Friday, March 23, 2007
"I can't write/speak English well. So I can't talk about a lot of these thing of Japanese military sex slaves that I hope to talk.
And I'm Japanese. This is us to blame.
... Today our government shames us. They've never realized that our nation state is for human rights."
from a citizen of Tokyo, Japan
March 23, 2007
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Tonight, someone signed the petition, which now totals 607 names from around the world and that person left a comment: "Restoration of human dignity will be accomplished with this effort."
Every day when I check that list, I see that people from around the world are signing the petition and leaving heartfelt messages. Let me list you some of the cities and countries: Den Helder, Netherland; New Berlin, Wisconsin USA; Osaka, Japan; Selangor, Malaysia; Vancouver, BC; Manila, Philippines; Chicago, IL, USA; Shiga, Japan; Lincoln, Nebraska; Verona, Italy; Manchester, Lancs, UK; Shanghai, China; Tokyo, Japan; Paris, France; Kaohsiung, Taiwan; Karntaka, India; Washington DC, USA; Hiroshima, Japan; Seoul, South Korea; New York City, New York, USA; Yigo, Guam; Texas, USA. The list goes on and on. So many souls in so many cities in this world, expressing their outrage, offering their support, extending their names to the 200,000 women and girls of WWII. They say, we're sorry. They say, please, give them justice. They say the time is now. Now is the time to honor, respect and uphold the experiences of the 200,000 women the Japanese Imperial Army called Comfort Women.
Our global community is not just signing the petition, they are spreading the word -- sending out email blasts, posting it on their blogs, telling their friends, families and colleagues. Thank you, you online revolutionaries. Keep it up!
What if we got 200,000 names for each woman who was abducted, systematically raped, burned with cigarettes, slashed with bayonets, used a dozen times a day? We could try. We could make our best effort.
This is how we restore human dignity. When we come together no matter how long the Prime Minister holds his breath and refuses to speak the truth. This is how we do it. We come together. We speak our truth. We insist. We let the Comfort Women know we are right here and we are ready and waiting to hear their testimonies.
They are all the evidence we need.
Thanks to those of you who have signed. If you haven't, you still can. Browse the cities and the comments and you will know it too. This is how we do it. When come together and speak the truth.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
(WASHINGTON) --- Yul Kwon, winner of the TV reality show "Survivor: Cook Islands," will join the 121 Coalition's Grassroots Lobby Day on Capitol Hill on March 22 to push Congress to support H. Res.121.
The resolution, introduced by Congressman Mike Honda (D-California), calls upon the Japanese government to take full responsibility and officially apologize for enslaving thousands of girls and women at military "comfort stations" and raping and torturing them during its colonial and wartime occupation of Asia and the Pacific Islands.
The 121 Coalition -- a national coalition endorsed by nearly 100 civic and human rights groups -- will walk from office to office, meeting with Members of the House of Representatives and their staff to raise awareness of and support for the resolution.
A press conference sponsored by the 121 Coalition will feature Yul Kwon, a graduate of Yale Law School, who once worked for Senator Joseph Lieberman as his legislative aide, and Becky Lee, the runner-up of "Survivor: Cook Islands," a human rights lawyer in Washington who has advocated on behalf of "comfort women" as a member of Justice for Comfort Women. At the press conference, Kwon and Lee will be joined by Jackie Bong-Wright, John Feffer, and Dr. Ok Cha Soh.
Press Conference Details:
When: Thursday, March 22, 2007, 9:00 a.m.
Where: Langston Room at Busboys and Poets Bookstore/Cafe
2021 14th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20009
Yul Kwon, winner of "Survivor: Cook Islands" and Asian American leader
Becky Lee, a human rights lawyer and runner-up of "Survivor: Cook Islands"
Jackie Bong-Wright, anti-human trafficking activist and author
John Feffer, co-director of Foreign Policy in Focus and the director of global affairs at the International Relations Center.
Dr. Ok Cha Soh, President of Washington Coalition of Comfort Women Issue
Reading of a testimony by Becky Lee
Premiere of a new YouTube video by Eric Byler featuring Yul Kwon discussing H. Res. 121 and introducing testimonies of "comfort women"
Reading of the 121 Coalition Statement
For the video and the coalition statement, go to: www.support121.org.
CONTACT: Annabel Park, 703-944-9661 or email@example.com
SOURCE: 121 Coalition
© Copyright 2006-2007, The 121 Coalition (Support 121). All Rights Reserved.
Maria Rosa Henson, or Lola Rosa, was the first Filipina Comfort Woman of WWII to come forward publicly on September 12, 1992. Because of Lola Rosa, many other Filipinas who had been living with this secret for over 50 years found the courage to come forward and finally speak their truth, finally ask for their apology, finally free themselves from the stories.
Here is an excerpt from her book, COMFORT WOMAN: Slave of Destiny (Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, 1996). This passage occurs in 1943. She's 16 years old and she has just been abducted and placed into a garrison, a former town hospital close to Magalang, Pampanga near Manila.
Without warning, a Japanese soldier entered my room and pointed his bayonet at my chest. I thought he was going to kill me, but he used his bayonet to slash my dress and tear it open. I was too frightened to scream. And then he raped me. When he was done, other soldiers came into my room and they took turns raping me.
Twelve soldiers raped me in quick succession, after which I was given half an hour to rest. Then twelve more soldiers followed. They all lined up outside the room waiting for their turn. I bled so much and was in such pain, I could not even stand up. The next morning, I was too weak to get up. A woman brought me a cup of tea and breakfast of rice and dried fish. I wanted to ask her some questions, but the guard in the hall outside stopped us from saying anything to each other.
I could not eat. I felt much pain and my vagina was swollen. I cried and cried, calling my mother. I could not resist the soldiers because they might kill me. So what else could I do? Every day, from two in the afternoon to ten in the evening, the soldiers lined up outside my room and the rooms of the six other women there. I did not have time to wash after each assault. At the end of the day, I just closed my eyes and cried.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Monday, March 19, 2007
We traveled to San Juan Abra, the northern most tip of Luzon, to Lola Narcisa Claveria's hometown where she and her sisters witnessed their brothers' slaying and their father's torturous death before being kidnapped by Japanese soldiers. The garrison was the town hall in the center of the village. Her Auntie, 115 years old in this picture, had also been kidnapped and placed in the garrison with so many others. On this day in February of 2001, we sit on the floor and unwrap chocolates and feed them to one another. The children spy through an open window, gazing quietly. The old auntie is worried because there is no one home to cook us a meal. We ask her if she knows how old she is. She cannot remember. We ask her if she remembers what happened during the war. Oh that, she says, I can't forget what they did. How can I forget? Did you forget? she wants to know.