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Lecture features effects of bomb

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BY SAM LEDOUX
Special to the Monitor

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On Tuesday evening the Los Alamos Historical Society hosted a lecture called “Visual Peace: War Transformed.” The lecture primarily focused on the importance of maintaining peace and enhancing the relations between the residents of Los Alamos and the people of Japan.
About 60 people attended the event mostly from the Los Alamos area, joined by a few special guests from Japan.
The event began with an art show that featured collaborative art work from Betsy Miller-Kusz, whose father worked on the Manhattan Project, and Masaru Tanaka, whose father was injured by the Atomic bomb detonated at Hiroshima.
The art featured pieces that were a fusion of photography and painting.  
One special piece featured an origami crane folded by President Barack Obama in Hiroshima during his visit.
The exhibit also featured more subtle pieces such as glass vases containing earth and water from the locations that are most associated with the World War II nuclear bombings: Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Pearl Harbor and Los Alamos.
The lecture portion of the evening began with an incredibly emotional speech by Toshiko Shinagawa, as she recounted the story of how her family members died as a result of the atomic blast.
Guests also watched a screening of the 2007 film “No More Hiroshima, No More Nagasaki,” a documentary with an underlying theme of abolishing nuclear weapons and used first-hand accounts about the atomic bombings from some of the survivors. These narrations were intertwined with news footage of statements from various world leaders in support of nuclear weapon development.
Following the screening, there was a panel discussion where the artists and the director of the film, Yuki Nakamura, addressed comments and questions from the audience. While most of the discussion centered around thanking the Artists and the film makers for bringing their exhibit and the film to Los Alamos, there also seemed to be a sense of discomfort in the room regarding the subject and its roots in America.
Eventually one woman commented, “I’m sorry to be the one who says this, but nuclear weapons are the only deterrent we have to defend ourselves against the maniacs that may use theirs.”
Several comments followed pertaining to the underlying theme of the film and the United States decision to use the atomic bomb. The panelists refrained from discussing anything too political despite the major political overtones of the film, including a section criticizing former President George W. Bush. The film’s director Nakamura commented, “ I just can’t get into discussing politics.” and repeated similar statements when further follow up discussion continued. Many attendees urged that the film should be shown in schools and be published online. Nakamura commented that she was considering both ideas.
Overall, the attendees felt the event was powerful and were encouraged to see the dialogue move forward in trying to heal the wounds of the past. Despite some emotional commentary it seemed like everybody enjoyed their evening.
“These are important stories worth telling, we need to continue the dialogue and keep telling stories to move forward,” said attendee John Bartlit.