Hiroshima reminds Hasina of '71 atrocities | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 01, 2010 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, December 01, 2010

Hiroshima reminds Hasina of '71 atrocities

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday visited the historic Hiroshima Memorial Park and Museum and was overwhelmed with the deaths and destructions caused by the atom bomb “Little Boy” dropped on the city on August 6, 1945 during the World War II.
She was shown the pictures of this historic city both before and after the bombing, Hypo Centre on which the dreaded atom bomb was dropped, photo of the bomb “Little Boy” and radiated uniforms and shoes of school children who died in the bombing.
Chairman of Hiroshima Peace and Cultural Foundation Steve Leeper took Hasina inside the museum and showed her the exhibits reminiscent of the devastations caused by the atom bomb.
Some 73,000 bomb-attack survivors are still alive leading a painful life in Hiroshima and 200,000 others in entire Japan.
Hasina talked to 79-year-old lady Yoshiko Kajimoto, a survivor of the atomic bomb, at the museum. The day the bomb was dropped on August 6 in 1945 she was 14-year-old and a student of Hiroshima Junior High School. She went to work in a local factory on that day.
Narrating the incident, Yoshiko said in the factory it was as hot as sauna. She was already working and sweating. When the bomb detonated at 8:15am, she said a deep blue flash of light shot in through the front window of the factory. She thought she had been bombed directly and her body was blown to pieces with the factory.
“I came round with the sounds of screams of distresses all around me,” Yoshiko said. “My surroundings were still pitch black. I noticed that my friend was pinned under me and I could see her foot right in front of my face,” she said.
Yoshiko said: “We tried moving alternately, we struggled using our heads and both arms…when we got outside all of the buildings around us had collapsed and we could see far into distance.”
She narrated that the blazing sun was nowhere to be seen. It was as dark as twilight… chilly and eerily silent. Everything was grey, covered with dust.” After three years of the bombing, she got back home. Most of her friends died from cancer caused by atomic radiation.
“Whenever I speak to elementary and junior high school children who are now the age of my grandchildren, I feel so strongly that I never want these children to suffer the painful war experiences I had,” Yoshiko said.
She said: “I'll continue praying for peace. I want a world free of nuclear bombs.”
The prime minister embraced Yoshiko and consoled her.
Talking to local media after the visit to the museum, Hasina said: “I can't express in my words the horror and shock caused by the atom bomb.”
She said people of Bangladesh who suffered such dreadfulness and devastation of 1971 liberation war could feel the pains of the people of Hiroshima.
Hasina said three million (30 lakh) people embraced martyrdom during the 1971 war. She personally lost her father, mother and other members of her family in 1975 and she herself survived a grenade attack on August 21, 2004. “I can feel your distress,” she added.
When a journalist asked about her role to ensure peace in South Asia where India and Pakistan possess nuclear bombs, Hasina said as the prime minister in 1998 had telephoned the prime ministers of India and Pakistan after those countries conducted nuclear tests.
Later, she visited New Delhi and Islamabad and requested their leaders not to conduct nuclear tests for establishing peace in the region.
Hasina also recalled her initiative to hold a tri-nation business meeting in Dhaka where Indian and Pakistani prime ministers attended and she again requested them to diffuse nuclear tension in the region.
Although the nuclear problem has not been resolved in South Asia, she said: “I feel encouraged for being able to make some contributions towards establishing peace in the region.”

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