We should welcome the hibakusha mind, as proposed by Peruvian diplomat Enrique Roman-Morey in the May 11 Kyodo article “Citizens need hibakusha ‘minds.’ ” As an exercise in diplomacy, it beats tweeting about dolphin kills. (In January, U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy tweeted: “Deeply concerned by inhumaneness of drive hunt dolphin killing.”)

Empathy, in a more innocent age, was the English poet John Keats’ likening himself to a sparrow outside his window. We’re no longer innocents. If Hiroshima and Nagasaki are to remain isolated acts of cruelty, more of us have to think and feel as though we, too, can be victims of what U.S. President Barack Obama euphemistically called “a single flash of light.”

As hibakusha of the mind, we have a choice. We can support more military bases and deadly weaponry, along with louder saber rattling. Or we can insist that history, the lessons of experience and our human — and humane — imagination be used as a force for peace

“I think the only way to get the world free of nuclear weapons is if every citizen of this world becomes a hibakusha in the mind,” said Roman-Morey. It’s time for U.S. Ambassador Kennedy to stand in solidarity with him. As an American who voted for her father for president, and the promise that he represented, I hope that she, too, will listen to the hibakusha.

warren iwasa

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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