Life Arises from Hiroshima: Chaplain George Zabelka

Nagasaki after the bombing

Nagasaki shortly after the bombing. Somehow the arch of a ruined temple remained standing.

From Dr. Wayne Baker:
This week, as the world remembers the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I hope you will widely share this series by international peace trainer and author Daniel Buttry. Here is the second part of Dan’s series …

THE STORY OF CHAPLAIN ZABELKA

At the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we look at the questions of values transformation that saw life, hope, and new questions arise from the ashes.

George Zabelka in uniform

George Zabelka in uniform

George Zabelka was a Catholic chaplain in the U.S. Army Air Corp during World War II. Toward the end of the war he was stationed on Tinian Island with the 509th Composite Group. That was the Atomic Bomb Group that included the crews of the Enola Gay and Bock’s Car, the B-29s that dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He was a zealous military chaplain at the time.

Then Chaplain Zabelka visited Nagasaki as part of the occupation forces after the war. He was struck especially by the suffering of the children from the atomic bombing. In a separate story about the 70th anniversary, historians point out that most Americans never saw the extent of the suffering until the 1950s because of strict U.S. censorship of photos, films and reporting on the devastation.

Zabelka’s visit to Nagasaki gave him a rare post-war perspective. He said, “This was the beginning of a whole new kind of worm squirming in my stomach that something was wrong. These little children had nothing to do with the war. Why were they suffering?”

Then in 1973 he went on a retreat with Emmanuel Charles McCarthy where he heard about nonviolence, leading to his “about face” regarding war and nonviolence.

Zabelka dedicated the rest of his life to spreading the nonviolent teachings of Jesus and working for peace between people. On the 40th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima he undertook a “Pilgrimage of Forgiveness” to meet with victims and ask forgiveness for his and his Church’s silence. He asked forgiveness “for bringing you death instead of the fullness of life, misery instead of mercy.” (Read the text of a talk he gave on the40th anniversary; or read more about his life on Wikipedia.)

Have you ever asked forgiveness for serious hurt you’ve caused others?

What had to happen inside you to bring you to that point?

What values gave you the conviction and courage to ask forgiveness?

START A CONVERSATION … You are free to share, repost or print out these columns to start a discussion with friends or in your small group. You may also want to share this new column about worldwide responses to the 70th anniversary.

SING THE SONG … Australian folk musician Peter Kearney wrote a folk song about Zabelka. There’s a brief audio clip of the music on CD-Baby and you can read Kearney’s lyrics here.

WATCH THE DOCUMENTARY … The following film is the entire hour-long British documentary on George Zabelka, called “The Reluctant Prophet.” You may want to share this film with friends or your small group. You can find the film on YouTube and on Vimeo if you want to share it further.

Care to read more?

Cover Blessed Are the Peacemakers by Daniel ButtryThe Rev. Dr. Daniel L. Buttry is one of the world’s leading peacemakers. You can read more about his work and three of his most popular books here. In addition, Buttry edits his own online magazine InterfaithPeacemakers.com, where you fill find more than 100 inspiring profiles of men and women daring to make peace around the world.

This week, as part of his special series on Hiroshima, he has published a special multi-media column that includes six Hiroshima-related music videos.

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Life Arises from Hiroshima: Sadako Sasaki & the 1,000 cranes

Sadako Sasaki

Sadako Sasaki

From Dr. Wayne Baker:
Since I created OurValues, we have published thousands of columns that have sparked conversations both in the U.S. and abroad. This week, as the world remembers the bombing of Hiroshima, I hope you will widely share this series by international peace trainer and author Daniel Buttry. Here is the first part of Dan’s series …

August 6 and 9 mark the 70th anniversaries of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. These cataclysmic events marked the end of World War II and the beginning of the nuclear arms race and Cold War.

We look at the questions of values transformation that saw life, hope, and new questions arise from the ashes of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

THE STORY OF SADAKO SASAKI

Sadako Sasaki was a 2-year old in Hiroshima when the first A-bomb exploded. Like thousands of survivors, her health was threatened years later.

Cover One Thousand Paper Cranes about Sadako Sasaki

Click the cover to visit this book’s Amazon page.

In summer 2015, Japanese newspapers are reporting that two thirds of descendants of families who lived near Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 believe that their health has been, or still might be, negatively affected by the radiation.

When Sasaki was 12 she developed leukemia—but she drew hope from Japanese folk wisdom that if a person folded 1,000 paper cranes they would be granted a wish.

Hoping to live, Sadako began folding origami cranes, but she died after folding 644 cranes. Her friends finished the 1,000 cranes to be buried with her.

Sadako’s story inspired people far and wide to fold cranes in her memory and in the hope of peace.

A statue of Sadako was sculpted in Hiroshima’s Peace Park with a girl holding up a large paper crane at the very top of the monument. Thousands of cranes are left at the base of the statue, and millions more have been folded to express the hopes and prayers of people around the world.

At the base of the Sadako’s statue a plaque reads:

This is our cry.
This is our prayer.
Peace in the world.

Have you ever struggled to bring hope out of a desperate situation?

Was there a symbol into which you invested your hope?

How do the symbols of hope for others speak to you?

What is your cry and prayer?

Want to know how to fold a paper crane? The Origami-Fun website shows you how.

Looking for a book on Sadako for your family? If you have small children and the book, above, seems to mature for them—consider this book for younger readers.

START A CONVERSATION … You are free to share, repost or print out these columns to start a discussion with friends or in your small group. You may also want to share this new column about worldwide responses to the 70th anniversary.

Care to read more?

Cover Blessed Are the Peacemakers by Daniel ButtryThe Rev. Dr. Daniel L. Buttry is one of the world’s leading peacemakers. He made history as the first full-time, global peace trainer and negotiator employed by a mainline denomination: American Baptist Churches (ABC), which counts the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as its most famous pastor. You can read more about his work and three of his most popular books here.

In addition, Buttry edits his own online magazine InterfaithPeacemakers.com, where you fill find more than 100 inspiring profiles of men and women daring to make peace around the world. This week, as part of his special series on Hiroshima, he has published a special multi-media column that includes six Hiroshima-related music videos.

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Animal Values: Remember Huberta the Hippo or Socks the Cat?

We close this week with two real-life animals who unexpectedly became public figures.

HUBERT(A) THE HIPPO

Cover Hubert the traveling hippopotamus (1)

Click the cover to visit the book’s Amazon page.

“Hubert was different from the other hippos in one important way: He was not willing to stay near the river and spend his whole life in one neighborhood, as hippos generally do. Instead, in the fall of 1928, he left home and set out on a long, long journey.”

So begins the delightful children’s book by Edmund Lindop that you may find in your local library or perhaps in a used-book store. Wikipedia has the famous hippo listed as Huberta, because initial media reports in the 1920s made a mistake about the gender of this wandering hippo.

Despite some surprises, fits and starts—Huberta seems to have united people from many different communities during a 1,000-mile, more-than-two-year journey. The children’s book ends on a cheery note.

In truth, Huberta’s life ended tragically. She was protected—but hunters nevertheless killed her. As a result, there was a public outcry against the hunters—one of the first big anti-hunting outcries in Africa.

“It’s interesting that this story happened nearly 100 years ago,” says Bernard Unti, the Humane Society of the United States’s Senior Policy Advisor. “It’s still such an important issue. When President Obama was in Kenya, he talked about this issue of animal protection. There’s still a tremendous illicit trade in wildlife parts. In the case of ivory sales, for example, there still are groups like the antiques industry seeking exemptions on the continued sale—and these exemptions can become gaping loopholes through which nefarious characters can bring wildlife parts to market. We’re in a moment of tremendous peril for large animals. I’m glad you’ve brought up Huberta’s story.”

SOCKS THE CAT

Socks the Cat is a far more familiar figure in the U.S.

She was the most famous pet during the Clinton presidency—even greeting children at the kids’ version of the White House website.

“Sure, I remember Socks,” says Reasa Currier, an interfaith activist with HSUS. “There’s something extremely humanizing and disarming when you realize that presidents have pets, too. What a connection! Two thirds of Americans have pets. Nine out of 10 Americans who live with pets believe their pets are family members. It’s an experience we share.”

Do you remember Socks the Cat? Have you heard of Hubert(a) the Hippo before today? What animals draw people together today? (Look at yesterday’s post for news about Cecil the Lion.)

What’s your favorite pet story?

START A CONVERSATION …

There’s so much to think about, this week! Millions of Americans are talking about pets with the release of Dr. Seuss’s newest book, What Pet Should I Get? We encourage you to share these columns with friends to spark discussion.

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Animal Values: Are Balto and Greyfriars Bobby your heroes?

Already this week, we’ve explored the values we associate with four famous fictional animals. Now, we’re turning to real-life animals who have inspired people around the world. That’s happening again this week in the public outcry over the killing of Cecil the Lion in Kenya. Wikipedia already is collecting facts about Cecil’s life and tragic death.

Today, let’s remember two other animals who drew worldwide attention …

BALTO

Cover The Adventures of Balto by Pat Chargot

Click the cover to visit the book’s Amazon page.

In 1925, every American knew the name of the sled dog Balto who carried diptheria anti-toxin to Nome, Alaska, during an outbreak of the disease during a particularly severe winter. Other modes of transportation, including planes, could not reach Nome in extreme cold (sometimes more than -50-degrees below zero) and almost impossible visibility (including white-out snow at one point).

Wikipedia tells more about Balto, whose story was so popular coast to coast that Balto’s statue stands today in New York City’s Central Park. To learn the entire story, we encourage readers to find journalist Pat Chargot’s version of the story, The Adventures of Balto. (Pat Chargot also helped with the preparation of Warren Petoskey’s Native American Memoir, Dancing My Dream, which is published by ReadTheSpirit Books.)

“The story of Balto is an example of the absolutely essential relationship that can develop between humans and animals—and how powerfully reliant we are on one another in some situations,” says Reasa Currier, an interfaith activist with the Humane Society of the United States. “Dogs work with humans in so many areas of service. We see dogs at airports now. They play so many important roles in our society.”

GREYFRIARS BOBBY

The story of the loyal Skye Terrier who visited his human companion’s grave for more than a decade is a classic Scottish story—a signature part of Edinburgh history. As Wikipedia documents, journalists and historians have made multiple attempts to debunk the original story—but Bobby’s story is enshrined in a landmark statue in Edinburgh. He’s also the subject of three movies, one of them in the silent era.

Bobby’s owner died in 1872 and, as the story goes, Bobby made daily visits for 14 years.

“One of the most common 19th-century names for dogs was Fidele, which means loyal. Balto certainly was a loyal agent of service to humankind. In the case of Greyfriars Bobby, we remember the devotion, faithfulness and loyalty,” says Bernard Unti, HSUS’s Senior Policy Advisor. “This is why historically many bank notes included a picture of a dog—or even a dog sitting on a locked chest—to summon some confidence in the bank client that your money is safe with something like the First Bank of Hagerstown. We admire in animals some of the very qualities we admire in other human beings.

“That’s why around the world, people have celebrated stories like Greyfriars Bobby. In Japan, there’s the story of Hachiko, whose human companion died and yet the dog kept going to the train station each day where the man had gone back and forth to work.”

Do you know the story of Greyfriars Bobby? Or of Hachiko? Have you seen the 2009 Richard Gere film, Hachi: A Dog’s Tale? Have you known a dog who embodies loyalty for you?

TALK WITH FRIENDS …

There’s so much to think about, this week! Millions of Americans are talking about pets with the release of Dr. Seuss’s newest book, What Pet Should I Get? Many also are talking about the fate of real-life animals after the trophy hunting of Cecil the Lion. We encourage you to share these columns with friends to spark discussion.

 

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Animal Values: Are you a fan of Toto or Lassie?

Americans are talking about pets with this week’s release of Dr. Seuss’s new What Pet Should I Get? At OurValues, we’re exploring values related to animals. We are highlighting eight animals that have been world famous. We also are drawing on insights from two leading advocates of animal welfare with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

TOTO

Dorothy with Toto in the Wizard of Oz movie (1)“Toto, I’ve got a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore” was rated one of the most memorable lines ever spoken in a movie by the American Film Institute. That line from the MGM movie captures the indelible bond between the spunky little Cairn Terrier and the increasingly courageous girl from Kansas.

“Toto is Dorothy’s protector and companion,” says Reasa Currier, an interfaith activist with HSUS (profiled this week in ReadTheSpirit magazine). “Toto even goes through the tornado with her! You really see how animals stand by you through thick and thin.”

In fact, Dorothy winds up being caught by the tornado and travels to Oz because of Toto’s actions. The brave little dog consistently opens up new truths for Dorothy—including Toto’s famous unveiling of the Wizard as a little old man trying to hide behind a curtain. (Before Oz fans email us about the finer points: We know some fans debate Toto’s breed in the novels, but Toto was a Cairn Terrier in the MGM movie.)

What role has Toto played in your life—or perhaps a dog like Toto? Ask your friends about Toto, too!

LASSIE

The brave collie turns 75 this year. Current Lassies visited the TV-network morning shows this spring to mark the milestone. In 1940, journalist and screenwriter Eric Knight published the landmark novel Lassie Come Home.

The story was such an immediate hit that it resulted in 11 movies, two radio series, a two-decade-long TV series and countless other appearances of Lassie. A search for Lassie on Amazon turns up 20 pages of movies, TV shows on DVD, novels, picture books and other media.

“Lassie and Toto both exemplify the strength of the human-animal bond,” says Bernard Unti, HSUS’s Senior Policy Advisor and expert on worldwide initiatives for animal welfare.

What role has Lassie played in your life?

TALK WITH FRIENDS …

There’s so much to think about, this week, as millions of people are talk about pets! Come back through Friday, this week, for more OurValues columns about famous animals from around the world.

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Animal Values: Are you a fan of Bambi or Br’er Rabbit?

Americans are talking about pets with this week’s release of Dr. Seuss’s new What Pet Should I Get? At OurValues, we’re publishing five columns that you can share with friends to dig deeper into the many important values concerning the animals we bring into our homes.

In Part 1, we looked at changing values in pet adoption. Today through Friday, we will focus on eight animals that, at various times, were world famous for the values they embody. We will be drawing on thoughts from two leading advocates of animal welfare with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). Today, we’re starting with two beloved—and controversial—animals: Bambi and Bre’er Rabbit.

Frontier Town and Brer Rabbit (1)

One of the few places Disney still features Br’er Rabbit is in Orlando’s Frontierland. Visitors pass this colorful status of Br’er Fox and Br’er Bear searching everywhere for their prey. They don’t seem to notice that clever Br’er Rabbit has simply hitched a ride on the big bear’s club.

BAMBI

You probably know the little deer from the Walt Disney movie, rather than the original novel by Felix Salten. However, readers who discover Salten’s book of stories often have deep emotional responses to the way Salten describes life in the woods. Author Benjamin Pratt wrote about the joy of discovering Salten’s book, this spring.

Reasa Currier, an interfaith activist with HSUS (profiled this week in ReadTheSpirit magazine) is a fan of the Bambi movie. “The film shows that animals have relationships with one another and mothers care for their children in the same way humans care for our children,” she says.

“That’s one important element of Bambi’s story—seeing the family bonds and affection among animals,” says Bernard Unti, HSUS’s Senior Policy Advisor and expert on worldwide initiatives for animal welfare. “Another element is that the Bambi movie has been a highly transformative story in shaping people’s sensibilities about wild animals. … Many hunters regard Bambi as perhaps having had more impact in bringing people to question the ethics of hunting as just about any phenomenon in the past 75 years.”

How about you? Or your friends and family? What role has Bambi played in your lives? Please share this column with them.

BR’ER RABBIT

The “Uncle Remus” stories of white Southern journalist Joel Chandler Harris now are widely regarded as a cynical racist’s theft of African-American folklore. Even after the Civil War, Harris remained an outspoken apologist for slavery, arguing that it had been a good and humane system. Alice Walker and many other black writers have publicly condemned Harris for making money off their heritage even as he defended plantation owners. White journalists have joined them. H.L. Mencken regarded Harris as a scoundrel with little talent for anything other than literary thievery. The Song of the South, a 1946 animated movie about Uncle Remus, is the one movie that Disney refuses to re-release.

So, no question: Br’er Rabbit hops along with tons of baggage.

“That’s why it surprised me to find a whole section on Br’er Rabbit in Malcolm Gladwell’s new book David and Goliath,” said Reasa Currier.

Gladwell cites evidence from folklore researchers and writes at one point:

At the center of many of the world’s oppressed cultures stands the figure of the “trickster hero.” In legend and song, he appears in the form of a seemingly innocuous animal that triumphs over others much larger than himself through cunning and guile. In the West Indies, slaves brought with them from Africa tales of a devious spider named Anansi. Among American slaves, the trickster was often the short-tailed Br’er Rabbit.

Joel Chandler Harris’s theft of stories and Disney’s tone-deaf animated movie aside—the trickster rabbit is a powerful figure in the folklore of enslaved African-Americans—and their descendants.

How about you? Or your friends and family? What role has Br’er Rabbit played in your lives?

TALK WITH FRIENDS …

There’s so much to think about, this week, as millions of people are talk about pets! Come back through Friday, this week, for more OurValues columns about famous animals from around the world.

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Animal Values: Exploring Dr. Seuss ‘What Pet Should I Get?’

Cover Dr Seuss What Pet Should I Get

Click the cover to visit the book’s Amazon page.

“Pets!”

That’s the conversation-starter for millions of Americans this week—thanks to the release of Dr. Seuss’s “new” book What Pet Should I Get? It’s already a best seller and it won’t even be released until Tuesday! Over the weekend, Seuss sat at the summit of American literature—the No. 1 most popular book among the millions listed on Amazon. What Pet also was the full-color cover story in Sunday’s New York Times Book Review.

“Dr. Seuss crosses generational lines in many families. He was part of my childhood—and now, as a parent, I enjoy reading his books to my children,” says Reasa Currier, who works with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). “Our favorite now? We love The Lorax.

But, not everything is perfect in the Seuss universe when it comes to animals. This week, there are a few things you should know—and should share with family and friends.

First, remember: Theodor Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, died in 1991 at age 87. His publishing house says the book was written half a century ago, drafted between 1958 and 1962 while he was publishing One Fish Two Fish and Green Eggs and Ham.

Back then, a little neighborhood pet store was a different kind of shop than most of us experience now that a dozen major chains dominate the $60-billion pet-supplies industry. Today, many of these stores sell only food and equipment for pets—and those that do sell live animals are well aware of the controversies surrounding the commercial handling of pets. That’s not to say these retailers all follow best practices—but some now do.

Today, if you care about animal welfare, you can check with  the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) before you look for a pet at a local retailer. For years, HSUS has encouraged retailers to establish pet adoption programs that cooperate with local adoption and rescue groups, that meet healthy standards and avoid the notorious system of pet “mills.” It’s easy now to find HSUS-recommended shops via this web page, which ends with two methods for checking on retailers in your area. The easiest method, if you have a smart phone: Simply text the word Puppy to 30644 and, when the OurValues team checked out that method, the response was almost instant. HSUS recommended 4 shops in our part of Michigan.

In fact, if you follow the recommendations of HSUS and other animal-welfare organizations—pet shops shouldn’t be your first choice when looking for an animal friend to adopt. Most animal lovers recommend looking for pets at animal shelters or rescue groups. There’s an online resource from HSUS for finding one near you.

Plus, HSUS has tips on:

What would Seuss say?

th New York Times Book Review on Dr Seuss What Pet Should I GetIn Sunday’s New York Times Book Review, the Times’ children’s books editor Maria Russo wrote about this new book’s history—and added an intriguing argument. Russo says that this book probably was not written over the four-year period (’58-’62) described by the publisher and then forgotten in the author’s files. Russo thinks What Pet was finished before One Fish Two Fish (1960) and then was shelved because Seuss himself was uncomfortable with the pet shop as a setting—and some scenes in the book in which animals (including a fanciful creature called a Yent) have to fit into small spaces in the children’s homes.

Maria Russo writes:

Reading What Pet and One Fish together, it seems to me What Pet was a kind of warm-up for the more freewheeling and imaginatively rich book. One Fish has no plot, just a collection of escalating riffs on a brother and sister’s life with a parade of hilarious, useful and entertaining imaginary creatures. It’s as if Geisel took the Yent and the “tall pet that fits into a space that is small” in What Pet and ran with them. He picked them up, grabbed the children, and ran right out of the depressingly mundane commercial world of the pet store …

CARE TO READ MORE?

th Pope-Francis-on-the-cover-of-National-Geographic-magazine-2015-1If you care about these issues, you may also want to read a column in ReadTheSpirit magazine about the importance of Pope Francis’s new message about the environment—a story that also links to earlier OurValues reports on American attitudes about climate change.

Also, you may want to meet an interfaith activist working for animal welfare. Pope Francis is not alone in calling people of faith to protect the species that call Earth our home. In this profile, meet Reasa Currier, who works for the Humane Society of the United States in connecting religious leaders whose traditions call them to care for animals.

TALK WITH FRIENDS …

There’s so much to think about, this week, as millions of Americans talk about pets! Come back Tuesday through Friday, this week, for four more OurValues columns on “Animal Values.” We’ll look at some famous animals and the values they embody for people around the world.

Share this series with friends on social media. You’re also free to repost or print these columns to spark discussion. What stories can you share about animals you’ve loved? Talk about the values those animals embody in your life.

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