Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to our exhibition “Looking Back at the Twentieth Century.” We have collected about three hundred photographs here.They will show you something of the history of the past century.
The twentieth century was an age of great progress in science and communications. People’s loves became richer and more comfortable. People achieved greater freedom and equality, and seemed to be closer to the dream of liveing a happy life. But it was also an age of terrible wars, and millions of people like you and me went through in the twentieth century. As you look at them, ask yourself : ”How would you feel if these were photos of your own family and friends?” some will shock you, some may make you sad or angry. But they will also give you a message for our future. Before you look at the exhibition, I would like to show you two photographs which are particularly important to us. But it was also an age of terrible wars, and millions of people like you and me went through in the twentieth century. As you look at them, ask yourself : ”How would you feel if these were photos of your own family and friends?” some will shock you, some may make you sad or angry. But they will also give you a message for our future. Before you look at the exhibition, I would like to show you two photographs which are particularly important to us.
Let’s start with this one. This photograph was taken by an American photojournalist, Joe O’Donnell, in Nagasaki in 1945. He recently spoke to a Japanese interviewer about this picture:
”I saw a boy about the years old walking by. He was carrying a baby on his back. In those days in Japan, we often saw children playing with their little brothers or sisters on their backs, but this boy was clearly different. I could see that he had come to this place for a serious reason. He was wearing no shoes. His face was hard. The little head was tipped back asleep” ”The boy stood there for five or ten minutes. The men in white masks walked over to him and quietly began to take off the rope that was holding the baby, That is when I saw that thebaby was already dead. The men held the body by the hands and feet and placed it on the fire. ”The boy stood there straight without moving, watching the flames. He was biting his lower lip so hard that it shone with blood. The flame burned low like the sun going down. The boy turned around and walked silently away.”
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