Saturday, April 9, 2011

Planting Seeds

I wonder why it is that some articles, we may read them, and then, forget them, while others are so haunting, we become obssessed with them? Case in point:
I read an article moments ago, regarding the radiation in the soil, which Japan has measured, which indicates they cannot plant rice...rice!....the main-stay of their entire way of life, unable to be planted....The article detailed the reactions to yesterday's (3rd in three weeks) earthquake, too.
In another bit of news, I discovered the Oak Ridge Nuclear facility in Tennessee, is not a "peaceful use" of nuclear power for energy, but rather, a NUCLEAR WEAPONS facility--the first in the USA, in nearly four decades.That's right--we are again manufacturing incredibly lethal nuclear weapons. At a time when people are starving, both in Japan, and here at home, we are committing over 7 Billion Dollars to even more Nuclear Weapons.
Below, I've posted the observations from that first article, which I just posted on the "News Feed" on Facebook:
"Matsuko Ito said she screamed when the violent shaking woke her up around 11:30 p.m. She's not sure she can take much more.
"It's enough," said the 64-year-old while smoking a cigarette outside the shelter where she has been living in the small northeastern city of Natori. "Something has changed. The world feels strange now. Even the way the clouds move isn't right."

Even the way the clouds move isn't right. And images of all the clouds we've ever seen, rising over Japan, immediately flash into my mind.
And I think: is this Earthquake(s)/Tsunami/Nuclear disaster, this generation's Hiroshima/Nagasaki?Is it possible that a "Natural Disaster" could trump--in terms of enormity--the man-made(USA-made) atrocity committed on Japan, so many, many years ago?
I remember watching, just a few years ago,with my dear friends and fellow-Pax Christi members, Joe and Mary Jean Goode, a well-known HBO documentary, "White Light/Black Rain" about Japan, and the interviews conducted with educated, professional young people in major cities, Tokyo among them.They were told a month and day and year: August 6th, 1945, and asked what happened on that day.
Not a single young person(all under 25) could say for what that date, was famous. Most guessed it was a celebrity's birthday, or other such nonsense. I remember crying when I realized no one in their younger generation remembers Hiroshima, or Nagasaki(August 9th, 1945), anymore.
I realized no one recalls the bad, the horrific, the shameful.
And it occurred to me just now, that we are, generationally, like the lover who remembers only the good, and none of the bad.We rewrite our histories with the loves of our lives, just as we rewrite our country's histories,our government's moments of rage, hate, racism, and revenge.
It was rage, hate, racism, and notably, revenge, when the government of the United States of America, dropped those bombs on the civilian people of Japan.Innocuously named "Little Boy" (the bomb we dropped on Hiroshima), and "Fat Boy", (the bomb we tossed onto Nagasaki), did we simply decide we had the "right" to murder hundreds of thousands of innocent people instantly, while guaranteeing the deaths of millions, later? The argument is always "we saved more lives, by dropping the bombs."
In what universe does killing to avenge killing, and killing to prevent death, make any kind of sense?
In a recent letter from Mary Jean Goode, when addressing our (USA) involvement in yet more war(this time, Libya)she posited:
"...I recalled Luke’s version of Jesus’ arrival on the outskirts of Jerusalem. According to Luke, Jesus broke down weeping over the world’s refusal to learn “the things that make for peace.” It’s one of the most touching scenes in the Gospels. He has walked over a hundred miles on a campaign of nonviolence from Galilee to Jerusalem, only to arrive at the Mount of Olives, see the famous city, and burst into tears because of its collaboration with the Roman empire in the demonic spirit of war. He could see that its destruction was inevitable."
As he drew near, he saw the city and wept over it saying, “If this day you only knew the things that make for peace -- but they are hidden from your eyes.”
(Luke 19:41-42)

Think about this, kids. Really think about it....Jesus spoke of "the things that make for Peace".That he longed for nations at war, to see that they "do not know the things that make for Peace."
I am thinking of Japan, long after the rain of nuclear fall-out which came, day after gray day, in Hiroshima, and Nagasaki.
I think of the pain and suffering a long-ago generation of proud Japanese, suffered.
And I think now of this woman, Matsuko Ito, reviewing the clouds, as they silently float by, and I wonder, when those people of Hiroshima, looked heavenward, hearing a whir, or seeing the flash,just before annihilation, was there any sense of The world feels strange now. Even the way the clouds move isn't right.....
We have the power to change the way we respond to violence, and while we cannot prevent natural disasters, or make the soil in which the Japanese long to plant their grain, safe again, we can all try to nurture the "soil" in our minds.Plant the first seeds of a sweet rice of Peace, now.
Before it's too late.
Peace, kids.