Tag Archives: human rights

Step 3: Declarations by Organizations and Institutions

A few days ago, Martipants asked this question about my recent post: 

“Why can we not share our fury and still protest non-violently?”

Martipants, I’m glad you asked – I’ve been wanting to dig into this.

We CAN and SHOULD be outraged, but as I keep reminding myself, it’s what we do with it. (To cut to the chase,* see below the handmaids photo.) For the past 2 years, I’m the person who shows up to a party and rants, which usually produces this kind of response. I’m a total buzz kill. However, when I ask friends if they’re willing to help get out the vote for midterms, the response is basically: “where and when?”

Here’s a phenomenal example on what to do with fury. Last week, when VP Mike Pence visited Philadelphia for a fundraising dinner, activist Samantha Goldman of RefuseFascism.org put the word out that they were recruiting 100 handmaids to organize attend a protest. As Sam wrote in The Philadelphia Inquirer:

One of the “handmaids,” Michele, said to me, “I protest for any person that feels that this administration is gunning to strip them of their rights and who live in fear as to what’s going to happen next … I will not just calm down. I will not avoid what’s going on just because it hasn’t impacted my privileges …. yet.”

IMG_3303-1.JPG

When applied quickly and consistently, this is the kind of nonviolent action that takes down regimes, and history is on our side. The point * is that whenever possible, our outrage needs to be fueled, because over time, it has the psychological effect of weakening our resolve – and that’s when the members of a regime often choose to act. As UC Berkley Professor Robert Reich reminds us,

“Keep your message positive. They want the country to be angry and fearful because this is the soil from which their darkest policies grow. No more helpless or hopeless talk.”

 

Step 3: Declarations by Organizations and Institutions

Step 3 of Gene Sharp’s blueprint for removing a dictator is listed as one of six formal actions. The American Psychological Association (APA) and American Psychiatric Organizations have been leading examples of how to use your organizational power for good. The APAs have released statements on everything from Post-Election Stress Disorder to the GOP Administration’s position on Standing Rock or the attempt to enact a transgender military ban to the separation of immigrant families at the border to gun violence:

The president of the American Psychological Association, Antonio E. Puente, PhD, issued a statement decrying President Trump for ref

erring to attacks such as the massacre at a Texas church on Sunday a mental health problem, opining, “Calling this shooting a ‘mental health problem’ distracts our nation’s leaders from developing policies and legislation that would focus on preventing gun violence through a scientific, public health approach.”

Today’s Action

SHORT GAME: Set aside 10 minutes to research some of the organizations you’re invested in, and learn more about their positions on current GOP Administration policies. Focus on the causes that matter most to you. (You might remember when a “rogue” National Park Service employee had something to say about climate change.)

LONG GAME: If you think your favorite organization could be stronger on specific policies, send a letter and let them know. If it applies, remind them that you’re a longtime supporter/donor and how these policies impact your life. If you’re up to it, you can even stop by their local offices and ask to speak to someone directly. This is the kind of nonviolent action that really makes an impact.

If you think your favorite organization is doing a great job, tweet it out, write them a letter, or send a donation with a thank you letter.

If this message speaks to you, share this post on Instagram or Facebook.

 

 

 

Step 2: Letters of Opposition or Support

Before I tell you what I was up to today and move on to Step 2 of the blueprint, here’s  a question from one of my subscribers:

“There are countries where people have experienced genocide and other hardships way worse than what we’re going through. Are you sure we should call this a dictatorship?”

No, I’m not sure. On a technicality, this could <just> be fascism, “a government that exalts nation and often race above the individual” headed by a dictatorial individual who forcibly suppresses opposition.

UC Berkley Professor Robert Reich offers suggestions for how to manage talking about this, including the recommendation to replace T’s surname with “The GOP Administration” every time you mention him. Historically speaking, the GOP is behaving like a regime. It’s more effective to put the pressure on them. Either way, we’re witnessing the precursors to and/or direct dictatorial and fascist behaviors on a daily basis.

If you’re like me, you’re part of the 3.5%, so we’re not sitting on our hands while we wait to see what happens next. (For more reasons about why I’m using the d-word, see Jim Powell’s How Dictators Come To Power In A Democracy from Forbes magazine way back in 2013.)

Step 2: Letters of Opposition or Support

Last week, I introduced Gene Sharp’s blueprint for removing a dictator with a list of 198 methods of nonviolent action and persuasion. Step 2 is listed as one of the “formal” actions.

Wait – number 2? Does letter-writing actually work?

If it’s part of a wider strategy, YES.

FullSizeRender-2.jpg

Since June, my local coffee shop has been hosting a weekly letter-writing campaign, so today I stopped by to help. When I walked in, every table was filled. As I was looking for a seat, a woman who stopped by during her lunch break offered me her seat, along with a pen, a stack of postcards, and a suggested script.

Today’s focus was on getting out the vote for the midterms by sending hand-written postcards from community members to neighbors. The event was organized by a local organization connected to the state-wide coalition Turn PA Blue.

Here’s a bit of the buzz:

Today’s Action

If your community hosts letter-writing events, go whenever you can – and keep showing up. I found mine on Facebook, so check around to see if your state has something similar. It felt good to have an outlet for my outrage, and it was inspiring to be around people who felt the same.

Until today, all of my letter-writing has been a solo act, so if you can’t find anything local just yet, here are the ACLU’s tips on writing to your representatives. 

  1. Keep it brief: Letters should never be longer than one page, and should be limited to one issue. Legislative aides read many letters on many issues in a day, so your letter should be as concise as possible.
  2. State Who You Are and What You Want Up Front: In the first paragraph, tell your legislators that you are a constituent and identify the issue about which you are writing. If your letters pertains to a specific piece of legislation, it helps to identify it by its bill number (e.g. H.R. ____ or S. _____).
  3. Hit your three most important points: Choose the three strongest points that will be most effective in persuading legislators to support your position and flesh them out.
  4. Personalize your letter: Tell your elected official why this legislation matters in his community or state. If you have one, include a personal story that shows how this issue affects you and your family. A constituent’s personal stories can be the very persuasive as your legislator shapes his or her position.
  5. Personalize your relationship: Have you ever voted for this elected official? Have you ever contributed time or money to his or her campaign? Are you familiar with her through any business or personal relationship? If so, tell your elected official or his staff person. The closer your legislator feels to you, the more powerful your argument is likely to be.
  6. You are the Expert: Remember that your legislator’s job is to represent you. You should be courteous and to the point, but don’t be afraid to take a firm position. Remember that often your elected official may know no more about a given issue than you do.You can get the contact information for your Members of Congress at Congress.org.

 

If you need more fuel for your fire, read this.

Your voice matters. Every word counts.

 

RobertReich.org

 

Step 1: Public speeches

On Tuesday I promised you a blueprint, and today, I’m passing it around. It’s called From Dictatorship to Democracy, A Conceptual Framework for Liberation, by Professor Gene Sharp. Sharp was the founder of the Albert Einstein Institution, a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the study of nonviolent action. This 1994 essay is a critical analysis of how to destroy a dictatorship and to prevent the rise of a new one. It includes a list of 198 methods of nonviolent action and persuasion, found on page 79.

You’ve probably heard the expression “If you’re not OUTRAGED, you’re not paying attention.” If you’re a 3.5%er, you’ve been outraged since the summer of 2016. Dictators know that daily outrage leads to feelings of powerlessness and hopelessness. When we share our fury, while it feels good to know we’re not alone, it also means we’re doing the dictator’s job for him. This is what dictators do – whether you’re for or against them, they mobilize people around a collective energy of hatred. When we unite in a common mission for equality and peace and sustain that wave of hope, the collective energy increases our number.

Step 1: Public speeches

Every time I share a step from this blueprint, it will come with a suggested Call to Action, something immediately doable and sustainable – with the understanding that “I’m part of the 3.5%” means that when one of us gets tired, someone standing next to us will be there to pick up the torch.

Today’s Action

Michelle Obama_Nelson MandelaSHORT GAME: Watch and/or share any one of the speeches below, or find another one you love. (Barack Obama’s 2004 speech is one of my all-time favorites.) The power of speeches is in their ability to mobilize large groups of people, so when you share the voices from the past with your children and friends, you are reminding them that true power unites us. 

Nelson Mandela said that “education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.” When you talk with friends are share on social media, experiment with what happens when you shift your words to messages of empowerment.

Fill the 3.5 percenters with the inspiration needed to cancel out the noise.

LONG GAME: Be on the lookout for opportunities to attend public speeches in your community and invite your friends and family to attend. Make it a social event. Bring drinks and snacks and folding chairs. Show up in numbers. Make your presence seen and heard.

Gandhi challenged his country: “No clapping is possible without two hands to do it.” In other words: “There IS no government if the people refuse to be ruled by it.” Today, anyone with a social media account has a platform, so if your hands refuse to clap, make them click and tweet and love or like, but let all your words confirm our power.

We are building our base.

The podium is yours.

“There is not a liberal America and a conservative America. There is the United States of America.” – Barack Obama, 2004

 






July 17, 2018

 


– resources: From Dictatorship to Democracy, A Conceptual Framework for Liberation, by Gene Sharp, Appendix One, “The Methods of Nonviolent Action”

“No clapping is possible without two hands to do it,” from On Nonviolent Resistance by Mohandas K. Gandhi

Nonviolent does not mean passive.  twitter-bird

Did I miss one of your favorite speeches? Feel free to post the link in the comments.

I’m part of the 3.5%

“I’d like to ask you to imagine that you live in a very repressive country. There are elections, but they are fake. The leader wins 100% of the vote each time. Security forces beat up opposition leaders with impunity, and they harass everyone else.” – Dr. Erica Chenoweth, September 21, 2013

 

Imagine that you live in a very repressive country.

There are elections,

but they are fake.

 

Imagine.

 

In 2011, Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephan published a groundbreaking study about the impact of civil resistance in the 21st Century. Chenoweth admits that she began the research as a bit of a skeptic, she felt that nonviolent action education “well-intentioned, but dangerously naive.”

Over two years, Chenoweth and Stephan examined 323 nonviolent and violent campaigns throughout the world, all of which took place between 1900 – 2006. They focused on actions that involved at least 1,000 participants and resulted in the overthrow of a government or a territorial liberation of some kind.

What their research concluded that the nonviolent opposition campaigns were actually more than twice as successful in achieving their political objectives.

 

nonviolentcampaign

from Why Civil Resistance Works The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict, by Erica Chenoweth, Maria J Stephan

 

Nonviolent opposition

is more than

twice

as successful.

 

The research also showed that this trend has been increasing over time, even in those extremely brutal authoritarian conditions where the researchers expected non-violent resistance to fail.

In her 2013 TED Talk, Chenoweth said:

“Researchers used to say that no government can survive if just 5% of its population rose up against it, but what the research showed is that no single campaigns failed during the time period after they’d achieved the

active

sustained

participation of just

3.5 percent of the population.

 

In the US today, that’s about 11 million people.

On average, non-violent campaigns were

four times larger

than the average violent campaign and they were often

much more inclusive and representative

in terms of

gender,

age,

race,

political party,

class and

urban-rural distinction.

Civil resistance allows people of all different levels of physical ability to participate.

This can include

the elderly

people with disabilities

women

children and

anyone who else wants to.

 

If you think about it, everyone is born with a natural physical ability to resist non-violently.  Anyone who has kids knows how hard it is to pick up a child who doesn’t want to move or to feed a child who doesn’t want to eat.”

 

Imagine that you live in a very repressive country.

There are elections,

but they are fake.

 

Imagine.

 

Now let’s say you’ve had enough.

That’s where I am tonight.

 

It turns out that there are blueprints for making this kind of thing happen. And if you’re ready to act, I’ve got a map and a flashlight.

Tonight’s action:

If you’re part of the 3.5% of the population who are willing to engage in active sustained nonviolent participation, tag 3 people on social media you know you can count on to join us. Feel free to tag this post or a link the video below with the words:

I’m part of the 3.5%.twitter-bird

Invite your friends to watch the video below, and ask them to tag 3 people they know who can be counted on to join us.

I’ll be back soon.

“You Can Do Anything” (new featured column)

News

I’m excited to share that I have been invited to write a monthly featured column at bestselling author Lidia Yuknavitch’s writing workshop site, Corporeal Writing. You Can Do Anything is my first piece, and you can read my column, Secret Circus, on the second Friday of each month. At a time when government secrets can be revealed in 140 characters and our nation loves a show, Secret Circus blends personal essay with political commentary.

“You Can Do Anything” Excerpt

Lowercase v-a-g-i. Capital N. Lowercase a.

“Can she read?” The policeman asks.

He asks it like I can’t hear, like I’m not right there, sitting on my father’s lap. I want to tell the policeman that there is no time in my memory when I could not read, that there was never a time when I couldn’t put the letters together and throw myself into any world offered to me and disappear, but I stay quiet.

“Yes, she can read,” my father answers.

The policeman slides the report across the kitchen table and hands me a pen.

[Read more]

About Lidia Yuknavitch

Lidia Yuknavitch is the author of the national bestselling novel The Small Backs of Children, winner of the 2016 Oregon Book Award’s Ken Kesey Award for Fiction as well as the Reader’s Choice Award, the novel Dora: A Headcase, and three books of short stories. Her widely acclaimed memoir The Chronology of Water was a finalist for a PEN Center USA award for creative nonfiction and winner of a PNBA Award and the Oregon Book Award Reader’s Choice. She founded the workshop series Corporeal Writing in Portland, Oregon, where she also teaches women’s studies, film studies, writing, and literature. She received her doctorate in literature from the University of Oregon. Her new novel is The Book of Joan. Forthcoming is a book based on her recent TED Talk, “The Misfit’s Manifesto.” She lives in Oregon with her husband Andy Mingo and their renaissance man son, Miles. She is a very good swimmer.

About Zinn Adeline

Zinn Adeline is the Creative Engineer for Corporeal Writing, and she is trained and skilled in the design and construction of all things Corporeal Writing. So we made that title up for her. Because we do things like that. Things like disrupt the order of things. Things like invent. Zinn has an interdisciplinary background in Philosophy, Women’s Studies & Literary Theory. While doing her graduate work in creative writing she accepted Lidia Yuknavitch’s invitation to collaborate on Corporeal Writing workshops. Her dream is to build an alternative arts program that dislocates “high theory,” ideas, and the creation of knowledge from privileged university settings and makes it available to everyone. She directs things-creative, education, operations, and develops things-workshops, vision, outreach, and manages things-finances, Lidialand, and communications. Also, she makes really delicious cocktails.

About Leigh Hopkins


Leigh-Hopkins-2017-midLeigh Hopkins 
is a writer, speaker, and educator. In 2010, she left a career in social policy and education reform to move to Brazil. There, she launched a retreat center and founded Viva Institute by rigging a satellite dish to a boulder in a banana field.

You can read Leigh’s monthly column, “Secret Circus,” on bestselling-author Lidia Yuknavitch’s site, Corporeal Writing. Her essays have been published in Elephant Journal, ENTROPY Magazine, The Manifest-Station, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Viva Institute, and at LeighHereNow. Leigh lives in Philadelphia with her wife, a painter, and their jittery Jack Russell Terrier.

Read full bio.

Still Gonna Do (#ShePersisted)

My most recent essay, Still Gonna Do (#She Persisted) was just published at The Manifest-Station. Here’s an excerpt:

“White House staff visited our programs and invited us to Washington. When it came time for the final interview that we hoped would lead to funding, I spouted literacy and poverty statistics while stressing the need for the separation of church and state. I emphasized the importance of program quality, replicability and scale. After two hours of questioning, they began to wrap things up.

“One last question,” said the man from the White House. “Is there anything about you that could be potentially embarrassing to the President?”

I squinched my eyebrows. Refocused my attention on the American flag waving at me from his lapel. “Other than being a lesbian Democrat running a faith-based initiative for the Bush White House, I can’t think of anything…” [read the full essay on The Manifest-Station]

Publications

The Right to Bare Arms, ENTROPY Magazine.

Still Gonna Do (#ShePersisted), The Manifest-Station.

COMING FRIDAY! My new monthly column “Secret Circus” will be published on 2nd Fridays at author Lidia Yuknavitch’s Corporeal Writing.

Subscribe

To receive blog updates, subscribe to LeighHereNow.

Postage

LeighHereNow
PO Box 27771
Philadelphia, PA
19118, USA

ORIGINAL CHILD BOMB

Points for meditation to be scratched on the walls of a cave

by Thomas Merton

1: In the year 1945 an Original Child was born. The name Original Child was given to it by the Japanese people, who recognized that it was the first of its kind.

2: On April 12th, 1945, Mr. Harry Truman became the President of the United States, which was then fighting the second world war. Mr. Truman was a vice president who became president by accident when his predecessor died of a cerebral hemorrhage. He did not know as much about the war as the president before him did. He knew a lot less about the war than many people did.

About one hour after Mr. Truman became president, his aides told him about a new bomb which was being developed by atomic scientists. They called it the “atomic bomb”. They said scientists had been working on it for six years and that it had so far cost two billion dollars. They added that its power was equal to that of twenty thousand tons of TNT. A single bomb could destroy a city. One of those present added, in a reverent tone, that the new explosive might eventually destroy the whole world.

But Admiral Leahy told the president the bomb would never work.

3: President Truman formed a committee of men to tell him if this bomb would work, and if so, what he should do with it. Some members of this committee felt that the bomb would jeopardize the future of civilization. They were against its use. Others wanted it to be used in demonstrations on a forest of cryptomeria trees, but not against a civil or military target. Many atomic scientists warned that the use of atomic power in war would be difficult and even impossible to control. The danger would be very great. Finally, there were others who believed that if the bomb were used just once or twice, on one or two Japanese cities, there would be no more war. They believed the new bomb would product eternal peace.

4: In June 1945 the Japanese government was taking steps to negotiate for peace. On one hand the Japanese ambassador tried to interest the Russian government in acting as a go-between with the United States. On the other hand, an unofficial approach was made secretly through Mr. Allen Dulles in Switzerland. The Russians said they were not interested and that they would not negotiate. Nothing was done about the other proposal which was not official. The Japanese High Command was not in favor of asking for peace, but wanted to continue the war, even if the Japanese mainland were invaded. The generals believed that the war should continue until everybody was dead. The Japanese generals were professional soldiers.

5: In the same month of June, the President’s committee decided that the new bomb should be dropped on a Japanese city. This would be a demonstration of the bomb on a civil and military target. As “demonstration” it would be a kind of a “show”. “Civilians” all over the world love a good “show”. The “destructive” aspect of the bomb would be “military”.

6: The same committee also asked if America’s friendly ally, the Soviet Union, should be informed of the atomic bomb. Someone suggested that this information would make the Soviet Union even more friendly than it was already. But all finally agreed that the Soviet Union was now friendly enough.

7: There was discussion about which city should be selected as the first target. Some wanted it to be Kyoto, an ancient capital of Japan and a center of the Buddhist religion. Others said no, this would cause bitterness. As a result of a chance conversation, Mr. Stimson, the Secretary of War, had recently read up on the history and beauties of Kyoto. He insisted that this city should be left untouched. Some wanted Tokyo to be the first target, but others argued that Tokyo had already been practically destroyed by fire raids and could no longer be considered a “target.” So it was decided Hiroshima was the most opportune target, as it had not yet been bombed at all. Lucky Hiroshima! What others had experienced over a period of four years would happen to Hiroshima in a single day! Much time would be saved, and “time is money!”

8: When they bombed Hiroshima they would put the following out of business: The Ube Nitrogen Fertilizer Company; the Ube Soda Company; the Nippon Motor Oil Company; the Sumitoma Chemical Company; and most of the inhabitants.

9: At this time some atomic scientists protested again, warning that the use of the bomb in war would tend to make the United States unpopular. But the President’s committee was by now fully convinced that the bomb had to be used. Its use would arouse the attention of the Japanese military class and give them food for thought.

10: Admiral Leahy renewed his declaration that the bomb would not explode.

11: On the 4th of July, when the United States in displays of fireworks celebrates its independence from British rule, the British and Americans agreed together that the bomb ought to be used against Japan.

12: On July 7th the Emperor of Japan pleaded with the Soviet Government to act as mediator for peace between Japan and the Allies.  Molotov said the question would be “studied.”  In order to facilitate this “study” Soviet troops in Siberia prepared to attack the Japanese.  The Allies had, in any case, been urging Russia to join the war against Japan.  However, now that the atomic bomb was nearly ready, some thought it would be better if the Russians took a rest.

13: The time was coming for the new bomb to be tested, in the New Mexico desert.  A name was chosen to designate this secret operation.  It was called “Trinity”.

14: At 5:30 A.M. on July 16th, 1945 a plutonium bomb was successfully exploded in the desert at Almagordo, New Mexico.  It was suspended from a hundred foot steel tower which evaporated.  There was a fireball a mile wide.  The great flash could be seen for a radius of 250 miles.  A blind woman miles away said she perceived light.  There was a cloud of smoke 40,000 feet high.  It was shaped like a toadstool.

15: Many who saw the experiment expressed their satisfaction in religious terms.  A semi-official report even quoted a religious book – The New Testament, “Lord, I believe, help thou my unbelief.” There was an atmosphere of devotion.  It was a great act of faith.  They believed the explosion was exceptionally powerful.

16: Admiral Leahy, still a “doubting Thomas,” said that the bomb would not explode when dropped from a plane over a city.  Others may have had “faith,” but he had his own variety of “hope”.

17: On July 21st a full written report of the explosion reached President Truman at Potsdam.  The report was documented by pictures.  President Truman read the report and looked at the pictures before starting out for the conference.  When he left his mood was jaunty and his step was light.

18: That afternoon Mr. Stimson called on Mr. Churchill, and laid before him a sheet of paper bearing a code message about the successful test.  The message read “Babies satisfactorily born.”  Mr. Churchill was quick to realize that there was more in this than met the eye.  Mr. Stimson satisfied his legitimate curiosity.

19: On this same day sixty atomic scientists who knew of the test signed a petition that the bomb should not be used against Japan without a convincing warning and an opportunity to surrender.

At this time the U.S.S. Indianapolis, which had left San Francisco on the 18th, was sailing toward the island of Tinian, with some U 235 in a lead bucket.  The fissionable material was about the size of a softball, but there was enough for one atomic bomb.  Instructions were that if the ship sank, the Uranium was to be saved first, before any life.  The mechanism of the bomb was on board the U.S.S. Indianapolis, but it was not yet assembled.

20: On July 26th the Potsdam declaration was issued.  An ultimatum was given to Japan: “Surrender unconditionally or be destroyed.”  Nothing was said about the new bomb.  But pamphlets dropped all over Japan threatened “an enormous air bombardment” if the army would not surrender.  On July 26th the U.S.S. Indianapolis arrived at Tinian and the bomb was delivered.

21: On July 28th, since the Japanese High Command wished to continue the war, the ultimatum was rejected.  A censored version of the ultimatum appeared in the Japanese press with the comment that it was “an attempt to drive a wedge between the military and the Japanese people.”  But the Emperor continued to hope that the Russians, after “studying” his proposal, would help to negotiate a peace.  On July 30th Mr. Stimson revised a draft of the announcement that was to be made after the bomb was dropped on the Japanese target.  The statement was much better than the original draft.

22:  On August 1st the bomb was assembled in an air-conditioned hut on Tinian.  Those who handled the bomb referred to it as “Little Boy”.  Their care for the Original Child was devoted and tender.

23: On August 2nd President Truman was the guest of His Majesty King George VI on board the H.M.S. Renown in Plymouth Harbor.  The atomic bomb was praised.  Admiral Leahy, who was present, declared that the bomb would not work.  His Majesty George VI offered a small wager to the contrary.

24: On August 2nd a special message from the Japanese Foreign Minister was sent to the Japanese Ambassador in Moscow.  “It is requested that further efforts be exerted … Since the loss of one day may result in a thousand years of regret, it is requested that you immediately have a talk with Molotov.”  But Molotov did not return from Potsdam until the day the bomb fell.

25: On August 4th the bombing crew on Tinian watched a movie of “Trinity” (the Almagordo Test).  August 5th was a Sunday but there was little time for formal worship.  They said a quick prayer that the war might end “very soon.”  On that day, Colonel Tibbetts, who was in command of the B-29 that was to drop the bomb, felt that his bomber ought to have a name.  He baptized it Enola Gay, after his mother in Iowa.  Col. Tibbetts was a well balanced man, and not sentimental.  He did not have a nervous breakdown after the bombing, like some of the other members of his crew.

26: On Sunday afternoon “Little Boy” was brought out in procession and devoutly tucked away in the womb of Enola Gay.  That evening few were able to sleep.  They were as excited as little boys on Christmas Eve. 27: At 1:37 A.M. August 6th the weather scout plane took off. It was named the Straight Flush, in reference to the mechanical action of a water closet. There was a picture of one, to make this evident.

28: At the last minute before taking off Col. Tibbetts changed the secret radio call sign from “Visitor” to “Dimples.” The bombing mission would be a kind of flying smile.

29: At 2:45 A.M. Enola Gay got off the ground with difficulty. Over Iwo Jima she met her escort, two more B-29’s, one of which was called the Great Artiste. Together they proceeded to Japan.

30: At 6:40 they climbed to 31,000 feet, the bombing altitude. The sky was clear. It was a perfect morning.

31: At 3:09 they reached Hiroshima and started the bomb run. The city was full of sun. The fliers could see the green grass in the gardens. No fighters rose up to meet them. There was no flak. No one in the city bothered to take cover.

32: The bomb exploded within 100 feet of the aiming point. The fireball was 18,000 feet across. The temperature at the center of the fireball was 100,000,000 degrees. The people who were near the center became nothing. The whole city was blown to bits and the ruins all caught fire instantly everywhere, burning briskly. 70,000 people were killed right away or died within a few hours. Those who did not die right away suffered great pain. Few of them were soldiers.

33: The men in the plane perceived that the raid had been successful, but they thought of the people in the city and they were not perfectly happy. Some felt they had done wrong. But in any case they had obeyed orders. “It was war.”

34: Over the radio went the code message that the bomb had been successful: “Visible effects greater than Trinity … Proceeding to Papacy.” Papacy was the code name for Tinian.

35: It took a little while for the rest of Japan to find out what had happened to Hiroshima. Papers were forbidden to publish any news of the new bomb. A four line item said that Hiroshima had been hit by incendiary bombs and added: “It seems that some damage was caused to the city and its vicinity.”

36: Then the military governor of the Prefecture of Hiroshima issued a proclamation full of martial spirit. To all the people without hands, without feet, with their faces falling off, with their intestines hanging out, with their whole bodies full of radiation, he declared: “We must not rest a single day in our war effort … We must bear in mind that the annihilation of the stubborn enemy is our road to revenge.” He was a professional soldier.

37: On August 8th Molotov finally summoned the Japanese Ambassador.  At last neutral Russia would give an answer to the Emperor’s inquiry.  Molotov said coldly that the Soviet Union was declaring war on Japan.

38: On August 9th another bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, though Hiroshima was still burning.  On August 11th the Emperor overruled his high command and accepted the peace terms dictated at Potsdam.  Yet for three days discussion continued, until August 14th the surrender was made public and final.

39: Even then the Soviet troops thought they ought to fight in Manchuria “just a little longer.”  They felt that even though they could not, at this time, be of help in Japan, it would be worth while if they displayed their good will in Manchuria, or even in Korea.

40:  As to the Original Child that was now born, President Truman summed up the philosophy of the situation in a few words, “We found the bomb” he said “and we used it.”

41: Since that summer many other bombs have been “found.”  What is going to happen?  At the time of writing, after a season of brisk speculation, men seem to be fatigued by the whole question.

Merton, Thomas. ORIGINAL CHILD BOMB. 8000 copies were printed for New Directions by Century Letter Company in December, 1961. 

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