During the month of April, while members of the World Dreams
Peace Bridge watched in horror at the deaths of hundreds of people in
fighting in Fallujah, Iraq, a very interesting conversation sprang up
on the Bridge, having to do with not the current war but with World War
Two. Because of the depth of this conversation, I would like to
share it with you.
I believe it demonstrates the value of people around the world dreaming together and talking together.
The original post came from Jeremy in Korea, and contained the riveting
title, "My Mother Died in Hiroshima." Here is what he said:
Dear Dream Family,
My father was Manager for the Budget for the Atomic Energy Commission
in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, so my family lived there after WWII from the
late 40's through 51. Laboratories there processed nuclear fuels for
atomic bomb research and production. My mother contracted Breast Cancer
at the age of 33 and died at 34. The last year of her life I wasn't
able to see her because she was in hospital in New York and my father
was bound to stay in Oak Ridge because of the Korean War. I was 4 when
she left me and 5 when she died. Only now, searching the web on a whim
did I realize the possibility that she might have been exposed to
radiation in Oak Ridge, maybe on a tour of facilities with a friend,
and so died just as many died in Hiroshima. Here are the extracts from
Oak Ridge Radiation:
Oak Ridge National
Laboratory, Tennessee. All cancer mortality was found to have a
positive correlation with radiation exposure and indicates that
sensitivity to radiation-induced cancer increases with older ages at
exposure. (Study No. 5)
A second and
earlier study found a low overall death rate when compared with the
general public, which is consistent with a "healthy worker effect."
However the authors also found an increased risk of dying from all
cancers is 10 times greater than extrapolations from high dose studies
of Japanese A-bomb survivors. ( Study No. 6)
A third study found
that adjustment for date of hire, employment duration, exposure to
beryllium, lead and mercury had little effect on radiation risk
Study No. 7)
Oak Ridge Y-12
weapons Plant, Tennessee. Total mortality was low as expected for this
group indicating a "healthy worker effect." The study also found
elevated death rates for brain cancer, several lymphopoetic (immune
system) cancers, prostate, kidney and pancreas. Excess death from
breast cancer among women was found. The authors found excess lung
cancer as their main finding and urged that this disease warrants
continued surveillance. (Study No. 8)
An earlier study found similar risks, with a marginal dose-response trend for lung cancer only. (study No.9)
She named me Fred, Peace, and it is no accident that I have become a peace worker. Yes, my mother died in Hiroshima.
Because there are people from many countries
who participate in the World Dreams discussion group, I was curious to
see what the responses would be. The next post came from Kotaro in
I cannot find any words. Your mother had to leave you at so young age.
She is/was another Hibakusha, right? Depleted Uranium bombs are making
other small Hiroshimas in Iraq....sorry, I cannot continue writing.
Warm wishes and hopes,
Kotaro also created a beautiful mandala to
express his feelings, saying: "Hibakusha means the atomic bomb victim
or survivor of atom-bombing. And...as I have no word to express my
sadness, I made a mandala according to my feelings reminding of you and
From Germany, Ralf wrote:
I hope I didn't hurt your feelings with my dream posting. Maybe I did
with my comment on what synchronicities I'm seeing. Please excuse
me, Jeremy! Of course your mother didn't throw a bomb. I guess you are
right to suspect, she may have suffered from radiation of facilities.
What I want to point out is the sad fact - we often forget - that all the suffering we cause, in a way comes back to us.
It is sad, that depleted uranium is used for bullets meant to kill the
enemies in Iraq. But now we know, this deed returned effect to those
who fired the bullets. Largely unaware of the contaminated load, they
were bringing to the land and people there. All this suffering has been
caused - as some politicians say - for me too, for a free and
democratic world. I sometimes feel, like I press the button... like in
It is then of course cynical and cruel on top of that to not inform the
soldiers of the danger. Those, who knew it (the politicians,
weapon producers, atomic industry) didn't suffer from radiation,
seemingly. A cruel and hidden game of greed and power. That needs to be
unveiled of course. I'm tired now, but can't sleep. Did get up in the
middle of the night and check mailbox. Sometimes it is simply too much
to get rest and find peaceful sleep and dreams. Sometimes I feel
like finding all the battles of the globe in my little everyday life,
too. Small misunderstandings leading to great struggles, but there are
also peaceful and healing situations.
Keep on your good peace work, Jeremy! This night is meant for rainbows and candles, I'll give it another try.
To which Jeremy replied:
I must've been writing my reply the same second you we sending your 2nd
post. No, don't worry, you didn't hurt my feelings at all. In fact, I
appreciated your dream and your concern. It's true what you say about
depleted uranium, and it is a crime not to inform or protect the
soldiers to deliver it to - its a crime to use it at all. The poor
civilians, especially who pick it up in the desert not knowing what it
is - even children, and of course the children born of contaminated
And you are near to Cherno ... and the fear and reality of contaminated crops and streams.
I thank you for your warm and heart-felt concern.
Clearly Jeremy's post had struck deeply into
the hearts of many people on the Bridge. And then came this post
from Diana in Washington state:
I'm so sorry,
Jeremy for your loss. I don't understand the shortsightedness of
actions taken throughout recent history. It might be a bomb, it
might be a drug, it might be an environmental displacement or
introduction of a creation. It might just be my opinion, but why
don't people ask themselves, "What happens tomorrow?" It's not
just war, so many things would not be a crisis today or I'm quite sure
tomorrow, if people chose to recognize facts
that they themselves already know. It must be greed in many cases.
The reason I say recent history, is because we have the ability to
devastate in a major way. I suppose the ability to
devastate through introduction of species in an unprepared
biosystem isn't new, though. (rambling)
My mother was a child in Japan at the time of the bombings not so far
from Nagasaki. She had already been an orphan for awhile before
the war started, but still had a home. It burned to the ground,
and she told me how she ran back into the house to save a funeral
shrine house. Her brother disappeared and she didn't know he was
alive until about 1985 or so. She's actually never seen him since
somewhere in the 1940's. He's still alive, in Tokyo. He thinks of
her as a little girl, and sends her small toys sometimes. She's told me
a few things that were so very sad. People dying in the streets,
and crying out for help, and you have to walk on. I think I've only
asked her twice to talk about it in my whole life. Not a nice
place to go. When I was in high school, they played some footage
from documentary films some night, an extra-curricular activity, that
graphically showed and described how victims died.
A friend had sent a thought provoking site a month ago, a pictorial ride through Chernobyl: http://www.angelfire.com/extreme4/kiddofspeed/
I totally understand why my mother is the way she is. It's the
way she had to be. What bothers me is when people forget the
individuals who are called to serve in a war. What does it
do? Creates or confirms some society boundary. It's
confusing because some boundaries are necessary. What can be done
to stop terrorists or at least quarantine them to a point that they
can't organize? What can be done, so that people realize the
extent of many lives lost to achieve an end? The thing is, there
are probably few that are so absolved to create this tragedy, but why
must so many die to achieve the vision of an errant focus of some
terrorist. Why do people follow ideals that don't include
all? What can be done to change that, so that irregardless of
belief, need, want, self, all work together toward goals that are best
for the all?
I know I'm confusing, because I talk about individuals and all, but
each is a part of all. I really think most people want
peace. How do you stop icons or charismatic types that
don't? Education. Sad it won't happen overnight. It
needs to start everywhere at once. Here too.
By the time I finished reading Diana's post, it
was clear to me that I wanted to share this profound conversation with
the broader dream community. I sent a message to the group asking for
permission use what was being said in this View from the Bridge,
pointing out how unusual it was to find a place where people from the
US, German and Japan could share such feelings. Immediately Kathy
responded from Australia:
Jean - I've
only seen your email because I saw Kotaro's reply! BUT the combination
is even more amazing: we also have Americans whose "parents"
fought and bombed the Japanese, just as we have Kotaro; we also have
Australians who fought the Japanese and the Germans and the Turkish!!!
(our day of military celebration is ANZAC Day - we celebrate a huge
DEFEAT of us by Turkish soldiers when we "landed", really invaded
Turkey during World War 1. And the reason so many were killed was
because of either British bungling or more likely British 'strategic'
planning in which colonial troops were easily sacrificed for british
opps sorry!! the greater good! I suppose we also have
someone from England??? We are a wonderful dream body of peace!
And then came the response from Ilkin in Turkey:
we are celebrating Ancak day too (with many wisitors from Australia,
grandchildren of the soldiers etc). My grandmother used to tell us
those days she lived in the middle of the war (the occupation troops
made their house headquarters) and she always told about Australians in
a good way. Love- ilkin
Ilkin also sent a post in which she said to Jeremy:
yesterday I happened to see the opening of an exhibition at an old
Jewish help house (which I made a part of the interview I showed you
about the sinking Jewish boats at the Bosphorus during 2nd WW). They
said that it is for the anniversary of holocoust, from a concentration
camp near Prag. There were photos of the children too. What I learned
is, it was a (I can't remember the name) special concentration camp
with painting etc activities where they sent four thousand children and
only 4 (or may be 2) could get out alive. The paintings were from 1942-
1943 (some 40- 50 of more than 6.000 they found). It was
interesting that there was not so much violence or war in the paintings
(may be it was the begining period). I walked around and look at the
paintings, thinking of you. I think, I understand the importance of
"Peace Train" once more.
Love to you all - ilkin
Kathy got another response from May, who lives now in San Francisco:
Hey, Kathy and
all, don't forget the Chinese when we talk about Hiroshima. I grew up
in World War II, remember the fear and hatred we had for the Japanese.
Though my family was fortunate enough to move to the save region the
Japanese were pushing closer and closer. That kind of fear and panic,
feeling your back is against the wall with no more ground to retreat. I
think you were all too young to experience that war. We CELEBRATED when
bombs were dropped and Japan surrendered. Yes, Kathy, we do make a good
peace group. "Peace" maybe just a concept unless someone has lived
through terror. I admire Chayim for that reason.
Let us continue our peace work in as an honest way as we can and
encourage each other.
Followed immediately by a second post:
folks, my last mail about my own experience of fear at the end of
W.W.II, and how I may relate to the concept of "peace" needs to be
corrected. The way it was sounded like as if only those who had gone
through fear would truly embrace peace. This is definitely NOT true! I
have never thought of this before until now: how do personal
experiences with fear affect how each person understands/relates to
Time for bed and I'm not thinking clearly so here is wishing you wise
In some very deep ways, the entire group was
struggling to comprehend the enormity of violence, the kinds of
feelings that could lead for example to a photograph in a recent issue
of Newsweek which shows a smiling Iraqi boy, maybe two years of age,
holding the rifle one of the smiling men seated around the room has
given him to play with.
Kotaro responded to May's post with the following answer:
I never forget China and those people who suffered and murdered by
Japanese, I dare not use the word Japanese army because I know in those
days during World War 2 most of the Japanese were in superior complex
to other Asian countries, Corea, China, Taiwan, Indonesia, and so on.
There is no 'if' in the history but I think I would be certainly one of
them if I was born in those years, I would try to be a good soldier for
Hirohito and God blessed country. This imagination always terrified me.
I don't want to use the concept of generations here, but just wish to
say what I was thinking in a small park of Nagasaki was beyond the
countries. I wrote 'everything has changed in that summer 1954' which
means nuclear weapons are not just extended weapons, they come to have
another dimension for mankind. And yet I do not neglect any kind of
victims of that War.
In 1960's I could watch the TV program of World War 2 that was made of
full color film documentary which were took by Moupack, the American
Navy's Film crews. Most of the film was on pacific war, including
Kamikaze attacks. I come to hate to be being a human when I watch that
program. I saw many Zero fighters attacked U.S. Navy's Gun ships. I
didn't just feel compassion with
the pilots on Kamikaze, but I was imagining those soldiers on the
bridge and their lovers, parents, kids, and the very cameraman who was
taking those scenes. Being a human has a possibilities to be an
invaders for other people and simultaneously to be a victim.
And also I tried not to miss any chance to see or read on Japanese
invasion. Through this my experience at least I could know what kind of
actions could be done when I lose wide and high point of view.
When I was high school boy in 1969-71, a song was popular among young
people. The title is 'the children who don't know the War'. I did hate
this song. I was crying out in my mind 'You don't know the war? You
just don't try to know the war!'
In 1970, Chinese government announced ' we will forgive, but never
forget.' to prime minister Eisaku Tanaka. I felt a kind of uneasiness
reading this expression on paper. If we remain on this level forever,
China will be accused by Tibetan people someday and announced by same
words, and Japan could say to U.S. A. the same words for Atomic Bombs
and at once Japan would be denounced by most of Asian countries and
winners countries of WW2.
It seems unceasing.
But the war is unceasing on this planet. Yes, I've used the word
'planet', not the earth. This notion is not so strange today because of
development for searching universe and global communications through
internet just like we are doing here.
Not to escape from watching the bloody and sad things are happening now
and at same time to have...what shall I say, ...cosmic sense will be
much more and more important when we wish for the peace.
Much love to you,
To this, May replied:
Kotaro: Here we are, a Japanese and a Chinese, with genuine affection
for each other. As a matter of fact, dear friend, you, alone, have made
more basic differences in my feelings toward the Japanese than any
other single factor. I have felt close to you, respected you since the
beginning. Your little flowers (photos that Kotaro has been sending)
are the new stars in our Planet. Your mail today demonstrated the
qualities in you that I cherished...
And after answering Kotaro's mail point-by-point, May concluded:
Exactly. How do we promote peace? By posts like these on the Bridge.
Right, everybody? None of our hands are totally without blood.
This month the Peace Bridge Aid for Traumatized
Children Project sent money for a third shipment of therapeutic toys to
Baghdad. If you would like to join in that effort, please take a