Sunday Funday Mother’s Day Funkday….Posted: May 10, 2015
To all you Mothers out there.
I honestly have been in so deep a funk lately, that even the Hillary announcement has not lifted me out. Every country that is holding elections is going with right wing conservative parties…are you noticing this?
Well, Japan and England…Scotland, Israel, India, Australia, and the Not-Alberta portion of Canada. Right wing Enda Kenny of Ireland and Leader of the Fine Gael, their Conservative Party, is hoping this latest election in the UK will bode well for them in the next go round.
I think it starts with this constitution issue….and connects to things we talked about long ago, back when Fuckushima (spelling yes on purpose) really fucked things up…We need to talk about Abe | The Japan Times
Recent statements by the government of Shinzo Abe raise disturbing questions about decision-making in Japan. How much room is there in Abe’s political view for questioning or debate or argument, let alone dissent? Or is he just dedicated to rewriting the Constitution to remove the taint of the Occupation, allow fully-fledged military forces, and thus make Japan a “normal” country — without considering what “normal” means or its implications — and to hell with anything else?
Consider some recent actions:
• The passing in late 2013 of the secrecy law, allowing the government virtually unchallenged powers to designate information in the fields of security and diplomacy almost without limits as “secrets,” thus making topics related to the information virtually closed for public discussion.
Okay, now that article/op/ed goes into a lot of things, way beyond what I want to point out, so go and read it in full. The main thing I want to address is the Secrecy Law. 2013.
Bring it up to 2015.
On May 5, in an open letter in support of historians in Japan, an international group of 187 scholars (of which I am one) urged Japan to acknowledge and atone for the forced prostitution that occurred during wartime, stating: “Denying or trivializing” what happened to the “comfort women” is “unacceptable.”
There are many instances of sexual violence in wartime, but the letter, which has already been widely circulated on the Internet and has been the topic of numerous news reports, says, “The ‘comfort women’ system was distinguished by its large scale and systematic management under the military, and by its exploitation of young, poor and vulnerable women in areas colonized or occupied by Japan.”
The scholars note disagreement over how many women were involved, but stress that “large numbers of women were held against their will and subjected to horrific brutality” in what was a brutal and “inhumane system.” The letter goes on to call for further research that is “free from government manipulation, censorship and private intimidation.”
I asked some U.S. academics about their perspectives on government censorship in 21st-century Japan. Thomas Berger, a professor of political science at Boston University and author of the 2012 book “War, Guilt and World Politics after World War II,” had various talks and his participation in an NHK documentary cancelled due to what he believes was a combination of self-censorship and pressure from senior management.
In one publication, partially funded by a government-sponsored NGO, Berger was asked to avoid the comfort women issue. He insisted that it be left in, but it came at a cost.
“I did compromise by not using the term ‘sexual slavery,’” he says, while asserting that would be something he would not agree to now. Taking issue with revisionist views, Berger believes there were tens of thousands of comfort women, including some professional prostitutes, “the majority of whom were coerced in one way or another to become comfort women and who had no possibilities for escape once they reached the front lines,” she says. Moreover, “there was a far larger pattern of sexual abuse by the Japanese Army involving millions of women, some of whom were kidnapped and kept as what we today would call sex slaves.”
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has long lobbied for a more positive spin on Japan’s past because he thinks that the prevailing narrative unfairly stigmatizes Japan and that it is difficult to nurture pride in youth based on so-called masochistic history. Thus the government is now whitewashing the history taught in Japan’s schools by forcing textbook publishers to hue to new guidelines aimed at imposing patriotic education. As a result, the comfort women have disappeared from all but one of Japan’s middle school textbooks.
Critics point out that the purpose of history is not to nurture pride and that airbrushing history is not the basis for sound education. Furthermore, promoting a propagandized version of history that fails to address the horrors Japan inflicted throughout Asia from 1931-45 leaves students poorly prepared to develop critical thinking skills and engage with others in the region. How can Japan pursue its long-standing goal of internationalization if its students are left in the dark about its past and force-fed a valorizing and exonerating history that tramples on the dignity of Japan’s neighbors? Can this jingoism serve as the basis of what the government envisions as “Super Global Universities”?
You can read the actual letter in full, available for download here: Open Letter in Support of Historians in Japan | H-Asia | H-Net
And on the affect this situation with Japan is having on Foreign Relations.
Now think about these nations, and their fucking right wing asshole elected officials…what they stand for, who they represent, what they are doing to the people who already have a limited voice in the policies that effect the public in general. By that I mean the everyday people. Those who we used to refer to as the 99%. We, are the those who get fucked along the way….you know who we are.
I’m gonna narrow it down to women, children, students, the minority majority (those of the other races that will or already make up the majority, but who are not white, non-white, non- Hispanic/Native-Indian/Asian, including of course…but not limited to blacks, African-Americans, Latins, Hispanics, webbed footed, one-eyed, two headed person…who may or may not be gay, trans, bi, or lesbian…disabled, sick, mental, mad. Almost like anything you’d find in a modern Dickens novel.) The main thing being that we are not white men or white uptight women who don’t mind being trampled on and over and used by said white men of the “right kind of” faith.
I know we preach a lot to the choir. Dak and BB have mentioned many times about funding for education, healthcare, housing, etc. and how the powers that be are making it harder and harder to get an education, stay healthy and keep dry.
The lord on the manor keeps his peasants and slaves from learning how to read. Keeps them feed just enough to survive so they can’t runaway….or just fat and distracted enough to ignore what is really going on right in front of them.
Back to Japan and England, Israel, and the other conservative governments agendas…
It is disturbing to me that the conservatives of other nations, like the conservative bigots of our nation, want to rewrite our history or seem to have the audacity to blatantly rule in the Supreme Court that…Civil Rights Act is no longer needed. Women’s Rights? Sure we got that….and Equal Rights are not worthy of discussing, there is no reason to have an amendment either. Religion, of a specific brand, will only qualify for those who sit in those leather seats on the Hill and history….will teach us nothing.
It is scary as shit, and it makes me worry for my daughter, what kind of Mother’s Day will she have…and what kind of Mother’s Day will be left for her daughter in those decades to come. Mother’s Day makes us think of what came before us and what will come after us…
Sorry to be such a downer today, but it is just a real lot of shitty things to see in the world.
Hope you all could post some happy mother stories, because this has been a very depressing ten years? or more?
This is an open thread.