“Now I am become death, destroyer of worlds.” – physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, citing the Bhagavad Vita
As should be self-evident, the U.S. military’s atomic bombing of Hiroshima, which on 6 August 1945 ushered in the nuclear age by murdering 150,000 persons instantly and several tens of thousands more due to lingering radiation effects, was a horrific crime—as was the dropping of another atomic device three days later on Nagasaki—like Hiroshima, a civilian settlement. It will ever remain an act consonant with the labors of the Nazis, as Chris Hedges rightly notes; as with the totality of the war on Vietnam and many other historical negations experienced in the years following 1945, it certainly violates Theodor W. Adorno’s stipulated new categorical imperative, one shared by many others, demanding that “nothing similar” to Auschwitz be allowed to recur (Negative Dialectics, 365). It is a testament of the horrors for which capital, the State, and imperial-racism are responsible, ones that clearly continue in 2012.
The naked imperial racism reflected in the pathetic rationale provided by the triumphant imperial U.S. State in the wake of its victorious revenge on Hirohito’s rule is appalling for its starkness: utilization of nuclear arms on Japanese population centers was needed to “save American boys.” Nothing can ever justify such an act. The nationalist—racist—impetus to constrain one’s concern to those of similar birth-country cannot seriously stand up to reason, justice, freedom—as present and real as the regime of chauvinist barbarism is today, as we think of the shootings at a Sikh place of worship and the burning-down of a Muslim one in the U.S. Beyond the genocidal effects of the nuclear attacks on Japan, the legacy of the atom bomb lives on in a very particular and alarming fashion on Japan’s Honshu island now, considering the ongoing effects of the 2011 disaster at the Fukushima-Daichi nuclear plant—the direct ones as well as the potential metaphorical or allegorical ones.
To make a point using an image from an social effort originating geographically in a space other than Japan, one that subverts the hegemonic order—the continuity of oppression—by naming it for what it is:
Solidarity with the victims of war! For the generalized development of a mass-social intervention that radically rejects racism, imperialism, capitalism, ecocide! That humanity’s life instincts prevail in time to defend itself and the multitude of other beings threatened by catastrophe! An absolute NO to world-destruction, militarism, fascism! In times of “total negativity,” TOTAL REVOLUTION!