Date Visited: December 19, 2017
It was a strange thing. Right before me was a building caught in a perpetual state of ruin, not an inch different than from when an atomic bomb first hit it in 1945.
The Atomic Bomb Dome (also referred to as “genbaku dōmu/原爆ドーム” by locals) is the focal piece of Hiroshima Peace Park. Once the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall, the Atomic Bomb Dome is maintained meticulously to be in the same state of ruin as it was after the bomb dropped in 1945 and took the lives of those in the building instantly. The rest of the park is as like any other—surrounded by greenery and enveloped in a calm atmosphere—except for this building which seemed stuck in a moment and left there to remind people of today the value of peace.
It seems absurd that people have to be reminded that peace is something we want, but the truth is, forgetting is quite easy. Back in my hometown, Manila, killing has become part of the norm. Violence is justified by some misguided sense of justice, and people have become so desensitized that fewer and fewer people become outraged with the massive carnage that plagues the country. Keep your head down and you’ll live. Keep your head down and your loved ones remain safe.
I wonder, how many of these people who died in the dome thought to keep their head down and shy away from the politics of war? In the end, our lives mean little to those who bask in power. We who toil in labor are but a means to achieve a purpose, a purpose that serves no one else but those seated in comfort.
These days, politicians are marketed like products that give consumers a false sense of identity, of belonging, of community. My president. My senator. How quick we are to identify with people who barely know us. How quick we are to adopt a stance that makes us look cool, makes us appear like we care, like we are fighting for something. How quick we are to mistake propaganda for ideology just so we can fill that consumeristic void with the closest thing we can find to some purpose in living.
Some lives are quick and over in the blink of an eye. I don’t know how short or long mine will be, but I want to make it count.
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park (平和記念公園；Heiwa Kinen Kōen)
Open 24 Hours
No Entrance Fee