The history of Japan’s confrontation with its brutality during World War II has hardly been a shining moment of honesty in that nation’s reaction to its actions. Japanese school books rarely deal with issues such as the rape of women or brutality toward prisoners of war. Unlike Germany, which has created museums and ongoing education programs concerning the Holocaust, Japan prefers slumbering in the sleep of denial. Fortunately, in 2005, the Women’s Active Museum on War was created in order to present to Japanese people the true story of what happened. It currently is holding an exhibit in Tokyo that deals with exploitation of Chinese women by members of the Imperial Japanese army.
According to the exhibits director, Eriko Ikeda, “in China, many women were abducted and raped by Japanese soldiers as a warning against anti-japanese movements there.” The Imperial Army established ‘comfort stations’ “which we should rather call rape stations.. after Japanese forces advanced into each region.” The exhibit offers visual materials as well as individual stories of what happened to women both during the time they were being raped and the aftermath of the experience. It also presents stories written by Japanese soldiers who admit they raped women. One panel depicts the story of a Chinese woman who was raped, escaped and then gave birth to a child. Her husband was furious at her and the boy experienced problems in school and from an abusive father who never acknowledged him as a son.
Comfort Women are still fighting to obtain compensation for their wartime brutality and it is a difficult and onerous task to obtain financial compensation.
Israel is currently engaged in efforts to establish ties with the Palestinian Authority, but there is now another dark cloud on the horizon caused by increased complaints from the Vatican about Israeli actions. A senior Vatican official, Archbiship Pietro Sambi lashed out at Israel, ‘if I must be frank, the relations between the Catholic Church and the state of Israel were better when there were no diplomatic ties.” Among the issues in dispute are expropriated church property, servies that Catholic groups perform for Israeli’s Jewish and Arab populations, and exemptions for the Church. A particular sore point is the granting of permits for Arab Christian clergy traveling to and around the West Bank on church activities. Israel has rescinded some travel privileges for clergy members due to security reasons. Earlier this year, tensions developed between the Vatican and Israel when the Holy See’s ambassador to Israel initially declined to boycott a Holocaust memorial service because of allegations during World War Ii Pope Pius XII was silent about the mass killing of Jews.
There is an extensive Holocaust literature dealing with failure on the part of Pope Pius XII to take a vigorous role in speaking out against the mass murder of Jews as well as failing to excommunicate those in charge of the killings. There is also evidence of the Pope’s silence on the imprisonment of Catholic priests in concentration camps. The Vatican most probably has valid concerns regarding interference by Israel officials with the movement of priests on the West Bank.
Posted in Catholics, Israel, Judaism, Multicultural, Peace, Religion, World News
Tagged Israel, Pope Pius XII, Vatican, West Bank, WWII