Peace March Journals 平和行進の日記

Japan Peace March journal Day 12 – Insights by AG Saño

Japan Peace March journal Day 12…25,093 steps made for peace…after walking almost 20 kilometers today, my host Tanaka san and Shige san brought me to this high school where they pointed to this memorial stone. In 1945, some of their students were sent to nagasaki to work in a factory manufacturing materials that were (presumably) used for the war. 5 of the kids died when the atomic bomb was dropped and destroyed almost everything. I had mixed emotions upon learning this. I’m sure anyone coming from countries that were invaded and pained by Japan would feel the same…but what overcame the pain was the feeling of pity not just for the 5 kids who were studying in this institution (who practically lost their childhood even before they died in the atomic blast) but for all the innocent victims of war…it is an experience so profound that i fail to make use of necessary words to tell my story of the day…what immediately comes to mind is the common phrase that “in war there is really no winner.”

I can’t help but ask myself what i am doing here now. Why am i walking 200+ kilometers to nagasaki? Why am i walking in solidarity with the descendants of the soldiers who killed and maimed our very ancestors? Why are they calling for peace at a time when they are not really at war? Why are they stressing to say no to nuclear weapons when they are not armed?

Tonight, at dinner, a young union leader heading the segment of the march asked me the first question that i asked myself: “what am i here for?”

I said I had at least 4 reasons…one of which is that i belong to a group that spread the message of peace. We at Teach Peace Build Peace Movementuse art, music and education to promote peace. So it is natural for me to say yes to such an undertaking. Second, I belong to a group of Filipinos who believe that walking is a philosophical activity. Something that could create or spark change. STEP JUAN and CLIMATE WALK walked through long distances to be in touch with people…to connect. Again, this undertaking is but natural for me.

Third, I told them about the death march where the cruelty of war was at its peak. The young leaders were dumbfounded when i told them what i knew about it. One striking detail was the distance of the march…somehow similar to what i will cover here…but totally opposite in nature…

Here, 200+ kilometers peace march…at this point, the senior member of the group, a 70 year old walker started to talk. He said they keep on talking about the horrors of the atomic bombing of nagasaki and of hiroshima when in reality they have caused countless deaths and suffering to many nations during WW2. It is here when he asked forgiveness and that in war…there are only losers…

Silence enveloped the room…

Then he said that all the more, we must “fight for peace.”

– AG Saño, 28 July 2015, Saga Prefecture

This entry was written by Peace March Journals and published on July 28, 2015 at 9:00 pm. It’s filed under Peace Movement. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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