Saturday, September 16, 2006
setting the past rightEDIT
: Original non-sensical ramblings by yours truly is now replaced by the following e-mail forward, which I read on homie-in-Korea Jeesuk's
|200,000 Raped and Slaughtered, Still No Responsibility Taken|
The brutal colonization of the Korean peninsula by Imperial Japan is common knowledge to many of us, but lesser known is the plight of the "comfort women" caught up in Japan's aggressive military expansion in the first half of the 20th century. Over 200,000 girls and young women, predominately from Korea but also from the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and the Dutch East Indies, were forced into bonded sexual slavery. Many of the girls were tricked into thinking they were signing up to work in a factory or as a house servant, and others were kidnapped. According to testimony, a "comfort woman" could expect to be raped up to forty times a day, often resulting in serious physical injury, as well as numerous STDs. Women were divided into categories depending on "freshness"; virgins, the top category, were given to officers for first rape, and as time passed women were downgraded gradually in category, until they were ultimately abandoned, oftentimes far away from their homes. Many women reported having their uterus rot from diseases and many others became barren and unable to give birth.
I have met many of these old women personally. They look, talk and have all the mannerisms of my grandparents- but their childhood and teenage years were wrought with some of the most horrible suffering known in this past century, without exaggeration. After the war ended, many of these women managed to make it back to their families, and sometimes, to their husbands. Some were abandoned, seen as causing "dishonor" to their families. Others were never able to bring up the terrible things that they went through, for fear of being left to live and die alone. Some of these women now reside in the "House of Sharing", a private home for these women in Korea
[see http://www.nanum.org/eng/ for more information ].
These elderly women have held protests at Japanese embassies worldwide with a persistent and perseverance that puts those of us younger folks to shame. For decades their claims and cries were ignored by governments- including that of the Republic of Korea for a time, and many activists and organizations have toiled for years to bring this issue to the forefront.
Now, we may be able to change all of that, and give these women the respect and recognition they deserve.
Yesterday, here in Washington, D.C., the House Committee on International Relations marked up House Resolution 759, which expresses the sense of the House of Representatives of the United States that the Government of Japan should formally acknowledge and accept responsibility for its sexual enslavement of "comfort women" during its occupation of Asia in the first half of the 20th century. The majority of the 200,000 victims were Korean girls and women, many of them in their teens.
The resolution is sponsored by Representative Lane Evans (D-IL), and co-sponsored with over 50 other members. Previous similar efforts were blocked successfully by powerful lobbyists for the Japanese government and those who believe that such a resolution would damage relations with Tokyo.
The new bill is reworked and slightly revised to gain wider support- for example, it does not mention any compensation for victims, and calls for Tokyo to "take responsibility"- rather than apologize. As a result this resolution has an unprecedented wide array of support from both parties.
Now that the bill is marked up, we must move to get the resolution to the House Floor so that the entire Congress can vote.
This bill MUST be passed before Congress leaves session in October. Time is running out. On a more grave angle- the few remaining comfort women in this world are in their 70s, 80s and 90s. Thousands of them have perished without any formal recognition of their plight- and have had to live with being slandered as prostitutes and willing partners in the vicious exploitation they fell victim to.
Simply put, they are dying. It is now or never.
Here is how you can help:
1) Forward this email to all of your friends and family, as well as to any listservs you're aware of. Post it on blogs and web boards. Get the word out!
2) Call, email, write and fax [ all of the above! ] your local representative, and ask them to vote yes on this bill, and to urge House leadership to bring the resolution to vote on the House Floor. If you don't know who your representative is, go to http://www.house.gov/.
3) Contact the offices of both Majority Leader John Boehner and Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert and ask them to make sure this resolution is brought to the House Floor for a full vote WITHOUT DELAY.
Majority Leader John Boehner
Washington, DC 20515-6502
202-225-4000, fax 202-225-5117
Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert
Washington, DC 20515-6501
202-225-0600 or fax 202-226-1996
Please take just a moment of your day to do something great by doing something little for these women. If you would like more information, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
1. The act or an instance of inscribing.
2. Something, such as the wording on a coin, medal, monument, or seal, that is inscribed.
3. A short, signed message in a book or on a photograph given as a gift.
4. The usually informal dedication of an artistic work.
5. Jeremiah 31:33
name. Gar AKA "that Chinese guy"
ethnicity/nationality. Chinese/American, 4th gen.
location. Sea-Town, WA, USA
less-cynical poor grad student
age. younger than you think, older than you know