Dehumanization incinerates both love and compassion
and in a blinding instant
A human being is rendered to carbonized charcoal
Another is vaporized on impact, torn from the fabric of existence in a single heartbeat
The only vestiges of them that remain are atomic bomb shadows,
Haunting, stark silhouettes of their lives that loom across concrete buildings and steps
There are no names, no faces, affiliated with these shadows
Because they were dehumanized during the war.
Each complexity was taken apart and reduced to a fundamental truth over and over again until there was almost nothing left.
It’s only because flying over the pacific to Japan with intention to abruptly and cruelly end the gruelling war, was simplified to an array of mere movements, of steps
Open the cargo bay
Watch Little Boy drop in tense silence
Hopefully, it will work.
Hopefully, it will detonate, and our enemy will finally surrender and cripple beneath the whim of the bomb’s incredible and elusive power.
Empathy, human understanding, is incinerated the moment an atomic bomb is discovered in the pandora’s box of a new science and unleashed.
The scintillating, bright light pervades the sky,
blinding people as the prelude to the explosion.
The explosion rumbles like deep, growling thunder, and suddenly everything is consumed by a thick, black cloud of radioactive material.
The violent gust of wind that follows blows outwards, changes direction, and blows back in again, unrelenting and powerful enough to shake the foundation of buildings and tear them up from the ground.
The radioactive burns are fervent enough to melt peoples’ skin off and leave it dangling from their arms,
so that when they stumble around aimlessly, they can only hold their arms up and wander like ghosts amid the desecration.
The invisible and equally as insidious radiation travels quietly and undetected into people, so deeply embedded it cannot be fully extracted,
Much like the prejudice and dehumanization and vengeance reminiscent of Pearl Harbor that was cultivated during the war.
Acid black rain falls along with the radioactive ash,
as if the world was turned upside down momentarily
and hell had descended upon Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The fires that were extinguished when the bomb dropped incessantly burned for days and weeks on end, leaving lingering tragedy in its wake
Along with irreversible scars.
Scars may be irreversible
And yet despite it,
Just a week ago, twenty Japanese girls departed from the Arcata airport
After they were welcomed into numerous homes, including my own
During the two weeks they were here,
They were not inhuman
They were not “Japs”
And they were not our enemies.
They were our friends
And they were human.
Love incinerates the darkness,
And in a blinding, beautiful instant,