Junior Writers Reporting

Junior writers speak with young people from Spain about handing down the bombing of Gernika

Four members of “ORIGAMIAK from Gernika to Hiroshima,” a group based in the Basque region of northern Spain, are currently visiting Hiroshima. On this occasion, junior writers from the Chugoku Shimbun interviewed them about their activities. The visitors are young people in their teens and 20s from Gernika-Lumo, Spain who are involved in peace activities for youth.

Jon Musatadi, 21, the founder of the group, visited Hiroshima in March and learned about Sadako Sasaki. He was impressed by the fact that the Children’s Peace Monument was realized as a result of the combined efforts of Sadako’s friends, and established “ORIGAMIAK from Gernika to Hiroshima” after he returned to Spain.

Gernika (known also as Guernica) suffered a devastating air raid by Germany and Italy on April 26, 1937 during the Spanish Civil War. The survivors of the attack were reluctant to talk about their experiences, and as a result, children now view the air raid as simply part of history and don’t believe such tragedies could happen again today. The group members were concerned that the memory of the bombing of Gernika 78 years ago would fade away if nothing was done.

The group believes that, by learning about Hiroshima and making folded paper cranes, the effort to pass on the bombing of Gernika will gain momentum. Hoping that the connection between Gernika and Hiroshima can grow deeper, the group gathered together 200 students who are 12 years old, the same age as Sadako when she died, and held a peace event in Gernika in June. The participating children enjoyed folding paper cranes.

During this visit to Hiroshima, Mr. Musatadi met with the Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui and presented a thousand paper cranes made by the children at the June event. He told the mayor that he would like to build a peace park in Gernika in the future, with prayers for peace.

One junior writer, Miku Yamashita, 16, said, “I was struck by the fact that Sadako still touches many people in the world. As a result of reporting on this story, I want to be proactive in everything I do, like the members of the Gernika group, as if these issues affect me, too.”

(Originally published on September 7, 2015)