x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Unforgettable horrors

Witnesses to the atomic bombs in Japan were in the UAE this week to press for nuclear disarmament. When their voices are silenced by age, we will have to remember by images alone.

Whether the bombing of the Japanese city of Nagasaki in 1945 was justified, coming as it did so soon after the destruction of Hiroshima, is still an open question. The atom bombs dropped by the American military killed tens of thousands of people and destroyed two cities, but also led to the surrender of Japan and the end of the war in Asia. The first – and so far only – use of atomic weapons on civilians provided a lesson about the consequences of using humanity’s ultimate weapons.

No one knows that more than those who survived the 1945 attacks. As The National reported yesterday, some of the Nagasaki bomb survivors urged the world to eliminate nuclear arms and work together towards a more peaceful world, praising countries that advocate the eradication of such weapons, including the UAE. These people told stories of how they were lucky to survive amid the unfolding carnage.

In a few years there will be no witnesses left, all that will remain of those devastating strikes will be the pictures of destruction. If these photographs continue to serve as a powerful deterrent against using nuclear weapons in the future, then the lives lost will not have been in vain.