Saturday, November 3, 2012

Google Maps Series :: Nagasaki

First, I had this idea that I wanted to see evidence of human compassion and interest in places around the globe where war and conflict have left gaping scars, whether literally (like on the landscape) or less visibly (like generations of birth defects). I wanted to find memorials, altars, flowers, graffiti, etc.

But something else happened instead. When I got to Hiroshima, my computer started freezing up. The images just wouldn't load. I ended up escaping and taking a break. When I came back, I went to Nagasaki to see what I might find there. The pages still wouldn't  load, but I started to become very interested in these haunting in-between images. I think they speak to the chaos and disorientation that the people of this city must have felt when the bomb turned their world upside down.

In researching for this project, I looked at images and read articles about the birth defects that stretched out in the wake of these bombings. Truly horrifying. Children born, well, like this.

But you know what is even more horrifying? That we can't just compartmentalize this and say, "Gosh, that was so awful way back then." Because We Are Still Doing This! The US used chemical weapons against Fallujah in 2004 and now their babies are born with two heads, missing limbs, extra limbs, scaly skin, cancer and in one case a boy was born with a single eye in the middle of his face. This is happening right now. Also in Gaza where the US has provided Israel with white phosphorus, which is what was used in Fallujah.

Someone in my class said the other day that the thing that bothers her the most (in life? in the whole world?) is things being dirty. Well, girl, this is filthy. This is unacceptably filthy.

But does it bother you? At all? Or are you just annoyed that I bring it up at all?


  1. Do the Hiroshima shadows still exist? I imagine they would be painted over or torn down. You wouldn't want a daily reminder of that kind of thing. I think that is ultimately sad, just a shadow left on a wall of what was once a living, breathing person. Maybe they had just fallen in love or were on their way home with some exciting news. Maybe they were broken hearted or angry, annoyed or nostalgic. And then, the bright flash, the wall of heat...and you are just a shadow burned into a wall because some people in your government are angry with some people in a government hundreds of miles away. The whole thing is horrible and, as you say, filthy.

  2. ^^ that. All of that.

  3. The whole chemical weapons thing is really messed up. I was more or less referring to things being dirty as something that annoys me, in a more literal context, such as disorderly things and actual dirt and grime. But, I do have a heart and a soft spot for people and I do think it is sad that these people have to be born with birth defects because of something our country did.

    1. Totally. It's really encouraging to me when I realize that no matter what party we might lean towards or how our beliefs differ, there are some basic things completely wrongs with this world that we all agree on. Let's do something about it!

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