On this day, August 6, 1945, America dropped a nuclear bomb on Hiroshima. The deaths, destruction and after-effects of nuclear radiation are too gruesome to describe in gory detail. The memorial monument at the Hiroshima City of Peace Dome proclaims: “Let all the souls here rest in peace…” and promises: “…for we shall not repeat the evil.” Let’s proclaim and promise a million times and more: “We shall never repeat the evil.”
The commemorative anniversaries of history — some bitter, others sweet — are great gurus. We must stop and see, listen and learn lessons from our past as one family, the Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, sharing not really our creeds and cultures, which are all delightfully diverse, but our unifying humanness, our insaniyat, which binds me to every one of you, and every one of you to me.
The seeds of violence and war are neither sown in kingly courts nor powerful Parliaments, but in human hearts; for, those who instil hatred, inflict violence and instigate mobs to kill are, first and foremost, human beings before being appointed governors or elected ministers. Indeed, we, the people, commonly share God-given blood of just one colour — red — which can be donated at will and transfused into any body, anywhere, promoting life. We are united by blood; let’s not spill it.
Today, our countries and communities are drowning in cesspools of hatred and hostility that easily erupt in lynching, shooting, bombing or war. Then, we waste precious time and energy debating the who, what and whither of violence. Why not begin with peace? Let’s love and let live, give and forgive. Let’s shun what Pope Francis calls the “terror of gossip”, and, instead share our dreams of a peaceful, prosperous planet for us all, and our Mother Earth! Begin with peace as a premise, not a conclusion.
Depressed about the pathetic plight of our violent world, a TV-addict said to his wife: “I must do something about this!” She asked: “What will you do?” He retorted: “Change the channel!” Today, without changing TV channels we have every form of violence — real, morphed and marketed — fed into our mobiles. Let’s delete all that divides and upload all that energises, unifies and “makes peace”.
“Blessed are the peacemakers,” says Jesus. Peace is the legacy of all religions. We must all “make peace” with our deepest selves, with each other, with Mother Earth and with God. Let’s walk and work hand-in-hand praying to the God of peace in the words of Rudyard Kipling:
“God of our fathers, known of old;
Lord of our far-flung battle line;
Beneath whose awful hand we hold;
Dominion over palm and pine —
Lord God of hosts, be with us yet;
Lest we forget — lest we forget!”