Wednesday, September 10, 2008

White Light, Black Rain

Yesterday, I watched this intense documentary on HBO called White Light, Black Rain: The Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This is such a powerful piece of work--it's a must see for this generation.

To be quite frank, you have to be prepared to watch this film. It has very disturbing images and information, but what you see and hear are valuable. I won't be able to forget these stories and images because they are so horrifying. The documentary includes videos and interviews from atomic bomb survivors. Hearing their stories gave me goosebumps. It's a worthwhile experience, but it will stick with you.

I just can't believe how far war can come. We wiped out entire cities to end the war, and I know we did so to end our own deaths and suffering in the war, but at what price? We ruined the lives of so many people, people who are still suffering with physical problems, mental torment, and lost lives because of two destructive acts. I can't believe Japan hasn't backlashed at us yet.

A friend of mine went to the museum in Japan dedicated to the bombings and she showed us some riveting pictures. She told us how high her emotions were when she was at the musuem, and I bet she's right. Just watching the video gave me chills. I couldn't imagine having that kind of experience.

The interviewees were mostly children or adolescents, so hearing what they went through is insane to imagine. What got me was thinking of all the women, children, and infants who were murdered. These two women who were interviewed showed a picture of their class of 620 in a school, and they were the only two survivors. Another was from an orphanage who took care of babies, and she was the only survivor. Some were the only survivor of whole families, and they were just children at the time! Some found their parents dead and burned in the streets and still whimpered their names. It's just so ridiculous to think about what these people went through at such a young age. I really can't even imagine, but it's human cruelty.

This could be used in the classroom with some warning and pre-talks about it. I wouldn't show all of it, just a few minutes in the beginning before it gets too intense.

I've learned to give pre-warning and pre-talks before seeing footage like this because, when I was in middle school, my history teacher gave us no warning or talk before playing Holocaust videos. I remember feeling so uncomfortable, confused, and nervous in that classroom, and we watched them for days! This guy was lazy. He really made me introduction to the Holocaust a terrifying one. That's just not right.

Anyway, if you really like documentaries, history, or just learning more about new things, check out this documentary. It is well worth your time. It's very well made and put together.

What did you think of the documentary White Light, Black Rain?

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