NOTE: BagNewsNotes is now located at Please update your bookmarks.

You will be automatically redirected in a few seconds...

« Not Exactly On Paar | Main | Nobody Here But Us Cactus »

Aug 07, 2005

Ground Zero


Any thoughts on why the MSM practically ignored the 60th anniversary of the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki this past week? 

Is it because the worldwide nuke situation is so unstable that nobody wants to look too closely?  Or, could it be that the media would rather let it pass than alienate the Administration over the government's pro-atom policy, it's inability to contain nuclear trafficking (especially by Pakistan) or it's failure to maintain the Clinton administration's progress in containing North Korea's program?

This commemoration, by Peace Action New York State, spells out "Hiroshima" in the shape of human figures.  The fact the letters are both temporal and impressed into the ground couldn't be more evocative.  Perhaps more noteworthy, however, is the fact the pedestrian is walking on the memorial and seems completely oblivious. 

It also seems more than a little ominous to consider these horrific acts from a birds-eye view.

(image: Keith Bedford/Reuters.  August 6, 2005 in YahooNews)


The MSM ignored Ground Zero, Hiroshima, because the very term "Ground Zero" has been appropriated by the very same MSM and pointed toward the WTC and 9/11.

I actually read one column saying that the author (I forget who) couldn't relate Ground Zero to WWII at all - all it meant to her was 9/11.

Sad. Is it that the younger sorts can only be interested in what's happening to themselves rather than what atrocities have been inflicted upon those in the past?

I dunno. I wish I did. Maybe I'm just an old fogey....

Perhaps more noteworthy, however, is the fact the pedestrian is walking on the memorial and seems completely oblivious.
the people of hiroshima were oblivious to the havoc wreaked upon them at the time, too.

dancinfool, while i am only a young whippersnapper, i care deeply about what has happened in the past, because that gives me a clear indication of the best and worst we as humans are capable of. however many people do not, and it is a sad thing indeed.

I'm a 25-year-old from Vancouver. Growing up, I remember chalk outlines being drawn on the sidewalk every year at the beginning of August. My father, who grew up in post-war England, explained to me what they meant, and I have never forgotten.

I have noticed the conspicuous absence of these memorials around Vancouver for the last number of years. I drew my own in hopes that the neighbourhood kids would ask what they meant, but nobody did. I guess they thought it was just a game.

Does anyone else remember seeing these outlines? Are they gone in your cities too?

Saturday morning in Olympia Washington, downtown, memorials for Hiroshima and Nagasaki were abundant on the sidewalks. Chalk outlines of adults, children, and animals. Some bomb clouds were drawn, some words.

I seemed at the time to be the only person standing and looking at them, unable to walk right across them as other folks were. I noticed also that someone had taken offense to any drawings of bomb blast clouds, they had worked to erase or at least smear them.

I remember participating in a noon memorial in Seattle 24 years or so ago, we ran an air raid siren then all laid down for 15 minutes in the square. My infant son was in a carrier on my front and some mysterious man with shiny shoes took photographs of all our faces.

I think the definition of patriotism is being ever narrowed and distorted, to the point where even the act of remembering and memorializing is seen as unpatriotic.

I think the fact that 'we' dropped those atomic bombs has insulated us from how terrible they were. imagine how we would still perceive the germans or the russians if they had dropped them instead of 'us'.

In NYC, once in Midtown, on a busy corner - I happened across an artist who had placed photos of trees, flowers, birds ... and the word "environment" printed in different sizes on the sidewalk and had them taped down secure. People were walking all over the collage and not looking back. The artist took photos looking down - a lot like this scene above.

At dinner the other night the waitron gave my 2yo some crayons to play with. One of them was fluorescent orange, it was called "Atomic Orange." It's not appropriate for Crayola to name a crayon after THE weapon of mass destruction. Is it?

I'm not an old fogey but this culture is turning me into one.

Yellow Journalism

"...thoughts on why the MSM practically ignored the 60th anniversary of the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki this past week?"

probably for the same reasons why Japan does not commemorate the anniversary of The Rape of Nanking: NEARLY 370,000 CHINESE WERE MURDERED IN NANKING MASSACRE; ie., shame.

probably for the same reasons why the U.S.A. does not recognize any Iraqi peoples: ING, police, etc. as members / casualties of "The (Operation: Iraqi Freedom) Coalition" --- or, acknowledge its own ~1,800 war dead and ~18,000 wounded troops --- and will never commemorate the anniversary of The Destruction of Fallujah in IRAQ; ie., there is no glory in the collective punishment / oppressive occupation of civilians by an overwhelming military power.

Probably for the same reasons why there is no MSMedia celebration to commemorate the Hearst = Murdoch type hype that led to The Spanish-American War.

The nukings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were supposed to bring peace to the world. Instead, we're fighting more than ever. Not even the terrible power of thermonuclear weapons has really deterred us as a species from fighting. Instead, we raced to build more and entered an age of paranoia, intangible warfare fought from great distances against people we've barely heard of. The people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were sacrificed for nothing, it turns out. Every day humans fight, we're obliviously treading on the world nuclear weapons built.

Perhaps someday the legacy of nuclear weapons will fruit peace, but after only 60 years we're still slow to learn our lessons.


I didn't mean to imply that all young people can't appreciate the horror of Hiroshima. Anyone with a soul should and does. I should have mentioned that I only saw the Ground Zero = 9/11 sentiments in winger blogs and articles.


i guess its just me here in tokyo, but my feeling is that part of the problem with hiroshima is that the japanese havent accepted any responsiblity for the war yet. if you visit the hiroshima "peace" museum, you would notice no culpability in the war. it states, "there was a war, and then the U.S. dropped the bomb, twice".

but maybe its just me.

i aint screaming for an "apology" but how about some reality. or maybe some acknowledgement! fer fucks sake.

Hubris; the acknowledgement might work both ways. I don't recall the Allies issuing an apology over Nagasaki or Hiroshima, and the hundreds of thousands of people they killed in seconds. With Bush now threatening some military confrontation over Iran's nuclear policy, it's apparent that our generation has learned nothing about the horrors of atomic weapons.

Those of us who have read "A Canticle for Leibowitz" look upon our arsenal of 5,000 warheads with disgust... and then read about the funding for nuclear bunker-busters and other "safe" bombs with queasiness. Haven't we poisoned the lands and the peoples enough with those depleted, but still radioactive, shells we've used for the last 10 years?

Memorials such as this are important: the chalk outlines remind us that people, ordinary people in the midst of lives and activities, die and leave behind nothing but the shadow of a sprawled body.


I'm struck by this protest on the periphery. I could be wrong but it seems to me that the message was not etched on the sidewalk at ground zero but across the street (note the subway grating). This is in vivid contrast to the kinds of displays (flags, crosses etc.) that are permissable at the site itself.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

My Other Accounts

Blog powered by TypePad
Member since 07/2003