Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Rape of Nanjing 71st Anniversary

Today is the 71st anniversary of the Nanjing Massacre, which went down during World War II and which, as I always say, doesn’t get mentioned nearly enough. We don’t learn about it in school here on the other side of the Pacific Ocean unless somehow we happen to take some courses in university that might brush on it. It’s not good enough.

I’ll bet most people haven’t heard of Unit 731, a secret biological and chemical warfare research unit that killed hundreds of thousands of civilians – regular men and women as well as the elderly, children and pregnant women alike – under the guise of “epidemic prevention.” People were vivisected without anesthesia, infected with bacteria and viruses and left to die, subjected to amputations and ridiculous surgeries like having limbs implanted to different parts of the body, starved, and tortured in countless other gruesome ways.

It can’t even be argued that the information gleaned from the research was useful. Like my professor said last night, although she was referring to the Holocaust in Europe, all this was carried out on people who were abused and already sickly. Finding out how long it takes an emaciated person to freeze to death in icy water doesn’t really tell us how long we have to save a regular, healthy person from hypothermia. The reason of “research” was just an excuse.

I highly recommend that everyone educate themselves about what happened during the world wars on the other side of the world – meaning Asia. A lot of disturbing things went down there that you’d never even be able to imagine, that are still unaccounted for, not apologized for, and written out of history books to assuage a nation’s shame – the biggest slap in the face to all the victims and survivors and families of the people involved.

We need to remember all this happened. We need to teach our kids about it. We need to educate everyone we know about it so that this event becomes as well-known as the European Holocaust, and not only do we need to be talking about this in the mass media, but we need to delve deeper instead of just mentioning it in passing. And I say so not to perpetuate hate and anger in the world, because I believe that later generations are innocent, but we need to really understand this and be aware of it so that the same, horrifying mistakes hopefully won’t ever be made again.


Sabrina said...

It disgusts me how horribly self-centered we are in North America. I'm on a path of self-discovery that is led by a need to serve others and I hope to learn the stories of people all of over the world, if only because we all need to be acknowledged on some level, and it's something I can give...

Xtine said...

I really respect that, and I wish more people would take this kind of initiative. If you're looking to educate yourself about this particular subject, Wikipedia is actually surprisingly informative - just click on my links. Then if you have time and you are up for a really sad read, Iris Chang's The Rape of Nanjing will totally change you. Most households of educated Chinese families have a copy, I find, and the writer received a lot of death threats because of it. She moved to the States and sort of became reclusive to get away from it all, but eventually the negative attention (and, I imagine, her depressing research) got to her and she committed suicide.