A-bomb hypocenter, Hiroshima, Japan
There is no humanness to these spaces. No feeling of the suffering of those past. It it a completely blown out place. Destruction so complete it is hollow and vacant. Completely different from the concentration camp I went to in Austria. There, you could feel the death inside the gas chamber and the broiler rooms. Here, I felt nothing but shame. White blank shame.
I highly recommend every person goes to places like this in their life. You can then begin to understand what the word “haunted” means. There are places with the weight of history, of our memory, of our humanity. So many hands of scraped these walls, feet walked these ruts, blood stained these grounds. We cannot scrub them out, and we should not try. To know ourselves, we absolutely have to touch them. We cannot be citizens of a global world without actually knowing the shape of both the world and ourselves. Our potential is in understanding our failures. And committing to be better.
It is all we can do. Stare up into these places: a-bomb hypocenters, the scars of firebombed cities, concentration camps, mass graves and think: never again.
Because in the face of these places, there are no other words. Despite using language to have made these decisions, what language can we use to undo them? To make penance? It isn’t even touchable. It exists on a whole different plane of existence. I don’t know where the connecting wire is between the two. I stare at my reflection in the window of the train as I move closer to Nagasaki, to the second bomb’s site, and what am I to think? There is nothing but blank white. A sheet that will not be writ upon, but one that scorched the mind, burns the heart, chars the bones, and tears whatever a soul is apart. Disintegrated. That’s what it is. And it’s not right.
I have nothing but mute, dumb, numb aching in the face of it. I stand with my hands limp at my side, staring blankly at the sky, because what else should I do? Cry? Yeah right.
My tears are no water on this fire. No balm on these wounds. No healing touch on these scars.
I feel so small.