Text by: Kim Kvaase.
Photos by: Milou Ze and Kim Kvaase.
The forth day of the MIRAI-Program we went to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum for a lecture by Hibakusha, an atomic bomb victim. Before this we had lectures by the Ministry on Foreign Affairs on Japan’s efforts on Nuclear Disarmament and Proactive Contribution to Peace. Here, it was emphasized how Japan being the only country to have experienced the sufferings and horrors of the use of nuclear weapons in war, had taken responsibility for advocating for a world free of nuclear weapons. I was now looking forward to hearing the experiences from a victim but did not know what to expect. I thought I already knew the horrific consequences of using nuclear weapons. But, the lecture from the atomic bomb victim gave unique insights into what an atomic bomb does to the people and environment of a place. Insights I will never forget and will bring with me in my further studies and work.
She told us about how the radiation affected many generations and thus broadened our perspectives of what an atomic bomb victim is. Furthermore, she explained how she in good faith as a little girl gave water to people that were hurt, but what she did not know was that the water was radiated and caused instant death. The feeling of guilt made her not talk about it for over 30 years and have nightmares of the sufferings she saw. This made a deep impression on all of us, you could feel how people around you were horrified. It made me think of the tremendous amount of people that had experienced horrors in the same way when the bombs were dropped. For me, this also made a special impression as in my country Norway, the Nobel Peace Prize was just to be given to her friends at the anti-nuclear weapon organization ICAN. This had caused protest by some governments, which made her lecture and determination for fighting for a world without nuclear weapons inspiring. Alone with her story, she moved us all.
After the lecture, we were lucky enough get to talk with her. We did not have much time, but the openness and unique understandings she had is extremely valuable to understand the long-term effects of nuclear weapons. These are first-hand perspectives that I think are being forgotten today. I hope many more will hear her story.
Thank you to the secretariat of the MIRAI program, our fantastic guides and all who have been a part of organizing the program. I highly recommend others to apply for this unique chance to experience Japan. It has been the most educational and inspiring trip I have ever been a part of.