Peace activists hold Hiroshima rally

Ryan Ross
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A peace rally and memorial service was held for the Hiroshima bombing at Confederation Landing Park Monday.

As the world marked the 67th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing, some people in P.E.I. gathered Monday in the hope that something like it never happens again.

Yasumasa Koiwai, a Japanese exchange student who attended a rally in Charlottetown, said it wasn't a question of whether using the atomic bomb was right or wrong.

"A lot of people were already killed so we must learn about the mistakes," he said.

About 100 people gathered in Confederation Landing Park Monday to mark the anniversary of the first use of an atomic weapon against a civilian population.

On Aug. 6, 1945, an American bomber dropped its payload on Hiroshima, killing as many as 140,000 people.

The Americans dropped another bomb on Nagasaki three days later.

Every year for the last eight years the Island Peace Committee has held a rally to mark the anniversary of the Hiroshima attack.

Koiwai said it's important to mark the event because the attack killed a lot of people.

"We never forget the event," he said.

Hirokazu Mitsimura, a Japanese studies professor at UPEI who spoke at the rally, said prayer is the source of peace and a way to destroy all fear.

"Let no more children fall victim to an atomic bombing," he said.

During his speech, Mitsimura sent out a plea for the people of the world to put a stop to war, but said the question is how to do that because people cause war.

"How and with what can we extinguish the flame of hatred," he said.

Misha Dauphinais-Matheson, a volunteer with the Island Peace Committee, said the bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima were two of the most destructive acts of war in history.

"It's important to recognize that that happened and that those sorts of senseless acts of war against innocent civilians are still happening today," he said.

Even though the bombings were 67 years ago, Dauphinais-Matheson said it's important to get people together to just deliver a message of peace.

"That's the impact we're looking for is to just remind those individuals who are looking for peace that they're not alone and that we're striving towards that as much as possible."

rross@theguardian.pe.ca

twitter.com/ryanrross

Organizations: Island Peace Committee, UPEI

Geographic location: Hiroshima, Nagasaki, P.E.I. Charlottetown Confederation Landing Park

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  • Dan A.
    August 07, 2012 - 13:59

    I also questioned the curious omissions of Japanese atrocities and the millions of people who died as a result of the Japanese war of aggression. These so-called peace activists present the case almost as if nothing before Hiroshima matters and Truman was some sort of tyrant. Japan had attacked the Pacific nations in a brutal fashion and was responsible for a gross and appalling string of crimes against humanity. Even when it was clear that Japan would lose the war it had brought to the world it refused to surrender and vowed to continue fighting and continue killing. The Japanese government was given full warning that if they didn't stop the war it would mean utter destruction of their empire. The war was a bloody and uncomfortable chapter in recent history but blaming the victim and omitting all of Japan's crimes is simply preposterous. Frankly, I think this so-called peace memorial is akin to remembering the victims of Berlin without mentioning the holocaust. I'm surprised that Veterans groups are letting this re-write of history go un-noticed.

  • Dan
    August 07, 2012 - 12:46

    Agreed, but WWII was a different animal. We cannot project our modern values onto the mindset which was prevelant in the past. Even though we view it as a wrong, during WWII the civilian populace WERE legitimate targets and this was unquestioned.

  • Dan
    August 07, 2012 - 07:46

    "Misha Dauphinais-Matheson, a volunteer with the Island Peace Committee, said the bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima were two of the most destructive acts of war in history." Twice as many people died as a result of the Japanese raping of the Chinese city of Nanking than died in the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I think those bombings made perfect sense considering the brutal and unreasonable nature of the Japanese government at that time.

    • there is a difference
      August 07, 2012 - 10:59

      Women and children did not rape Nanking. It was Japanese soldiers. I agree, the atrocities committed by the Japanese military were terrible but does that make civilians a legitimate target in a war? Did the people working in the World Trade Centre deserve to die simply because they weren't wearing a military uniform? That's the point of this rally and vigil. If you are a human being and value life, then war and the death of civilians by military forces throughout the world needs to be eliminated.