A native of Tokyo, Sister Magdalena Ezoe, OP earned a foreign student scholarship to study music in Miami in 1951. The following year, she entered the Dominican Sisters of Adrian, MI. Sister is now a Professor Emerita at Siena Heights University, Adrian, where she taught music for many years.
On July 3rd, I was reading an article written by Margaret Galiardi, a New York Dominican Sister. The Global Sisters Report piece asks some big questions:
Was it really necessary to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Was Vietnam a “just war”? …I [have come] to have additional questions about my country’s role in the coups in Guatemala in 1954, and in Chile 1973. I struggle[d] with racism within our own borders.
I am a native of Japan. Although I have not experienced the racist attitude and ideology still so rampant here in the States, a climate of racism and war tinged my childhood.
As I was growing up in Tokyo around 1931 to 1945, I harbored racism toward others living in Tokyo; not against Afro-Americans, but toward Chinese and Koreans. It was an attitude driven by violence: during that time we, the Japanese, were at war with China. We also occupied and assaulted Manchuria and Korea.
I did not experience the tragedy of the A-bombs myself. But, I lost my best friend and her mother and brother as they were hit directly by an incendiary bomb on May 26, 1945. On that day, a large section of the city was burned.
Was the bombing a necessity? Is war ever “just”?
Is this what makes any of us the greatest country in the world?
As I read Margaret Galiardi’s reflection, I found her five suggestions to celebrate the Fourth of July very appropriate. They don’t elicit a spirit of pride, but rather one of gratitude, generosity, and gentleness.
I’ve been a US citizen since 1961, but my upbringing in Tokyo has stayed with me. I have learned that none of us is the greatest nation in the world. In truth, we are all called to practice the virtues of forgiveness, empathy, and Mercy.
More on Sister Magdalena: