We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art, and very often in our art, the art of words.

Ursla Le Guin (1929-2018)

National Book Foundation speech, 2014

The 75th Anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki

Recorded: August 9th, 2020


It is 75 years since the US dropped two atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan leading to the end of the second world war.

A bell rang out to commemorate the moment the bomb struck Nagasaki 75 years ago. The Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and the major of Nagasaki spoke at the anniversary event. It's estimated more than 70, 74,000 more people died in Nagasaki on this day, 9th of August and 170,000 more when the first atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima three days earlier. The bombs led to Japan's surrender in World War II but the radiation from the bombs caused the deaths of thousands in the months and years that followed.

Well, those who survived are called hibakusha in Japanese. Terumi Tanaka is one of them. He was a 13 year old school pupil when the bomb was dropped on his home town and recalls the moment of the explosion:

All of a sudden I heard a big sound. I didn't know what the sound was. As soon as I thought I heard the big sound my surroundings turned a bright white. People say it was a flash, but to me everything turned bright white. I didn't hear a sound so I was surprised. I felt this was something terrible so I ran downstairs and ducked. I covered my ears and closed my eyes and the moment I ducked down I lost consciousness.

In the burnt ruins there were shapes that resembled human beings or bodies that had crumbled into bones everywhere. Rescuers hadn't arrived after three days,so those who couldn't move due to serious injuries or severe burns and hadn't received help were hunched or lying on the ground...

That is Terumi Tanaka who was 13 at the time the bomb was dropped on Nagasaki 75 years ago. Now to football...


This video is more raw and intense than the equivalent report on Hiroshima which was more propaganda for the legitimacy of mutually assure destruction than a commemoration. At least here we hear something of a survivor's experience.

But notice the framing, the meme that the bombings led to the end of the war is repeated twice. A useful example of how to lie with the truth. The possibility that the war could have ended without the bombings is simply disappeared...

For a more complete truth read John Pilger's Another Hiroshima is Coming — Unless We Stop It Now.

getfiles: The 75th Anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki

MP4 (Full HD Video), 156.76 mb