Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Stories from the Montreal Gazette

[There are some very disturbing and graphic images contained in this post. If you're having your morning muffin, or whatever, you may want to move on to something else. -- P.B.]

Aside from the wonderful food, fresh breezy air, laughs with pals, friendly people and clean-as-a-whistle Metro system, I really liked the English-language paper, the Montreal Gazette.

They had a series of articles on the Israeli pull-out from the Gaza strip, which Sharon calls the "disengagement:"


If you can search for the other articles on the subject, do take the time to read them. I read three or four over the weekend and I found them very helpful and good journalism. God knows it's a complicated subject.

Also appreciated, a powerful interview with Setsuko Thurlow, a woman who was eight years old and living in the center of the mushroom cloud in Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. It's in the subscriber-only part of the paper, but well worth buying if you have any interest in the subject matter. Hers is a perspective we don't often get in the U.S. She describes the immediate aftermath of the bombing as an eerily slow, quiet procession of death, with people moaning for water while their flesh dropped off of their bones. She saw a woman carrying her own eyeballs in her hands after they dropped out of the sockets. (I know it's not pleasant, people. It just happens to be the reality of the thing, and living in a nation whose president can't even pronounce "nuclear," it's all too easy to keep the concept of nuclear arms at a polite distance). Her schoolmates joined in a circle with their teacher and sang until, one by one, they died.

I don't know why or how she survived.

When little Setsuko finally broke down crying and lamenting all the suffering of her people in September 1945 (after Hiroshima had been hit by a typhoon) her father admonished her by saying, "What right have we to complain? We have life. We have this house over our heads."

In the U.S., we would think this kind of response totally insensitive and abusive. Thurlow took strength from it, and says that it gave her the courage later in life to work for nuclear disarmament.

I'm preaching on the subject of resilience on September 11, 2005. What stories of resiliency inspire you?


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