Sunday, May 6, 2012

Response to Japanese Counsel Gen's request to take down "Comfort Women" Memorial in Palisades Park, NJ.

Truth # one billion and ninety-one (my truth):

When I was in first grade Catholic school, a boy in my class, we'll call him Glen O, used to chase me around the playground, tackle me and kiss me. I guess he thought I was cute. He used to have a bigger boy, we'll call him What's His Name, a third grader, help him chase me down, hold me down so Glen O could wrap his nasty little arms around me and smack me with a kiss. It was always the same game every recess, every lunch hour.  Every time the bell rang to set us free.

I asked them to stop. I might have even shouted.  I tried my best. They would not.

So I told Sister -- we'll call her Tall Sister in the Black Habit who Taught Third Graders -- I told that one about her student, What's His Name. She brought me into the class, she said, which boy? I pointed to What's His Name.

The next time I was standing in line, waiting to board that orange yellow school bus, Glen O tapped me on the shoulder, a smile on his wicked first grader face and before anything could happen, What's His Name stepped up and pulled him away, told him to leave me alone.

I see it now, even as I write (without a shaky voice). We should all speak our truth. And those who are to blame, so ashamed of your mistakes, own it. Do not cover up. Do not ignore. Do not invent new lies. And certainly do no more harm. The truth wins out. Every time.

This memory came to me as I read the news that the Japanese Counsel General in NYC has offered the city of Palisades, NJ "help" with city projects in return of the removal of Palisades Park's memorial to WWII "Comfort Women."  http://www.arirang.co.kr/News/News_View.asp?nseq=129241&code=Ne3&category=4

Naku naman, is there no end?

To the Lolas and all the 200,000 "Comfort Women" of WWII -- Summer is here and I am going back to your book. Slow to come, but near.



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