Seventy years ago, the Japanese surrendered to Allied forces after they were finally convinced of annihilation if they didn’t. The Fascist regime that perpetrated so many abuses against other humans is no more, yet it is felt modern Japanese politicians should apologise for the atrocities committed by that regime. As if mere apology was enough to make amends for the ill treatment of prisoners of war which included starvation and forced labour, brutal executions made routine, experiments on live human subjects which included dissection while alive. Yet I will argue that the modern Japanese are not responsible for the actions of their forefathers. I would also argue that the A-bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were necessary at the time and saved many more lives than they took. The alternative would have been complete annihilation of Japan because the culture of that time was to die for the Emperor. And they would have done so, in their millions. Small scale examples of this mindset were demonstrated with civilians on Saipan and Okinawa leaping to their deaths rather than ceasing resistance to the allied forces. Which some contend were forced by the Japanese military. Shinzo Abe has it right. Enough with the apologising already.
Like with 17th and 18th century slavery, the time has passed, and no matter what anyone says, Western culture alone cannot be held responsible for the actions of the slavers. Those responsible are long dead, so why is there this ‘blame culture’ prevalent in modern western society? The fact that slavery still exists in non western cultures to this day seems to be conveniently bypassed. In the 17th and early 18th century Moslem Corsairs raided South western English and even Icelandic villages and towns for slaves. A Barbary raider even sacked Baltimore in continental North America, June 20, 1631. Is the Ottoman Empire available for comment? Don’t be silly. The same as I am not responsible for the outrages committed by Medieval Crusaders on the town of Acre or the Catholic Church’s grand inquisition. We are not they. We’re not a bunch of fcuking knuckledragging hillbillies who can’t forgive or forget. Society has moved on.
What I’m driving at here is that whilst we should never forget the brutality of our (and their) ancestors, the reason for remembering things as they happened should be? Yes, I’m talking to you at the back there. Why should we never forget the horrors inflicted by people on their fellow humans? So we don’t make the same mistakes ever again. Good. Lesson learned. The idea that the sharp edges of history should be somehow smoothed over in case the fine detail ‘upsets’ the thin skinned and hypersensitive is ludicrous. Can’t handle the facts? Aww, poor diddums.
What irks me most about all these apologies for every single bad thing done by people who might, or might not be in my, or anybody else’s line of ancestors is that they are counter productive and only serve to renew the resentment. Vengeance can only be relevant when the perpetrators of the original evil are still around. If those who did the wrong are dead then vengeance cannot feasibly be justified. The principle in law being that their debts and evil die with them. Harming someone’s offspring for a wrong perpetrated by their parents simply restarts the cycle. Likewise insincere apologies. Rinse, spin, repeat, but you’ll never be rid of the blood.
Hells bells, it’s Dragon Boat weekend, and I intend to be downtown in an hour or so with my (Japanese designed with Chinese and Korean made components) Nikon Coolpix 520 camera. Watching the Canadian sponsored dragon boats, maybe joining in the fun, perhaps popping into the Bard and Banker or the Irish Times pub for a beer and chicken wings. I do not wish to be apologised to by any visiting Japanese, nor will I feel obliged to apologise to them for acts committed before either of us were born. Life is too bloody short.