United States is threatening to use nuclear weapons against North Korea, a visit to Hiroshima feels essential. Peace is such a fragile thing, and violence can seem like the default setting for humankind. The people who live in Hiroshima are reminded of that constantly, whether through plaques, memorials, or the few buildings that remain standing from 1945. What must that be like, this constant confrontation with the human capacity for destruction? Does it prompt anger, or sober reflection? I've read that few Japanese really understand the role their own nation played in World War II, and I can't help but wonder whether we Americans are engaged in a similar blindness today, willfully ignorant of what is being done worldwide in our name.