Friday, August 6, 2010

US joins Japan to mark Hiroshima memorial

The US has taken part in the memorial ceremony. That's good. But the article also does a good job showing how Japan has used the A-bombs to shield attention from its wartime atrocities. Most around the world, especially in America, are ignorant of Japan's millions (if some stats are to believed, Japan killed more than Nazi Germany - though such numbers are highly disputed. But none doubt that the victims of Japan's brutality number in the millions). None of this, of course, excuses the bombings, or the strategy that was employed. That discussion is for another time, and from a Catholic perspective, pretty well decided.

It's simply a reminder that history is best when it helps us gain perspective on the times and places and events of the past. When used to shield this horror by focusing on that, it does very little good at all. Once the Hiroshima memorials are done, it would be refreshing to see Japan honor those killed by - Japan. It would be more refreshing to see the international community gather to push Japan to repentance with the zeal that has been used to demand eternal penance from the United States. To do otherwise suggests, as it always does, less a true, principled revulsion at the events remembered, and more a convenient tool to advance various national, ideological, and personal agendas.

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