About men and atom bombs


Two people of note died this week without fanfare or blazing headlines.


The first was Mary Daly, a rip-roaring feminist who touched my life deeply when I was a student at Florida State University in the early 1980s. She came to speak there but would not take the podium unless the men in the room left. It caused an uproar, of course, because her trip had been funded with public money.

But I admired her courage for standing up for her beliefs. “You learn courage by couraging,” she said.

She said she was not interested in men. Rather, she wanted to study the capacities of women, repressed for centuries under male-dominated societies.

I didn’t agree with all of Mary Daly’s theories, but she inspired me to think outside the box.

Daly stuck to her principles all her life. At Boston University, the feminist theologian ended a stormy tenure by retiring rather than allowing men to sit in her classrooms.

Mary Daly was 81.

On the other side of the world, a man of a different sort of courage died of stomach cancer in a hospital in Nagasaki, Japan.

Tsutomu Yamaguchi was the only person officially recognized as having survived both the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II.

Yamaguchi was on a business trip to Hiroshima when he saw and felt the great white flash. Badly burned, he returned home to Nagasaki, where three days later, he witnessed horror again.

He, like may atom bomb survivors, suffered from health problems all his life. Still he lived to the ripe old age of 93 and in later years, he became a voice for the abolition of nuclear weapons.

Some said Yamaguchi was the luckiest man on Earth to have survived two nuclear bombs. Others wondered if he was the unluckiest to have lived — and to have remembered.

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