Saturday, January 12, 2019

The Hawaii Alert: What Have We Learned?

"Let's play a game . . . . "
(Image: Joe Scarry)

One year ago tomorrow, people in Hawaii were subjected to a warning that missiles were incoming.

Have we learned anything from that experience? I have tried to hear about the experiences of people who were there that day, and I have suggested that there should be a broad-based effort to do so.

Of the stories that I have heard, this is the one I just can't get out of my mind: A mother and father were at home with their little boy. They realized there was no safe place in the house to take shelter, and that the best they could do was to get in the innermost part of the house, get down on the floor, and try to shield their son with their own bodies. And so for the duration of the alert they formed a tight ball, telling their son that they were playing a game, and the point of the game was to cover every single part of his body with their bodies, so not a single part was showing.

That posture -- in a tight embrace with our beloveds, waiting for the end, accepting our own fate and yet hoping for a better fate for someone else -- seems to me very symbolic of where we have ended up in this nuclear weapons-dominated world.

I wonder: if we confronted what we have really been reduced to, might it help us stand up and demand a change?

Related posts: 

"Dawn of a new Armageddon" by Cynthia Lazaroff in Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

"Nuclear False Alarm Shows Why State Politics Are Not Enough" by Emma Claire Foley on Beyond the Bomb website.

"Mourning Armageddon" music video by Makana - "As one of over a million people in Hawai'i who were told on January 13, 2018 that they were about to be hit by a nuclear missile, renowned Hawai’i artist Makana said, 'Waking to an alert of a nuclear attack in Hawai’i got me thinking. Why is this even a possibility?'"

Trailer for film project "False Alarm" - "False Alarm takes a look at the diverse reactions to the surreal and traumatic morning when families, soldiers, tourists, and every person on Hawaii was forced to confront an unthinkable reality—an incoming nuclear missile. More than that, it explores the psychological reasons why this false disaster - which so dramatizes many faults in our current systems – may succeed or fail to inspire us to create a different future."

See also:

The Children Are Waiting

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