Wednesday, December 30, 2009

How to handle historical grievances

by Smitty (h/t USNI Blog)

This incident is less than a century old, but it contains a lesson.
SYDNEY (Reuters) - An Australian hospital ship torpedoed by the Japanese during World War Two with the loss of 268 lives has been located in waters off the coast of the northern state of Queensland, the government said on Sunday.

The loss of the Centaur in 1943 while sailing to Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea was one of Australia's great wartime disasters. Survivors and their relatives have long pressed for the wreck to be found, fearing salvagers would reach it first.
As USNI notes:
I-177’s captain was never tried for the sinking, but was convicted on other war crimes by the Allies. The attack has long been a sore subject for the Japanese, who only acknowledged in 1979 that I-177 did indeed sink the hospital ship, after denying involvement since 1943. Furthermore, Tokyo claims it never ordered the attack, a fact if false would likely lead to Australian pressure for additional war crime charges. In a statement on the search for AHS Centaur, Japan said it "made the greatest efforts for world peace and prosperity as a responsible member of the international community and has also developed a close relationship with Australia." To their credit, the Centaur Association, the RSL, and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade have all made statements that Japan does not need to apology[sic] for the sinking of AHS Centaur. Apparently 66 years of good relations is enough time for some countries to let history be history.
Certainly, the Centaur pales in time, space, and body count to the Israeli/Palestinian situation.

Nevertheless, a positive example of two peoples coming to grips with a historical tragedy could prove a handy lesson.

Him who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

1 comment:

  1. My grandfather was in the the Phillippines at the start of WWII on a Navy ship. Ship got sunk, he swam ashore on Corrigedor. Captured when it fell, sent to POW camp in Japan. The Japanese worked him in a coal mine and tortured him (shot him 3 times) during his time there.
    The last car my gradfather bought was a Toyota so he had managed to forgive (not forget). In fact the one guard that treated him kindly had apparently work at Bank of America before the war. Just before he passed away I was helping him clean up his affairs and found a bank statement from Bank of America with 100+ dollars in it. When I asked him about it he said he said it was to honor that guard.