Become a Militant Pacifist .. Charred by <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />Nagasaki
I remember going to the Army Medical Museum adjunct of the Smithsonian in Washington DC as a child long long ago. Trust me, I happened upon this ghoulish place by Total Mistake. I'm sure it's most useful to the medical student, but to the 10-year-old seeing 30-gallon, two-foot-in-diameter glass test tubes with, say, an enormous elephantiasised leg from the knee down frayedly floating in formaldehyde was skincrawling. Row upon row of huge glass-tubed Everything in the place was diseased.
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But the scorching, the charred memory was all the black & white pictures of Hiroshima and Nagasaki victims. Maybe, though I never thought about it til this exact instant — those pictures were the boschian journey through the darkside of the human blackheart for why I grew up to be a militant pacifist?
I have never seen anything else like those pictures since. They were probably so clinical and blunt and close-up because it was the Army Medical Museum and not thought of as for the general public. And presumably they had Army access to photos that reporters wouldn't.
The wreckage and the radiation effects and the so-far past Hell monstrous hurt to children and to men and to women and to old people and the visible burned burned pain. It ripped open my young soul to what violence actually is in the violently tortured poor flesh. Having seen it, you could not cause it.
Maybe you could bear and repress three such pictures in a magazine or some in a book, but this was walls of them in ruthless medical close-up absent any remnant of artistic composition or recoil. Just 'Let's look at the boiled eye pulped socket and the radiation boiled flesh.'
There is something about radiation burns entirely different from fire-burns. It is unnatural in a way I only remember from all that life ago. Fire happens from the outside in as if there were some layer, some human refuge left however tormented. But radiation burn is from the marrow out all at once a fury of the insanely enraged and offended flesh as if it were microwrithingly boiling the flesh right in front of your screaming eyes.
Walls of these pictures and your pity and horror rose until the idea of causing harm or closing your eyes to harm changed your very dna — never. Never will I be party to, excuse, stop speaking, I owe it to these silent ruined people who could have been as shiny and delighted and sunstruck somersaulting as I was.
So here I am. Militant pacifist. Never speak to me of collateral damage. Put yourself in the dark fire first. Dare not do this harm to another whose hand you do not hold in the very incineration moment. Dare not stand apart.
ps. It was that day in Washington DC that I stepped upon another species path. I did not care if I was the only one. I claim nor exalt kin nor kindness with a species that would do that deliberately charred mutilation to its own kind whose photographs I saw upon the walls. Better alone in the universe with no friend nor God than to be one of the glorified, sung and storied DeathDealers or one of their apologists.
Militant pacifism. It was and is a reviled view. I cannot recommend this deep a loneliness to you, friend, but if you cannot bear the lies and the slither of rationalization, your own heart will feel light to you and you will have earned the wholehearted right to hear the dawn songs of birds without the static of the screams of the dead that the Killers hear in their own forsaken child’s heart. There was a time before they joined the Legions of DeathDealers, before they chose to walk across the line of blood and justifiy the sword; the machete; the M16UziAK47; the jellied gasoline. Before they surrendered their will to the command of a Dark Purpose which feeds on the blood of the innocent under the guise of glory.
There must have been a day when an X became sufficiently distinct from an Y to become a different species. Whatever is in the blood or in the minutely coiled memory of my parents, I too wave farewell across a divide over which I will never return. The death you deal is evil. There is no camouflage for that. I am not one of you.
I looked at eternity and I accepted that utter a loneliness rather than drink radioactive human blood again – or have my military priests share that evil sacrament on my behalf. In my chalice is water.
My anti-war views have evolved this far now. I would not have described myself with the phrase militant pacifist at once.
I remember when I stood in some shocking lightning illuminated moment in the Nixon era and saw that war wasn’t just sad and too bad –ah, the necessary evil – but was insane. That if you put a man on the couch and had him explain his actions with armies and air forces and what he was commanding to be done, you’d call for the strait jacket and ready the RubberRoom. Unless he was your President. It’s clearly clinically mad and just because so many people believe it doesn’t make it right or so. The earth was never flat no matter through how many generations or with how much God-granted authority it was proclaimed.
I recommend you stay with your fellows unless you have the stomach and sinew for a deep and silent dark which none could warn you of how far from human habitation it is, without the reassuring rustle and murmurs of your own kind. A very few will still speak to you and leave a bowl of soup for you to find. But none will hold your hand.
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