Wednesday, July 19, 2017

barefoot gen

I read this manga about the atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Reading the wikipedia article on it, I learned there were 150 people in both Hiroshima and Nagasaki. One guy is famous and lived to be 93, his name is Tsutomu Yamaguchi. Imagine being in Hiroshima for business, and boom. Then he goes home to Nagasaki and feeling better goes to work and boom, another one drops. He must be in that moment, what is it going to rain atom bombs?!

The manga covers the wacked out nationalism of Japan, thinking their emperor was a god, and how devotion to the country was a society norm. In a way, it's hard to see how they make the Japansese give up without the atom bomb. WW2 is the only just war I can think of, for America. As terrible as dropping an A bomb on a city is, did it ultimately prevent further deaths? That might be a utilitarian argument for dropping the bomb. I think taking life like that is wrong, but I'll never be president even though I'm old enough, because I'm too idealistic about peace. It certainly was a wake up call for Japan and as presented wasn't totally unprovoked. Unintended consequences of such fierce nationalism. We're supposedly responsible for the consequences of our choices. Nobody would ask for that and consequence blindness is everywhere.

The air raid that preceded the bombing, gave everyone a false sense of security and the bomb went off without people being in their air raid shelters. Then the terrible fires killed many who were trapped by fallen buildings. What a horrible thing.

There's a book called Zen at War, about how even Buddhist participated in this nationalism and militarism in Japan. And that reminds me that ethnic Buddhists can justify war. There's a book called Buddhists at war. I feel like anyone truly following the path could not participate in war. But that's just my opinion and I'm not going to say someone who self identifies as a Buddhist who is in war is not one to their face. I just don't think they are really Buddhists just like I don't think America is really a Christian nation based on it's actions. America is a cultural Christian nation, but when it comes to really following the doctrines and the path, that doesn't really happen.

So my next graphic novel is Palestine. Another thorny subject.

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