SEVENTY years ago today, the first atomic bomb, ironically called ‘Little Boy’, was dropped on the sleeping Japanese city of Hiroshima, killing 70,000 people and leaving a further 70,000 to die from horrific injuries caused by the effects of radiation poisoning in the following days, weeks and months.
Three days later came the appalling bombing of Nagasaki, another devastating act that helped bring the Second World War to an end and changed the nature of warfare for ever.
Fittingly, today, as the world joins the people of Japan in commemorating those shocking events, thousands of paper lanterns float on the city’s Motoyasu River — symbolising the journey to the afterlife of those who died — and doves of peace fly over the city where Buddhist monks have joined local residents in procession and children stage a “die-in”.
As debate continues to rage around the ethical justification of those events, our discussions on the use of such weapons of doom are now sharply intensified against a backdrop of global violence.
Mankind is caught up in a scenario where ruthless terrorists are praying that some day they will get their hands on what can truly be termed “weapons of mass destruction”.
Of one thing we can be sure, the next atomic bomb will start a war to end all wars. A burning question is whether the concept of nuclear deterrence makes sense in a world driven by global terrorism.
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