Panel to examine legacy of Hiroshima bombings

SUNY Oswego will host a panel discussion, “Hiroshima Speaks and We Respond,” at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday, April 28, at Penfield Library’s Lake Effect Cafe.

The panel is inspired by the exhibit “Hiroshima Speaks,” which is currently on the first floor of the library and features photos taken immediately after the bombing of Hiroshima and the stories of survivors. The panel and exhibit are free and open to the public.

One of the panelists is SUNY Oswego student Kosuke Kisaka, a citizen of Hiroshima province whose grandparents were directly affected by the bombing. Kisaka will be joined by professors Alok Kumar and John Kares Smith, who were responsible for bringing the exhibit to SUNY Oswego, Gregory S. Parsons of the history department and Stephen J. Rosow of the political science department.

“The photos, viewed as a group, call out for more discussion about what we can learn from Hiroshima,” said Nola Heidlebaugh, the college’s coordinator of civic engagement. “Was the bombing necessary to bring the war to a close, as many claim? Is destruction like that documented in the photos ever justified?”

Heidlebaugh also said the panel provides an opportunity to ask whether history can inform our future, questioning if the horrors of Hiroshima can be avoided even as countries stockpile nuclear weaponry. 

“We hope this event will help launch discussions about these and other questions raised by the exhibit,” Heidlebaugh said.

The panel discussion is sponsored by the college’s Civic Engagement Coalition and Penfield Library, with additional support from the college’s department of modern languages and literatures, Office of International Education and Programs and Auxiliary Services.

For more information, call 312-3677.

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(Posted: Apr 17, 2009)