Battlepanda: A wound not healed


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

A wound not healed

Anti-Japanese sentiments flared up in China again, resulting in violent protests. Yes, it is ironic that the only kind of popular demonstration in that totalitarian country allowed is one against injustices more than half a century old. But the sentiments that lay at the heart of these recent outcries is not nationalist hubris, but long-standing rage from a terrible wrong that was never righted.

Imagine if the Nazis were never truly held accountable for their actions in the holocaust. Imagine if Hitler was allowed to remain as the nominal head of government after the fall of his regime. Imagine if the mass slaughter of the Jews became a historical curiosity that most of the world remains indifferent to. Imagine if history textbooks in Germany were allowed to whitewash over the Nazi's wartime atrocities and most German citizens go about their life casually in denial over their bestial treatment of fellow human beings.

Now replace "German" or "Nazi" with "Japanese" and "Jews" with "Chinese" and you'll have exactly the situation as it stands in Japan, regarding the second world war. Is it reasonable to expect the Chinese people ever to forgive those atrocities, which included mass rape, torture, the infliction of cruelty for its own sake on a scale almost unimaginable, in the face of a Japan that not only wants to sweep it all under the rug?

The Nanking Massacre
happened. 300,000 people died in just that one event. Men were decapitated and their heads made trophies of by grinning Japanese soldiers, who posed for pictures with the severed heads. Women were brutally raped and mutilated. The bodies of children are piled up to rot. And while it is the most harrowing single event, the Japanese army conducted themselves with the same maniacal nihilism throughout the war in China.

I sat next to a Japanese guy on the bus into Toronto from the airport a few month ago. We were chatting pleasantly about this and that when he started complaining about how other Asians loved to "Japan bash". "What I don't understand is, why they insist on living in the past. Shouldn't we let bygones be bygones?"

A man used for bayonet practice while stil alive.