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Enough harm

July 1, 2014
Hiroshima in ruins

The city of Hiroshima lay in ruins after the US atomic bombing on August 6, 1945.

In addition to the indelible scenes from Hiroshima and Nagasaki and from other cities that have been terror bombed during wartime, with heavy losses of civilians, two pictures are impossible to get of my mind. One is from what happened in New York on September 11, 2001, and the other is from Oslo on July 22, 2011.

September 11 RetrospectiveIn New York, when two passenger airplanes were deliberately crashed into two crowded skyscrapers by a terrorist act, the result was huge explosions and the total collapse of both buildings with people and everything. There were heavy losses. The explosion and the collapse of the buildings caused so much dust and debris in the streets of Manhattan that people who inhaled the air had serious and long lasting deleterious effects on their airways. Many of the hero firefighters acquired chronic respiratory disease of which they are still suffering.

In Oslo, the capitol of my country, one right-wing terrorist on a summer afternoon first blew up a self-made bomb right outside the government buildings in the center of the city, and then went on by massacring 69 and wounding 58 young people who attended a social-democrat summer camp outside the city. The self-made bomb (made by fertilizers and chemicals) was brought into position in a van and detonated by remote control. The explosion demolished nearby buildings and caused serious damage, mostly to windows, several blocks away. Oslo-AttacksGreat parts of the city center looked like a war-zone. The nearby buildings are still inhabitable and still make the impression of a ghost city. Eight people were killed by the explosion, mostly by glass from windows that were blown into their offices, and about 200 were hurt by glass splinters and debris in the air. The explosion and the killings created incidental chaos—a true catastrophe for our small capitol and our society and, of course, a major challenge for our otherwise well-functioning health care system.

Being aware of many other similar catastrophes during the last year, what bothers me about these two, after all, limited events is that both came near to me and were far beyond what we as human beings and as societies can tolerate, or even deal with in an adequate way. Two collapsed towers and the damage made by a self-made bomb caused enough harm and created indelible scars in those who were affected either directly or indirectly. Nobody needs more than that, and we say never again.

Therefore, we must also say never ever to nuclear bombs that, if used by will or by accident, in any city would demolish most buildings and kill and hurt thousands and thousands of civilians. Today’s nuclear weapons are many hundred times more destructive than the bombs that were used against Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and which caused unbelievable damage to the two cities and their inhabitants.

Enough harm! Never again!

One Comment
  1. Arthur Milholland permalink
    July 1, 2014 3:00 pm

    Our harm is deep and wide. Look at “dead zones” in 2008 ( ). Now NPR Marketplace reports we have exhausted our capacity to produce seafood despite having more fishery area than anywhere else on earth.

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