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Thoughts about War

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Commemorating the end of WW II, August 15, I am posting my article which was submitted to my church newsletter, “Compass” in 2015, with a bit of editing and changes.  It’s pretty emotional!  🙂

 

I don’t waste food.

I was born ten years after the war.  My grandmother’s stories have sunk into my bones and tissues.  “Never… never waste food,” she said.  “You can’t imagine what ‘starving’ is like. I held onto the outside door rail of a packed train, for hours and hours, going far into the countryside to look for foods.  I carried my valuable silk kimonos, as many of them as I could, and exchanged them for a few sweet potatoes to feed children waiting at home.”

Of course, today we live in such an abundance.  Foods are wasted everywhere all the time.  I should be used to it, but, still, I have this pain whenever I see them wasted.  Her words just come back to me, “….in order for ‘that one apple’ to get into your hands, somebody labored, plowing the soil, growing the sapling, watering, fertilizing, harvesting…. years and years of labour, and only then, this one apple comes into your hands.  It is precious. Let’s be grateful.”

I lived in Los Angeles from age 13 to 18.  Right after arriving there, I was placed in a junior high school, having no English what so ever.  I ate hamburgers and french fries for the first time in my life.  I was amazed.  They were the best foods I have ever had. Those days, Japan was still a developing country (360 yen to 1 US$!) and beef used to be very expensive. We could only have beef at a special occasion.  When my mother would say, “we have Beef Sukiyaki tonight!”, we kids, would jump up and down, super excited.  I remember around the time I entered high school, I was beginning to understand some English.  One day, I had a shocking experience.  It was a history class and the teacher showed the class a film about World War II, particularly about the day the atomic bomb was dropped in Hiroshima or Nagasaki.  A pilot was flying a war plane across the Pacific Ocean, carrying the atomic bomb.  He dropped it, and there were rising huge clouds shaping like a mushroom.  At that moment, the class, all of them except me, rejoiced, clapped hands, whistled, jumped up and down.  I was shocked.  My head went spinning, then went numb. For me, I had understood, the day this bomb was dropped was the most devastating day.  It was literally, hell.  I had grown up listening to stories after stories about this horrendous day….

“Why….? Why are you happy? Why are you rejoicing? Don’t you realize that ‘people’ were living there, underneath that cloud?  Ordinary ‘people’, just like you and me, boys and girls, children, babies….they all were burned at that moment, and died a horrendous death.  They were all living their ordinary lives day by day, just like us, crying, laughing, talking, playing….they were not killing other people…, they had just their lives there.  Why are you so happy? Why? What are you rejoicing?”

 

The day of 9/11, we all held our breaths watching TV screens of the impressive towering buildings collapsing into mountains of sands.  We all felt shock, sunk in sorrow, prayed for all those people who worked there and thought of their families.  However, I’ve heard that on the opposite side, that there were people watching the same scene with overwhelming joy. Is it different?

I remember sitting in a church in Vancouver, perhaps about ten years ago on a Sunday, listening to a a guest preacher’s sermon.  He was talking about what God’s awe is like.  “Imagine…” the young preacher said.  “There is a plane flying in the clouds, he is pushing the button. Suddenly blinded by sharp flashes of light and the sky turns bright red.  Then a huge cloud covers the entire sky forming into a shape of mushroom.  This is awe…”  I could not believe my ears.  I was ‘awed’ by what I heard.  He, a disciple of Christ, is preaching in a church, a house of God, saying that God’s awe is like the atomic bomb which brought hell to the innocent people living there? Nuclear bombs ARE tools of Satan, aren’t they?  No, not just nuclear bombs – all wars, everything about wars is satanic, no matter how they are justified.

I thought God made us human beings.  So then, God made us all, right?  Americans, Canadians, Japanese, Christians, and Muslims….all.  I wonder why we get to hate each other and spend so much money and energy to develop such demonic weapons to kill.  I wonder if it is for economical and political profits or for never ending revenge.  Something like…they did it to us, so we do it back to them?

 

 

この文章は2015年のニュースレター「コンパス」に投稿した記事です。多少の変更を加えています。かなり感情的になってます。🙂

 

私は食べ物を粗末にしない。戦後10年目に生まれた私は母や祖母に食べ物のありがたさを骨の髄まで覚え込まされた。粗末にしてはいけない。どれほど飢えが辛かったことか。外までぶら下がる満員の汽車に乗って遠くの田舎まで食べ物を探しに行った。高価な絹の着物を何枚も持って行ってもさつまいも数個としか交換してもらえなかった。そんな話を祖母から何度聞かされたことか。

豊満な現代。食べ物が粗末に捨てられる光景を見るたびに思わず目を背けてしまう。その「りんご」一つがあなたの手のなかに入るには土作りから始まって苗木の接ぎ木を育てて何年もかかって実がなるまでになるんだよ。水をあげたり肥料をあげたり添え木をしたり想像以上の労働と、虫の害や病気にたいする心配。たった一つのりんごでもそうやって何年もかかってあなたの手に入る。大事にありがたく残さないでいただこうじゃない。

13歳で私はアメリカに行った。英語が全くわからない私がいきなりロサンゼルスのジュニアハイスクールに編入した。初めてハンバーガーやフレンチフライを食べて感動した。当時の日本では牛肉は高価で、特別な記念日の夕食でしかお目にかかれなかった。「今夜は牛肉のすき焼きよ」と母が言うと私たち子供は飛び上がって喜んだものだ。そんな私でもハイスクールに上がる頃には少しは英語がわかるようになっていた。ある日ショッキングなことが起こった。歴史のクラスで原爆投下のフィルムを見た。戦闘機に乗った兵士が原爆を積んで飛んでいく。爆弾を落として大きなキノコ雲が上がるとクラス中の生徒たちが歓声をあげた。私はショックで頭が麻痺したような気持ちになった。私にとっての原爆投下の日は世にもおそろしい悲しい地獄日だ。子供の頃からそのすさまじい事実を何度聞いて育ったことか。

「どうして喜ぶの?何がそんなに嬉しい?私たちと同じように生きてる人々、少年や少女、子供達、赤ん坊が一瞬にして焼けただれて苦しんで死んだんだよ。みんな私たちと同じように1日1日をただただ懸命に生きてただけなんだよ。泣いたり笑ったりおしゃべりしたり遊んだり。。。その人たちが銃をとって戦争してたわけではない。みんな普通に生きてただけなんだよ。何をそんなに喜ぶ?何がそんなに嬉しい?」

911のあった日、空に向かって立ち上る偉大なビルが崩れ落ちる様をテレビで、見て私たちは息をのんだ。煙と埃の下で苦しむ人々そしてその家族を思って悲しみに沈んだ。でも反対側の人たちは皆手を叩いて喜び勇んだという。

バンクーバーのある教会でのことだ。日曜日の礼拝でゲストプリーチャーのお説教を聞いていた。神様の御技のawe畏敬とはどんなものなのかというテーマだった。「想像してみよう」若いプリーチャーは言った。「雲の中を進む飛行機、あるときスイッチが押される。突然目を阻むような閃光が走って空が真っ赤になる。そしてそのあともくもくとキノコの形をした雲が現れ空を覆い尽くす。その様は全くaweだ。」私は我が耳を疑った。この人はキリストに仕える牧師でありながら、神様の居である教会で、神の畏敬の技と瞬時にして地獄を招いた原爆とを一緒にするのか。原爆こそは悪魔の技ではないのか。いや原爆だけではなく、『人と人を殺しあう戦争』こそは悪魔の技なのでないか。いかなる理由があろうとも。

神様が人間を創られたんだよね。アメリカ人もカナダ人も日本人もクリスチャンもイスラム教徒もみんな神様が創られたんだよね。それなのにどうして憎み合う?どうして殺し合う?目の前の利益しか見えないから?やられたらやり返すことばかり繰り返すから?

 

 

Author: Haruyo Abramson

I'm a musician, mom, and grandma, living in BC, Canada with my husband and three dogs.

One thought on “Thoughts about War

  1. Hello Haruyo, I’m sorry to have missed the RCCO gathering, and hope you had a good time.

    Congratulations on making the decision to retire from full time church music. I hope, however, that you have put yourself on the substitute list!

    I really appreciated your comments about the war, and what life was like for you. My dad was an Army lawyer and spent most of the war in Egypt;my mom moved into her mother’s house in another city when my dadd was away. I really did not know any hardship during that time, so I consider myself really blessed.

    These days I find the inhuman treatment of first nations people, immigrants, the downtown eastside community, and the mentally ill very troubling. I just don’t understand how one human can treat another in such a despicable manner. My latest way of dealing with this is to have kindly conversations with people on the bus. There are usually folks wanting to go to the Capilano Suspension Bridge and since I live just hear the bridge, I ask them about themselves, offer directions and wish them well. The smiles we share are a gift to me.

    We’re off on a 2 month driving holiday – to Boston to visit my family. I’ll be back in November. Maybe we could have tea?

    Love to you, my friend, Ginger

    From: pocoapocowithsmile Reply-To: pocoapocowithsmile Date: Friday, August 19, 2016 at 4:07 PM To: Ginger Shaw Subject: [New post] Thoughts about War

    WordPress.com Haruyo Abramson posted: “Commemorating the end of WW II, August 15, I am posting my article which was submitted to my church newsletter, “Compass” in 2015, with a bit of editing and changes. It’s pretty emotional! 🙂 I don’t waste food. I was born ten years afte”

    Like

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