Sunday, December 06, 2015

Black Rain (Photo/Video Essay)

After the Bomb, after Hiroshima, after the flashing light, came Black Rain. A survivor termed it "greasy", covering them head to toe. Within the rain - within the blackness - more horror. Horror to be realized for years and decades to come. Infested with radiation, the black droplets seeped through the skin, penetrating into the deepest core of the body to wait, to destroy, to kill.

My dearest Japans, what have you done to bring this on yourself?

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In her history, Japan equally embraced the beautiful and the profane, never choosing. And in not choosing, became criminal. She never hid her lust for power, a ruthless meritocracy deeming only those who master power can be master. The only rule was to win, none caring how. For centuries she lay as a sleeping tiger after settling her internal wars. And when the world finally poked her, she came out roaring.

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The tiger yearned to feel its strength. It clawed its way into the world, ripping flesh from bone. For a time, its hunger could not be stopped. It gloried in the thought of ultimate triumph, rulers of the world. But this was a journey into darkness and lifelessness for the Japans. The tears she hid turned toxic and opaque. Amid her treasured colors ran black veins to feed them; disaster looming.

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Many were those who believed her sorrow was her weakness, that it betrayed their cause, undermined their power, and would write their final doom. But that was her secret savior, the chrysanthemum breaking the sword. Many were those who said there's no hope outside of the sword, to fear what lay hidden in the darkness behind the bamboo; have faith in the black limbs holding them together. Then, when the repressed tears came forth as Black Rain, everyone's worst fears were realized.

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After the droplets of death, is there a future? Have the sins of the past erased her hope? If so, she would not be the first to have been so foolish. This was a new kind of fear: not of death, but of life. Without the beauty of her colors life going forward would be trapped in eternal bleakness. The tears falling from the sky had come to save them, to purify and refresh. In the aftermath, that was easy to see. But by having declared their tears their enemy - with relentless fanaticism - they had laced them with as an unspeakable a death as the Japans had handed out.

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Gradually, painfully, the colors returned. The journey from darkness to light is never ending. The flower within having sustained her in the end. Now I too must ask myself: am I doomed by the sins of my past. Did I crush too cruelly the flower of life? Will I walk upon pathways of love or die of thirst in a dry riverbed? I know this, this fear of life in the aftermath of Black Rain. One is never the same.

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