Hiroshima Day, as well as commemorating the needless destruction of a city and its population, is now a focus for anti-war and anti-nuclear discussions and demonstrations. The Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament will be holding events across the length and breadth of Scotland. There will be gatherings in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Bridge of Allan, Aberdeen, Dundee, Irvine, Kilmarnock, Rutherglen, Inverness and Paisley. See 'here' for more details. Needless to say, 'The Streetlamp' will be attending at least one of the events and we urge any of our readers to find out where Hiroshima Day is being commemorated in their own locality and going along to take part.
If you are unable to do so then please, if you live in Scotland, show support for Scottish CND by supporting their Nae Nuclear Weapons Here Campaign. All Scottish CND want people to do is to add a pin to their map to show that people in every corner of this country want to see nuclear disarmament. Add your pin 'here'.
As well as urging you to commemorate Hiroshima Day we would like to bring your attention to the work of Nâzim Hikmet. Hikmet was a Turkish poet, playwright and novelist who was repeatedly arrested for his political beliefs and spent much of his adult life in prison or in exile. A good selection of his work can be found at the Marxists Internet Archive. He is most well known in this country for the poem Kiz Çocugu (The Little Girl). This poignant piece, written in 1956, conveys a plea for peace from a seven-year-old girl, ten years after she has perished in the atomic bomb attack at Hiroshima. This poem is known in English by various other titles, including "I come and Stand at Every Door" and "Hiroshima Girl" and has been set to music and covered by numerous artists. In this writer's opinion, the most moving version is the rendition by This Mortal Coil from their 1991 album Blood. The breathtaking vocals on this version are by well-known Glaswegian singing sisters Louise and Deirdre Rutkowski along with Tim Freeman.
The images in this video are, of course, from the 1983 anime Hadashi no Gen (Barefoot Gen), itself based on the seminal, Japanese, manga series by Hiroshima survivor Keiji Nakazawa. If you've never seen this film, a free version of the entire film with an English dub can be found 'here'.
The English translation of the poem used here is provided below:
I come and stand at every door
But no one hears my silent tread
I knock and yet remain unseen
For I am dead, for I am dead.
I'm only seven although I died
In Hiroshima long ago
I'm seven now as I was then
When children die they do not grow.
My hair was scorched by swirling flame
My eyes grew dim, my eyes grew blind
Death came and turned my bones to dust
And that was scattered by the wind.
I need no fruit, I need no rice
I need no sweet, nor even bread
I ask for nothing for myself
For I am dead, for I am dead.
All that I ask is that for peace
You fight today, you fight today
So that the children of this world
May live and grow and laugh and play.
An MP3 of this song can be downloaded 'here'.