Tuesday, 26 August 2008

The Comfort Women - take action

During the Second World War the Japanese forced thousands of women from Korea, the Phillipines and other countries into sexual slavery. These women were repeatedly raped and subject to enormous amounts of human rights abuses. Many of these women are still suffering from this trauma, but increasingly many are bravely coming forward and telling their stories in the fight for justice.

Japan has still not apologised for these horrific atrocities. Like I've said in earlier posts, apologising can seem almost meaningless, but actually I believe apologising is the first step towards real change, justice, and healing. No one person was responsible for this, those who abducted the women, those who raped them, those who authorised it, and those who simply did nothing, all have a share of the blame. This, like so many others, is the crime of a nation (probably nations) as well as individuals.

I believe that an apology from Japan, followed by real compensation for the women still living, and an acknowledgment that the attitudes to women that led to these abuses still exist and need to change are essential. (I think what I just said could be described as repentence, acknowledging the sin but going further than that and creating real change).

Several nations have called for Japan to officially apologise, including the USA, the Netherlands, Canada and the European Parliment. Amnesty International are currently calling for the Phillipines to join these nations in requesting repentance. particularly significant given how many Fillipino women were comfort women. You can take action to support this campaign here

p.s. I love this post you should read it!

1 comment:

boxthejack said...

I agree. Acts of national humility are very, very rare, but help a nation to mature beyond short term self-interest at all costs - not in abstract terms but in tangible policy terms. I think Germany is a good example actually.

The UK meanwhile has much it should apologise for. We need to recognise our culpability in horrendous crimes. We should apologise to Africans for slavery, Afrikaaners for the Boer concentration camps, to Kurds for backing Saddam from 1963 through the 80s, to Chileans and Indonesians for arming brutal dictators against their expressed democratic will... literally ad nauseum.