Video Editor: Nitin Bisht
"Many people have grown complacent about living with the atomic bomb. That's a very dangerous and unfortunate thing because something terrible could happen tomorrow," said Kai Bird, the author of American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J Robert Oppenheimer – the book on which the 2023 blockbuster Oppenheimer is based.
Bird spoke with The Quint at the 17th edition of the Jaipur Literature Festival held from 1-5 February.
Read edited excerpts below.
What do you think of the film Oppenheimer and the way it was adapted? Is the film and its subject relevant in 2024?
I think the film is a brilliant piece of art. It has, in a very highly intellectual and brilliant way, transformed the book into a film.
The film, unfortunately, is very relevant. We're living in the atomic age. We will always be living in the atomic age.
It's been more than 75 years since Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Many people have grown complacent about living with the atomic bomb. That's a very dangerous and unfortunate thing because something terrible could happen tomorrow.
You've grown up in the Middle East and often talked about how you were naive to believe peace would be restored in the region. Could you elaborate on that?
What is happening currently in Gaza and Israel is a tragedy. There are war crimes that have been committed on both sides. As bad as things are, even more terrible things could happen.
My hope is that, at some point out of this war, there will be a realisation that we need to have an intervention by the international community to put a halt to the wars and to have real peace.
I'm a naive optimist. I think that there is an obvious solution. These two people, the Israelis and the Palestinians, must learn to live with each other in their small land. Ideally, there should be a two-state solution.