The Power of Idea

While waiting for a midnight train at the Oswiecim station, I had a conversation with a fellow Canadian who had also visited the Auschwitz Museum that day.  The visit, he said, did not deliver the powerful shocking impact on him as he had expected.  He didn’t feel as moved as he did when watching a movie. 

The museum showed how the prisoners were tortured and killed.  The torturing methods, which include starvation, hard labour, beating, standing-sleeping and more, were not astonishingly new, as every country has used similar or even more brutal torturing methods in history.  For instance, the first emporer of China, managed to kill one million people through forced hard labour in building 3,000 miles of the first walls of the Great Wall. 

In the Tower of London, a display of an apparatus that disassembles men’s limbs had the similar effect of the ancient Chinese torture, wu ma fen si –– using five horses to pull the punished into five directions, one head, two hands and two legs. 

While the Nazis tortured and killed the prisoners in the concentration camps, their counterpart in Asia, the Japanese soldirers out performed them.  The Japanese buried prisoners and civilians alive, raped women and then dis-embowed them, forced sons to rape their mothers and, fathers to rape their daughters.

What is so unique about the Auschwitz concentration camps is the idea behind those torture and killing.  The idea of systematically terminating a race.  Idea is the source of actions. 

The idea behind Japanese soldiers’ brutality in Asia is their believe that their race is superior to all other races in Asia and the non-Japanese Asians are sub-human.  The idea of such racial superiority is still alive and well in Japan.

Yesterday afternoon, while waiting for a pickup at the Detroit airport in the United States, I could hear the sound from a TV in the waiting room.  I shoddered at hearing “Cuban terrorism”.  The idea of using “terrorism” as an excuse to attack a sovreign country has proven to be, and still is, a scary one.  

This entry was posted on Friday, August 1st, 2008 at 1:49 pm and is filed under Just Being Me. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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