Verzoening in Nagasaki

Nieuws | de redactie
10 augustus 2015 | Rob Schouten is dezer dagen in Japan. De catering manager van de HAN is daar niet zo maar. Hij sprak er in Nagasaki tot overlevenden van de atoombom. Zijn vader was een KNIL-soldaat die in die stad als gevangene dwangarbeid moest verrichten. En toen viel op 9 augustus de bom.

Bij een bijeenkomst van overlevenden sprak hij over de belevenissen van zijn vader en de gevolgen van die atoombom op het leven van hem en zijn gezin. Tegen het HAN-blad Sensor vertelde hij daar eerder al over: “Als kleine jongen heb je weinig weet van de trauma’s die je vader heeft. Maar vanaf mijn zestiende zag ik steeds meer tekenen. Zo had hij ’s nachts vaak dromen of nachtmerries, en werd ‘ie badend in het zweet wakker. Ik heb een enorme waardering voor mijn moeder, want zij wist hem altijd weer tot rust te brengen.”

Verzoening en Vergeving

Vooral de verzoening met en vergeving van zowel de Japanners als de Amerikanen die in het leven van zijn vader zoveel hadden aangericht stond centraal in zijn rede. U leest Rob Schoutens betoog hier onder. Zijn site Imagine Peace Now over zijn initiatief en bezoek aan Japan vindt u hier


Thank you for giving me this opportunity for being on stage and telling my story.

My name is Rob Schouten and the reason that I am here is because I am on a mission on behalf of my father and myself. The story I am about to tell you, hopefully opens your eyes and your heart for a better world. A world of peace. 

70 years ago my father, Eef Schouten, wrote history here in Nagasaki. He was one of the few victims that survived the Atomic bomb. As a soldier, from the Royal Dutch Indonesian Army, he was captured by the Japanese army when they invaded Indonesia. Like thousands of his comrades he became a prisoner of war and was taken to a prison camp in Japan. In those 2.5 years he had to do hard labor and witnessed the cruelty and horror in these prison camps.

On the day of the A-bomb attack my father, with several of his comrades, was working in a tunnel when suddenly a big explosion went off. A bright white light, brighter than the sun, was followed by a big blast. Before he knew it, he was thrown back into the tunnel where he fell unconscious.

When he woke up, the sky was dark and red and he saw that all of Nagasaki was destroyed. The heat was intense and with those who had survived he fled into the hills as far away as he could get from this hell. On his back, he carried an old and very wounded Japanese lady and saved her from this inferno.

For three days and nights Nagasaki burned and the survivors experienced their worst nightmare. No one knew what this bomb was that destroyed and killed everything and everyone and no one knew about the radiation that killed many more.  I’ll spare you the details of the horror that those survivors had to witness, but my father had to live and suffer the rest of his life. Nevertheless and thanks to my mother, who dragged him out of his trauma, he raised five healthy kids.

One day in 2008 he read an article in a magazine, that Japan recognized A-bomb victims worldwide. After three years he finally got his recognition and passport as an official Hibakusha, an Atomic bomb victim. That recognition was for my father the turning point in his life in which he forgave the Japanese occupier for the horror and suffering, that was done to him. Like he also forgave the Americans for dropping the Atomic-bomb.

Three months before he died in November 2012, he was being filmed by Sishu Azuma, who made stories about Hibakusha worldwide. Unfortunately my father had lost his memory, but one sentence he did remember quite clearly. In Japanese he said “watashi wa anata wo aishite imasu”, which means I love you.

This, my ladies and gentlemen is the key phrase for forgiveness and to open the way to a new future. A future without nuclear weapons, without war and were mankind  can live in peace together. John Lennon even wrote a song about it ; Imagine………. A song that was very dear to my father. A song with a very strong message that we all need to listen to, once in a while.

So why am I telling you all this?

I have seen a very dear and kind person who cares a lot about others, suffering his whole life from trauma of this horrific war. Not only my father, but those who experienced war worldwide, suffered.  For me finally all the pieces of the puzzle I had experienced in my life, came together. A voice inside of me told me to act and I felt the strongest feeling to tell you this story and share it with you and to fulfill this mission.

I want future generations to be spared of what these people had witnessed and suffered. I want to warn this generation and beyond, what a great impact the Atomic-bomb has on a person’s life, and generations to follow. So the best way to remember them is to never start a War again. But now as we look to this world, are we living in peace ? Unfortunately not.

We are still fighting over religion, racism, land, power, money. So what have we learned after so many wars and who is to blame? Oh sure we all make mistakes and we are here on this earth to learn from them.  But to the leaders of this world I would like to say; how do you want to be remembered, as the savior of world peace or the destroyer of this planet?

We are all crying out loud , No more !, but we are still guided by the wrong leaders. Don’t let them guide you, but guide yourself. Now and then an individual like me or a group, stand up and want to do something about it. Like the Mayors of peace, one of the biggest peace clubs in this world. Their goal is to prevent a nuclear war on their city’s again.

But we can’t do it alone. We need you to participate and to join in. We can’t change history, but we sure can change the future together. You too have the power. You too can make the difference.  Just as my father, as an individual, standing between two big nations and being able to forgive. Just as I am an individual standing before you and asking for your help.

If we do nothing, than one day we will face world war three and I believe, that will be the end of mankind. You have the biggest piece of the puzzle and the power in your hands to accomplice peace. Everybody wants peace, all over this world right now, people are shouting for Peace. So I’m asking all of you………………….

Who wants Peace ? If you do, please Raise your hands!!

To spread peace worldwide we have made a plan using social media. Social media is as powerful as the explosion from an Atomic-bomb , but then in a positive way. And it is quite simple. Just use your mobile phone and make the connection with all the people you know on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and tell them to follow this great cause ….. Peace in this world.

This plan is to be launched at the commemoration on the 9th of August at 11:02, the exact time the A-bomb went off, 70 years ago. Our wish is to get as many followers as we can on #Imaginepeacenow.2x Until everybody embraces this day as the historical turning point towards the movement for world peace. We’re counting on YOU. Please join!

Thank you so very much………

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