HIROSHIMA — US President Barack Obama made history Friday by becoming the first incumbent US head of state to visit Hiroshima since American forces dropped an atomic bomb on the city in 1945, killing an estimated 80,000 people and hastening the end of World War II.
The atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima on Aug 6, 1945, killed thousands of people instantly and some 140,000 by the year’s end.
“We come to ponder the terrible force unleashed in a not-so-distant past,” Obama said after laying a wreath at a peace memorial. “We come to mourn the dead.”
Before laying the wreath at a peace memorial, Obama visited a museum where haunting displays include photographs of badly burned victims, the tattered and stained clothes they wore and statues depicting them with flesh melting from their limbs.
“We remember all the innocents killed in the arc of that terrible war,” a solemn Obama said.
“We have a shared responsibility to look directly in the eye of history. We must ask what we must do differently to curb such suffering again.”
The US president’s visit has stirred significant debate, with critics accusing both sides of having selective memories and pointing to paradoxes in policies relying on nuclear deterrence while calling for an end to atomic arms.
The two governments hope Obama’s tour of Hiroshima will highlight a new level of reconciliation and tighter ties between the former enemies.
Aides say Obama’s main goal in Hiroshima is to showcase his nuclear disarmament agenda, for which he won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.
The city of Nagasaki was hit by a second nuclear bomb on Aug 9, 1945, and Japan surrendered six days later.
A majority of Americans see the bombings as having been necessary to end the war and save lives, although some historians question that view.
Most Japanese believe they were unjustified.
Obama has said he will honour all who died in World War Two but will not apologise for the bombing.
“I’m coming, first and foremost, to remember and honour the tens of millions of lives lost during the Second World War. Hiroshima reminds us that war, no matter the cause or countries involved, results in tremendous suffering and loss, especially for innocent civilians,” Obama said in written responses to questions published in the Asahi newspaper on Friday.
The White House debated whether the time was right for Obama to break a decades-old taboo on presidential visits to Hiroshima, especially in an election year.
Bakar-Eid being celebrated
POKHARA — The Muslim people people are celebrating their grand festival, Bakar Eid, with much fanfare today.
The festival which is to be continued for three days from today is also known as ‘Eid-Ul-Juha’. The Muslim community considers this as a festival of devotion.
Ali Miya Literary Foundation, Pokhara Chairperson and religious preacher Hanif Miya informed that the festival marked the beginning with the recitation of Islam scripture Nawaz at Idgaha of Pokhara in the early morning today.
The Muslim people who are almost 10,000 in number in Pokhara alone are marking the festival with much excitement, he added.
The Muslims visit the mosques, offer prayers to Allah, perform the Namaj prayers and exchange greetings each others on the occasion.Follow @gorkhapost