It is impossible to partner in the mind the breathtaking beauty of Micronesia with the greatest slaughter of human beings in history. And yet, it happened. Though the memories are fading, the Pacific theater of World War Two was fought so inhumanely in Micronesia, with such horror, with such blood, with so many men, women and children burnt and blown to rags, that surfing in these graveyard waters seems almost blasphemous. But history marches on, on to new horrors, one bloody thing after another, and the battlefields and the guts and the spilled blood are forgotten.
And perhaps this is best. Bringing a joyful sort of play to these clean waters that hold such dirty memories. The fact that men actually chose to beat the hell out of the Bikini Atoll with Atom bomb testing just so that we could blast the Japanese to Kingdom come is beyond today’s imaginations. A horror so complete, an event so sinister, a witnessed memory so perfectly awful, that to this day, despite global capability and intent to do so, a nuclear device has never been deployed in war since.
Surfing these waters is fantastic, yes. And the world spins on, yes. It has always been the same, yes, and will always be the same, yes. But when one considers the no-thought state of riding on the face of a wave, perhaps this is a profound way to honor the dead entombed below these waters. Perhaps by having no consideration at all for the horrors of war, war might never happen again.
Photographer Damea Dorsey recently sailed through this historic zone, bringing back not the horrors, but the sublime, pristine beauty of the last, cleanest place on earth. Its waves, its water, its people. Irregardless of political lines, free from insane memories of mans inhumanity to man. And in this photographic essay he reminds us all of mankind’s ability to act on the opposite impulses of war.
To forgive, to forget, to heal. Just as the islands themselves have done.