By Leon Runje
On September 10th 2016 the delegates of the Mirai 2016 programme visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial site. They enjoyed a guided tour of a series of monuments erected in order to preserve the memory of the detonation of the first ever nuclear device in human history as well as its harrowing consequences on the local population.
Some of the most notable exhibits were the Turtle Monument raised in the memory of the fallen Korean labourers killed by the bomb, whose souls were, according to belief, being carried to heaven by the turtle. The entire exhibition continued in this spirit, focusing on the human suffering caused by the detonation of the first ever weapon of mass destruction.
To quote one of the monuments, the Hiroshima Memorial was erected to “Preserve the memory of the suffering of the people of Hiroshima, the Korean people, as well as the American prisoners of war in Hiroshima”. The universal message of human solidarity against the devastating destruction of the atomic bomb was continued in the testimonial of one of the survivors, who went on to state: “For a long time I hated the United States of America and the Japanese state, for what they had done to me and my family and friends, however more than 10 years later I stopped to hate….. now I just wish for something like this to never happen again” .
A great positive note was the group’s visit to the place where president Barrack Obama gave his speech in which he expressed his desire for world peace and aversion towards the suffering caused by weapons of mass destruction. The presence of the American president at such a site further cemented the international message of peace sent out to the world from Hiroshima.
The visit was concluded with a visit to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum which displayed many artifacts of the destruction as well as an artistic portrayal of the human suffering caused by the bomb.