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31 July 2023

French film: "SIMONE, Woman of the Century, We're living in a better world!

I just saw the film at a small theatre in Tokyo. 

history, feminism, Women

It was a biopic about the French politician who lived through holocaust and after the war became a lawyer and the minister of French government and became the first female president of European Union assembly. 

She helped promote women's rights by legalisation of abortion in France, 1970's. She contributed to improvement of prisoners' condition. Why was she so enthusiastic about human rights issues? 

The film started with her childhood in Nice with her family living in a happy condition before the second world war. Her family were Jews and believed France would never betray them. 

But later her family were arrested by German Gestapo. She, 16-year-old, her sister and mother were deported to Auschwitz. Her brother and father were thought to be executed. The three survived in Auschwitz but they were deported again, and then her mother died in other concentration camp.  

After the war, Simone married a man and gave birth to three children studying at a law school in Paris. But she had been traumatized by her experience in the holocaust and couldn't sleep on a bed. Even after the war, she could not tell others about her horrible experience during the war. 

But such experiences motivated her to help others in the world. In her old age, she came back to Auschwitz on 60th anniversary of liberation of Auschwitz. She spoke and wrote all about her experience. She insisted that Europe should get united so no more war happens. Surprisingly she had lived in Germany after the war. 

The film taught us it is the responsibility of living people to make the world better place and right the wrongs. Indeed, we are living in a better world, at least much better than what she experienced. 

I, myself have visited Auschwitz in Poland, and learnt what happened there. 

history, feminism, Women, holocaust

Such history should never be repeated. I felt it is MY responsibility not to let such horrible events happen again.  

Sadly, it is happening and very hard to stop that. 

02 July 2023

Affirmative Action cannot be a solution

US supreme court ruled the affirmative action which sets racial quota in college admission is unconstitutional.  

I, myself think it is not a bad ruling. 

When a college chooses who is qualified for its students, why does race matter? Grade Point Average, entrance test scores do matter. Race matters only when an interview is conducted. 

As for diversity thing, 

As Justice Thomas Clearance said, 

"I'd like you to tell me expressly when a parent sends a kid to college, they don't necessarily send them there to have fun or feel good or anything like that," Thomas said. "They send them there to learn physics or chemistry or whatever they're studying."

Yes, school is for nothing but studying subjects to get education. 

Discrimination is a problem when the college rejects a student only because of his/her skin color. 

Even college admission solely based on scores and ability to study, results in racial or gender bias, this does not mean it was an unfair judgement.  

Selecting someone based on his/her trait by birth cannot be a good way to remedy society. 

Thomas Clearance nominated by Bush administration era was a good example. He's made several rulings against his own people so he was not liked by his people as I recall my college days, a Black professor in Black Studies course said "Just because he was Black, this works better for Black people. No!"

America is a fundamentally white dominated racist society. So, such fundamental cannot be easily fixed. 

25 April 2023

Is MacArthur a parent who gave birth to Japan’s democracy?


Last Sunday I visited Atsugi Air Base in Kanagawa prefecture, an hour train ride from Tokyo. The place is jointly used by both US and Japanese forces. There was an event to exhibit the aircrafts and associate with servicemembers working there.


Near the entrance I saw a very peculiar object. A statue of Douglas MacArthur who was a head of G.H.Q and SCAP organization during U.S. occupied Japan era (1945 to 1952). He entered Japan through this Air Base to occupy the whole of Japan. 


What was very peculiar was the description carved below the statue. It was in Japanese, “Nihon-no-Minshushugi-no-Uminooya, MacArthur”, meaning MacArthur, a parent who gave birth to Japan’s democracy.


Is that so?


As far as my knowledge of history, that is partly true but not all true. In my opinion, FALSE.


Yes, during MacArthur era, a current democratic constitution was drafted and announced. Women’s suffrage was enacted. Freedom of speech and expression is protected in the constitution.

Right after the war, Japan was devastated due to the huge loss caused by the war. A lot of people felt betrayed by their own government and military. So MacArthur looked a savior.

However, such democratic movements had existed even before the war between US and Japan started. In 1920’s universal suffrage for men of 25 or over was enacted in Japan’s national assembly as a result of civil movement. In 1930’s women’s suffrage was enacted in the lower house of the national assembly but was rejected in the upper house. In fact, the amendment of the election law to give women’s rights to vote was announced in the national cabinet a few months after the war ended. That was before MacArthur announced the decree to do so and the constitution which bans gender discrimination was promulgated.


During the occupation era in Japan even after the democratic constitution became effective, when Korean War broke out in 1950, the GHQ and SCAP ordered the red purge in Japanese mainstream media outlets without legislation due to fear of rising communism. That was apparently against principle of democracy.  


So the statement “MacArthur democratized Japan” was highly debatable. 


Japan’s ex-Air Force Chief TAMAGAMI Toshio wrote in his book that he felt very uncomfortable seeing the statue and the description. I felt the same way. Seems like Americans boasting themselves and giving bad impression to us. I would suggest to replace the description plate with one simply stating "In memorial of Douglas MacArthur." That should be appropriate. We don’t respect such arrogant people so the statue did not help better friendship but undermines it.


US military is, in fact doing similar things in Okinawa, Japan as described in this article. I’ve been very angry with them.


In the event I took pictures with Japanese servicemembers and gave a salute to them. I can proudly say “Thank you for your service” to them because they are OUR TROOPS.

military, history, democracy

With US troops, I was being friendly to them because they themselves are individuals and officially so called “Allied Force”, on which we depend heavily although they are not as helpful as Japanese ordinary citizens expect to be. After all, they are “THEIR TROOPS.”

military, history, democracy

24 January 2023

German film "Die Wannseekonferenz" "The Conference"

The movie described how the decision of murdering 6 million Jews in Europe was made in less than 2-hour conference at Wannsee in Germany 1942. 

One of the participants was Eichmann, a Nazis high ranking officer who later was captured by the Israeli police and convicted to capital punishment in Israel. 

What they cared was not ethics, they cared nothing but the efficiency, honour of the nation, compliance with the laws, diplomatic strategy and veterans' affairs. 

There was a phrase "Pearl Harbour" in the conference since Japan was allied with Germany at that time though Hitler claimed Japanese were the second-class people. 

They were ruthless and their thoughts were systematic. 

Unbelievable to know in Weimar Republic era (1918-1933), before Nazis took over the governance of Germany, there was some Jewish cabinet member. 

The world can suddenly turn into the hell. We are now witnessing such thing in Ukraine. 

Where are we heading? Where do we stand now? 

18:04 Posted in Deutschland, Film | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: history, nazis, holocaust

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