Editorial: Symbols of peace

As I write this, my 16-year-old nephew is on the trip of his lifetime (so far) on a school exchange in Japan. It was just over a year ago that my family and I were also holidaying in Japan, having an awesome time.

Japan is truly an amazing place. We went during cherry blossom season and there were trees blooming everywhere. We rode bikes through Kyoto, sang karaoke in Osaka and played video games all day in Tokyo.

We also visited the Peace Memorial in Hiroshima. It was there that I was reminded of the story of Sadako Sasaki, the 12-year-old girl who made over 1 000 origami cranes from her hospital bed. Those cranes are now recognised as an international symbol of peace.

Sadako was two years old when she survived the nuclear bombing of her home town, Hiroshima, in 1945. As a result of radiation from the bomb, she developed leukaemia and died ten years later. Japanese legend says that if you fold 1 000 cranes your wish will come true, so Sadako set upon the task, folding 1 300 in total – and inspiring people the world over to continue the legacy and journey towards peace.

Children and adults across the world contribute origami cranes to the collection at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, as they remember the atrocities of the atomic bomb and wish for peace.

The Hiroshima Peace Park, memorial and nearby museum, reminds global citizens that striving for peace is worth it; that we never want to end up in such destructive conflict again.

In 2013, Sadako’s family donated one of her folded cranes to Pearl Harbour in a symbolic act of peace. Her cranes have also been donated to the World Trade Centre Visitor Centre in New York and the Austrian Study Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution.

Sadako’s story is pretty well-known; I certainly heard it many times as a child, and have spent a number of craft days making the origami cranes. It feels like one of those stories I’ve known forever – almost a legend itself.

Except, being at the memorial helped me to understand that it is more than a story; these events really did happen.

This edition features a number of stories of hope for peace; our profile story with Dr Sue Wareham, and our feature remembering the centenary of the Moore River Native Settlement, plus more throughout.

Feel free to send us your thoughts to revive@wa.uca.org.au.

Heather Dowling

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