Monday, August 09, 2010

Nagasaki Trip, Post 1: The Importance of Small Places

One of the best things about the 2010 Conference Against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs is that they take the Pacific very seriously. I attended so many academic conferences at the states and interacted with various antiwar and peace groups, but the Pacific was always something which you had to struggle to incorporate, or struggle to bring into the discussion. Even if it was an Asian American Pacific Islander event, the emphasis was always on Asians or Americans and the Pacific was always sort of brought in as a cute, exotic or ill-fitting footnote. When talking about these fragments from the Pacific, the equality or horizontal nature of the space would quickly be revealed in its dimension of vertical hierarchy, as the Pacific presence would be dealt with through recognition primarily, as something that needs to be seen, and brought into meaning or existence. The way that you can “recognize” this is if your value to the discussion is all cursory, as if what matters is that we have heard or seen what you offer. Your analysis is not necessary relevant or integral to the conversation at hand, but rather an important or unimportant extra helping of information. You, what you are saying or where you come from cannot be enough to substantially change anything, because larger groups, more visible groups hold the floor, and so you have to be relegated to a small, but often times colorful corner of the conversation.

What I have enjoyed about this conference is how the Pacific has been put on equal footing with other regions, because the organizing committee understands that size does matter in terms of nuclear weapons and war, but not always in terms of larger being better, or larger being more strategically important. Small places, unknown and ambiguous places can be just as important to large countries who want to hide their empires or the weapons they use to maintain them.

In my speech in Hiroshima I concluded my remarks with the following, which I will also reiterate in my speech in Nagasaki:

I come from a small island in the Pacific and one of the lessons which the nuclear age, the age of globalization has taught us is that small, unknown places are critical. To the superpowers, such as the United States, they are valuable because to most of the world, and most of their own citizens these places are faraway, unimportant or unknown. They are places where the inhuman violence of nuclear weapons can be stored, tested or placed in anticipation of war. Their smallness, their remoteness, their invisibility is a veil which has its own value for those who feed off of war or rumors of war. Solidarity starts with and is strengthened by the tearing away of that invisibility, and leaving no place left in this world where it is acceptable to store, test or place these weapons.

3 comments:

王辛江淑萍康 said...

道歉是人類一定必要的禮節..................................................

家唐銘 said...

如果你批評他人。你就沒有時間付出愛......................................................................

Nasa Images said...

Hope you would add my blog. Thanks a lot. Keep blogging....

Love your blog and you are added :) Keep up the good work and thanks for the kinds words. -- Kristen

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails