While attending Tarsus American High School in the early 50s, one of our teachers Frank Stone would hold debates on various subjects. One of these was on “Whether US was justified in using an atomic bomb to end World War II.” Two groups would be picked, but our teacher knowing my views on the subject, including the belief that this was a crime against humanity, would not allow me to participate in the debate. Since then, I have kept my interest on the subject and attended many commemorations in the US, Japan and Turkey.
Americans and some others defend the dropping of an atomic bomb at Hiroshima and later at Nakasaki stating that it ended the second world war although many believe Japan was ready to surrender before the horrible act, probably the worst in the history of mankind. Over 250,000 people at Hiroshima and 150,000 at Nakasaki, including many children, died and many villages and towns disappeared. Many children were affected after the bombing.
The beautiful Toy Museum in Goztepe, Istanbul, was the host of a commemoration of the Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima that took place on August 6, 1945. In the garden of the Museum, over 24 Japanese and Turkish children, made paper cranes in honour of Sadako Sasaki, the 12-year-old Japanese girl who was diagnosed with leukaemia because of the bombing. According to Japanese belief, the wish of those making 1,000 paper cranes comes true. Sasaki was making cranes in her bed and hoping to recover and play with her toys again but could make 646 paper cranes before she died. Since then, the paper cranes that she was not able to complete have been made in many countries, including Turkey, and sent to Japan.
Yuksel Oktay, PE
Augus 6, 2011
Girl Child (Kiz Cocugu)
I come and stand at every door
But none can hear my silent tread.
I knock and yet remain unseen,
For I am dead, I am dead.
I’m only seven although I died
In Hiroshima long ago.
I am seven now as I was then.
When children die, they do not grow.
My hair was scorched by swirling flames,
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 sweets nor even bread,
I ask 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.