Thursday December 13, 2018

Debate on morality regarding Barack Obama’s Historic Visit to Hiroshima

About 71 years ago, a mushroom shaped cloud lit up the sky over Hiroshima, and three days later over Nagasaki. Some 140,000 people in the two cities died within the year, and survivors and their children faced untold suffering due to radiation poisoning.

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, center left, puts his arm around Japan's Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, center right, after they and fellow G7 foreign ministers laid wreaths at the cenotaph at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, Japan. Image source: VOA
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTVH4JevrdI

During what may be his last tour of Asia, President Barack Obama will make history as the first sitting U.S. president to visit Hiroshima, the site where the U.S. dropped the first atomic bomb in wartime.

Even before the president sets foot on what many consider hallowed ground, the announcement has sparked new debate on the decision to drop the bomb, and whether the United States should apologize or if a U.S. president should even visit.  Obama is expected to make a statement from Hiroshima, and will likely have to navigate a symbolic minefield.

Nearly 71 years ago

It was a moment that literally changed the world nearly 71 years ago when a mushroom shaped cloud lit up the sky over Hiroshima, and three days later over Nagasaki.  Some 140,000 people in the two cities died within the year, and survivors and their children have faced untold suffering due to radiation poisoning.  The U.S. rationale for the decision was to bring years of Japanese aggression to a quick end, potentially saving many more lives than would have been lost in a U.S. invasion.  But many Japanese see it differently, saying innocent men, women and children were unnecessarily incinerated and poisoned.

Secretary of State John Kerry visited Hiroshima last month.  He said he was deeply moved and that “every human being” should visit the site.  Some experts think that should include the U.S. president, among them Chris Appy of the University of Massachusetts.  He told VOA: “I was very pleased that he decided to go.  I think just showing up is important symbolic act that many Japanese have wanted for a long time.”

But Appy says he thinks the United States should also apologize for the atomic bomb attacks, “I am disappointed that the president appears not willing to apologize.  After all I think in our personal lives, we consider it the height of maturity when an adult is willing to take responsibility and accountability for actions.  Particularly actions that lead to the suffering of the innocent victims.”

Others strongly disagree, including Brian Harding of the Center for American Progress, who told VOA, “The president will not be issuing an apology and the Japanese government is not asking for one either.”

Hiroshima and Nagasaki victims nuclear bombing. Image source: Wikipedia
Hiroshima and Nagasaki victims nuclear bombing. Image source: Wikipedia

‘Special Responsibility’ for atomic bomb use

White House officials have made clear that the president will not apologize.  White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said, “What I think the president does appreciate is that President [Harry] Truman made this decision for the right reason.”

But Earnest said the United States does have a “special responsibility” as the only country to have ever used an atomic bomb to work tirelessly for nuclear non-proliferation.

McCain opposes visit

Others, including many older Americans and war veterans oppose Obama’s visit.

Republican Senator John McCain is a decorated Vietnam War veteran who ran against Obama in 2008 for the presidency.  He told VOA he simply does not see the point of the trip, “I’m not in the business of telling the President of the United States where to go.  But where, what is the purpose of it?  In some ways, you dredge up very unpleasant memories, but if the President wants to go somewhere he can.”

It is not yet clear whether the president will meet with any of the few remaining survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The president will be accompanied in Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.  They will lay a wreath, and Obama will make a statement.

The White House says the leaders will highlight the horrors of war and the need to work towards a world without nuclear weapons. (VOA)

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Apple Moves up in The List of Top-Rated Employers

Facebook investors have increased pressure on Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg to step down after a New York Times investigation suggested that the social network hired a Republican-owned political consulting and PR firm that "dug up dirt on its competitors"

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Facebook no longer best place to work in US, Apple gains ground.

Hit by users’ data scandals amid falling stocks this year, Facebook has lost the tag of best place to work in the US while Apple has moved up in the list of top-rated employers.

According to the leading job website Glassdoor’s annual “100 Best Places to Work in the US” list that came out on Wednesday, Boston-based management consulting firm Bain & Co. has been ranked No 1.

Facebook is now ranked No 7 — scoring 4.5 out of a perfect 5.

Apple moved up from No 84 to 71 with a score of 4.3. Microsoft moved up from No 39 to 34 as its score dropped from 4.4 to 4.3.

Microsoft-owned LinkedIn, however, is at sixth place with a score of 4.5, read the information on the Glassdoor website.

While Facebook was the best place to work in America last year, Cupertino-based tech giant Apple had tumbled to number 84 in 2017 from its 36th position in 2016.

Amazon didn’t even make it to the list, with an award score of 4.1, just outside of the top 100.

Apple, on the other hand, moved up in the ranking, from No. 84 to 71, though it maintained the same score of 4.3. Microsoft moved up in ranking from No. 39 to 34 on the list although their award score dropped from 4.4 to 4.3. Google was 8th while Salesforce came 11th.

Facebook
Facebook, social media. Pixabay

The Top-100 list by Glassdoor is for large organisations or those with at least 1,000 employees.

The Glassdoor list came at a time when media reports said several Facebook employees are looking for better opportunities as scrutiny of the company’s conduct rises following several cases of data leak and as its stock price take a beating.

According to a CNBC report earlier this week, Facebook employees are contacting former colleagues to look for jobs outside the company.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal last month citing an internal survey at Facebook, just over half of Facebook employees (52 per cent) said they were optimistic about the future of the social networking platform — down by 32 per cent last year.

Also Read- U.S. President Donald Trump’s Take on Climate Change

Only 53 per cent of Facebook employees said the company was making the world better, which is 19 per cent lower than last year.

According to the report, Facebook’s “difficult year is taking a toll on employee morale, with several key measures of internal sentiment taking a sharp turn for the worse over the past year”.

Facebook investors have increased pressure on Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg to step down after a New York Times investigation suggested that the social network hired a Republican-owned political consulting and PR firm that “dug up dirt on its competitors”.

Zuckerberg, however, has refused to quit. (IANS)