These two words were uttered by Julius Robert Oppenheimer, aka ‘the father of the atomic bomb’ at 05:29:21 July 16, 1945. At this precise moment the very first atomic bomb, Trinity to its makers, exploded above the Jornada del Muerto desert and announced the atomic evolution of humankind.
I’m from New Zealand, a very well known passively aggressive country, whose stance on nuclear weapons is proudly summed by NZ Prime Minister David Lange’s near opening lines of “there is no moral place for nuclear weapons”. (A full audio recording is available here http://publicaddress.net/2424). So, why would a Kiwi choose to be a ‘fly on the wall’ in such a removed historical setting that which she is not accustomed, nor affected, by.
I would want to be a fly on the wall at the very instance of 05:29:21 July 16, 1945, in the Jornada del Muerto desert, because it is the very moment where humanity realised its absolute power, and shook hands with mutual destruction. It is when we overlooked the fairness of war, and gazed upon a singular ultimatum. It is when we looked at the pureness of energy, and turned it into something ultimately, and undeniably, horrific.
I would want to see the men and women responsible for the knowledge we all have been burdened with. The knowledge, that there are some countries out there with power far beyond their measures. There are countries with a red button, that if having a bad day, can single handedly start the greatest destruction we can only as yet imagine. There are countries, which by possessing this madness, dictate to others through fear and intimidation, leaving peaceful resolutions blown apart.
I would want to see the eyes of the men and woman responsible. I want to see if any shine brighter than their creation does. And do they shine with doubt, with regret, with fear? Or were they all shining with power?
And would my eyes shine at such a sight also?
If you could be a ‘fly on the wall’ for any moment of history, where would you choose to go?