by Fr. John Dear, S.J.
Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace
Last week, I returned to Los Alamos, N.M., the scene of our greatest crime, the birthplace of the atomic bomb, where preparations continue for bigger and better nuclear weapons. Even as the government is shut down and New Mexico has just been ranked worst in the nation for the well-being of children, plutonium bomb-making carries on at Los Alamos.
This time, I accompanied a delegation of 13 elderly Japanese peace activists from Hiroshima, Japan. Several of them were survivors and witnesses of the U.S. atomic bombing 68 years ago. They’re known as hibakusha, a Japanese word that refers to all surviving victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It translates as “explosion-affected people.”
It was one of the most moving experiences of my life.
The delegation was organized by the World Friendship Center out of Hiroshima. Their motto is “to foster peace, one friend at a time.” Several retired directors hosted them in Seattle and Portland, Ore., for two weeks before bringing them to New Mexico, where they spoke in six elementary and high schools and to classes at the University of New Mexico…