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World Peace Though West & East Friendship

Honoring Our Past with a Plea for Peace

August 6, 2023. We feature our Peace Letter written more than 25 years ago. My dear friend, Chigusa, writes to me that we are more in need of peace today than ever before. That our current conflicts in Ukraine are serious and that we need to reconcile our differences today, for now and for the future.

Thus, in the honor of our common needs and desires, I post our Peace Letter with translations more clear than before. When I change our front page again, I'll post a revised version where the Peace Letter was originally.

If we want to examine how we all see things. I advise that many of our readings begin on the left and read to the right. In Chigusa's world, things are read, mostly, from right to left. Thus, we both occupy the important part of the page when I designed it way back in 1995. It was a glorious summer that we spent together making printed materials to share history with others. In this instance, we hoped to share a desire for Peace in the World. Friendship that spans the globe. A worthy goal, don't you think? Try it out in your life. It works for me.

So, let's begin our translation with Chigusa's writing. The lovely artwork on the right side of the page translates into loving thoughts of one friend for another, including, a plea for friendship as a pathway for peace.

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Whenever I think of my pen-friend Bridget, I am filled with warm and gentle feeling. Itís simply because we are tied up with the bond of Ďfriendshipí through laughing, cooking, singing, & talking together.

However, at the same time, over 50 years ago, (now 75 years) our ancestors including grandparents, family, loved ones hated and killed one another because of our important people. I feel deep sorrow and great fear when I imagine of that matter of war.

We should learn from the history of war, which turns everything into nothing. Letís spread the bond of friendship all over the world. And letís spread the circle of friendship to the world. I would like to extend the bond of Bridget & me, as we keep our many years friendship which Lady Luck bestowed upon me (on us!) to share with family, friends, and the world.

Chigusa Ohtsuka
Portland. Ore.
Aug. 6. 1995

East & West Peace artwork1

We treat pigeons as representatives of peace. In those days I illustrated cranes as well. Itís because it is believed that a thousand folded cranes make the wish come true. In our case, of course, world peace. Thatís why I chose both of them for our letter.

East & West Peace artwork2

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Now, my side of the Peace Letter:

"Peace on Earth, Goodwill Toward Men" is sung every Christmas by many people in America. But many Americans don't think about the wars that go on every day.

Today, 50 years after the bombing of the city of Hiroshima, Japan, we are still being told that this bombing was necessary to end the war. If you believe this half-truth, then you have not studied the story nearly well enough and you do not know that the central part of the city of Hiroshima was chosen as a target because it would include women and children.

Must it always take 150 years to apologize for being wrong? The Oregon trail celebration in 1993 forced the pioneers' descendants to face the American Indians about the genocide and atrocities that were practiced on their ancestors, but at the turn of the century it was still unthinkable to admit such a thing.

An editorial written in 1905 claimed that Oregon had no horrible history and that the Indians had all been treated fairly and that their land was rightfully purchased. But, 90 years later we are finally admiting that this isn't true; but, a fallacy that was handed down to us so that we might not wither under the guilt of our ancestors' sins.

It is horrible to believe that our country would practice genocide on the Indians, or that we would stand by while the Jews were gassed in the Nazi camps, so why would we believe that our government purposefully bombed a civilian target instead of a military one with this terrible new weapon in 1945?

World War II may now be officially over, but it will never truly be over until we recognize what we did to the people of Japan; until we realize that we killed many of their families and friends, that we permanently poisoned some of their most precious grounds, parklike areas nestled among the city dwellings full of lively humans going about their daily lives, much as we do. Imagine Portland blown into ashes... horrible thought...and Seattle, gone in a flash of light....because we must also remember we destroyed Nagasaki, another beautiful city as close to Hiroshima as Portland is to Seattle. Words are inadequate to describe the effects, effects which continue today.

After viewing the movie, "Hiroshima Mon Amour" I found I could not remain removed from the tragedy.

If we fail to recognize that our dropping the atomic bomb on Japan was wrong, then, we have not come very far as a civilization in the last 50 years. I can't wait another 50 years to tell the Japanese people how I feel. I want my close friend, Chigusa Ohtsuka and her family to know how I feel...

I believe we were too hasty in the use of this awful power, this bomb that continues to wound years and even decades later. We were too willing to use monumental violence to make peace on our terms. We were too willing to sacrifice your citizens for our soldiers.

I'm sorry for the misery that we caused. I'm sorry for the little children that we killed; I'm sorry for the parks that we destroyed. I'm sorry that the grudge still remains between our governments. Instead of looking for differences, let's celebrate our sameness, our humanness, let's all be friends. To heal and to progress our whole world needs peace, let it begin today. Let the war be over, finally Let us make a bridge of friendship that spans the world with hope.

Bridget E. Smith
Portland, Ore. Aug 6, 1995

East & West Peace Letter


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