Santa Cruz Good Times

Thursday
Jan 29th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

The Worst Thing on Earth

tom_honig_sWhat’s the worst thing that’s ever happened in the world? It might be hard to judge. Pick up a newspaper, turn on the television, click on Google news and there’s plenty of hard evidence that the world is going to hell in a handbasket. Is it worst in Haiti? North Korea? Sudan?

Or, choose out of the history books: the Holocaust? Mao’s extermination of enemies in China? Stalin?

One could easily make a case that the worst thing that ever happened was in Hiroshima, site of the first atomic bomb in 1945. That’s why on a recent trip to Japan, I made sure to include a visit to Hiroshima.

That Japanese city just might be the best place anywhere to gain perspective about violence, evil and the human spirit.

The extent of the horror is impossible to gauge, even while walking around the city. Sure, there are numbers—80,000 dead instantly when the bomb exploded at 8:15 a.m. on Aug. 6. Then another 50,000 or so who died from radiation in the months and years following.

The Hiroshima of today is hip, modern and thriving. And that’s what makes the search for perspective so meaningful. It’s a story of tragedy; it’s also a story of inspiration. It’s a lively city; prettier than most. Walking the streets is a pleasure.

And you can’t help but think about what it would be like if you lived there on that fateful Monday in 1945. Or … what would it be like if something like that happened in Santa Cruz? (Think back: the 1989 earthquake was bad enough.)

Well, for one thing, it makes complaining about petty irritations seem irrelevant. I got to thinking about the fringe activists who complain about the impact of paving over a vacant lot. I thought about the people—and I’m not making this up—who protested against the construction of the Double Shot down at the Boardwalk over the fear that birds would fly into it. Imagine making that argument to someone in Hiroshima.

What’s remarkable about the people of Hiroshima is their own perspective on what happened. It’s at once innovative and respectful.

They are unashamed peaceniks. One of the city’s highly prized displays at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum is a collection of telegrams and letters sent across the globe to any country that has committed a nuclear bomb test of any kind. The mayors of Hiroshima send these letters out, and most of them say: “On behalf of the citizens of Hiroshima, the first atomic bombed city in the world, I gravely protest your country’s continued reliance on the theory of nuclear deterrence … abrogating your responsibility as a nuclear power to strive toward nuclear disarmament.”

Like most visitors, I tried to imagine the horror as I stood in front of the Atomic Bomb Dome—a remnant of a military building in the heart of Hiroshima. I also tried to imagine the grace and the thoughtfulness of the people of Hiroshima while touring the Peace Museum. Here’s what amazed: they don’t play the blame game.opinion_dome

Many factors led to the horror of the bombing. But it’s a complex story, and the people of Hiroshima demonstrate remarkable and complex thinking about the events surrounding the bombing. The displays at the Peace Museum don’t sugar-coat the horror – but nor do they go histrionic in explaining events that led up to the bomb.

I couldn’t help comparing that reaction to our political climate here at home, where the slightest grievance is cause for the proverbial finger of blame.

Maybe there’s something about living in the aftermath of the worst thing that’s ever happened that breeds perspective. Maybe there’s a lesson for everyone around the globe – and right here in Santa Cruz.

Hiroshima’s place in the world centers on learning from what happened, on working diligently toward peace and on giving its people a good life. What a wonderful model for the rest of us.
Contact Tom Honig at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Throwing It All Away

Everybody’s for recycling, right? So why are we all doing it wrong? Our reporter gets down and dirty to uncover 10 secrets that will finally make the recycling process make sense

 

Aquarius Calling, Humanity Rising

Aquarius (11th sign after Aries) is the sign of service—serving one another, building community. Aquarius is fixed air, stabilizing new ideas in the world. When new ideas reach the masses the ideas become ideals within the hearts and minds of humanity. Air signs (Gemini, Libra and Aquarius) are mental. They think, ponder, study, research, gather and distribute information. For air signs, education and learning, communicating, writing, being social, tending to money, participating in groups and creating sustainable communities are most important. One of the present messages Aquarius is putting forth to the New Group of World Servers is the creation of the New Education (thus thinking) for humanity—one based not on commodities (banking/corporate values) but on virtues. Humanity and Aquarius Aquarius is the sign of humanity itself. We are now at the beginnings of the Age of Aquarius, the Age of Humanity (rising). The “rising” is the Aquarian vision of equality, unity, the distribution and sharing of all resources and of individual (Leo) creative gifts for the purpose of humanity’s (Aquarius) uplifting. This is the message in the Solar Festival of Aquarius (at the full moon) on Tuesday, Feb. 3. We join in these visions by reciting the World Prayer of Direction, the Great Invocation.Tuesday’s solar festival follows Monday’s Groundhog Day, or Imbolc (ancient Celtic fire festival) the halfway mark between winter solstice and spring Equinox). The New Group of World Servers (NGWS) during these two days are preparing for the upcoming Three Spring Solar Festivals: 1. Aries Resurrection/Easter Festival (April); 2. Taurus Buddha/Wesak Festival (May); and 3. Gemini’s Festival of Humanity (June). Aquarius and the new and full moons together are the primary astrological influences behind all of humanity’s endeavors. The NGWS are to teach these things, calling and uplifting humanity. Join us everyone. (301)

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Job Insecurity

Woman fights for her job in thoughtful, life-sized ‘Two Days One Night’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Jeffrey’s Restaurant

Why quick and friendly service matters at a local diner.

 

If you didn't live in Santa Cruz, where would you be living?

I would live in Kauai because the water is warmer, and I just love it there. Maureen Niehaus, Santa Cruz, Dental Assistant

 

Clos LaChance Wines

Pinot Noir 2012

 

Striking Gold

A taste of Soquel Vineyards’ five gold medal-winning Pinots