"In societies where Robbing Hoods are treated like a celebrity it is but natural to expect political parties to act like a Mafia syndicate" Political Jaywalker "In a nation where corruption is endemic people tend to confuse due process with aiding and abetting criminals" Political Jaywalker "War doesn't determine who is right, war determines who is left" Bertrand Russell "You have just one flash flood of money, you keep your people poor. It's like a time bomb and it's scary" Philippine Lawmaker

The Lolas: An issue that refuses to die

It is ironic that a serious humanitarian and rights issue that occurred more than six decades ago has remained unresolved then resurfaces to stir public discourse again just because of an aberration in an institution we used to hold sacred. The reported infringement of a copyright is another push downhill in the people's perception of the so-called highest court of the land.

It boggles the mind how everything that's fair and righteous seem to have been stacked against the so-called comfort women from the start. Yes, it happened so long ago but until the perpetrators step up and accept the consequences of their monstrosity, the wound continues to pester. Until then people like me will continue to ask questions about a neighboring nation that embarked on a weird Greater Asia Prosperity Sphere campaign at the start of World War II supposedly to uplift not only itself but also Asian brothers but instead heinously subjugated and terrorized them.

How is it that a renegade country condemned for treacherously starting the war in the Pacific with a sneak attack of Pearl Harbor and neighboring countries, brought to its knees in defeat and then helped to recoup its loses and regain its stature in the community of nations by the very people it terrorized has until today refused to come up with what's decent and just? Why is Japan not fully forthcoming to those it victimized during the last world war?

In 1993, or more than 40 years after the fact, a member of Japan's ruling party, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono, came out with a kind of acknowledgement that indeed Japan committed massive criminal acts amid the coercive nature of war. Acknowledgement, if it amounted to that, is not a substitute for apology and making amends about it especially to help appease the torment among the dwindling number of victims. Then there was Prime Minister Koizumi who nine years later extended in a letter "my most sincere apologies and remorse to all the women who underwent immeasurable and painful experiences and suffered incurable physical and psychological wounds as comfort women." Additionally, he said, "We must not evade the weight of the past, nor should we evade our responsibilities for the future."

At that time it appeared that this arrogant government who made it possible for soldier-beasts to brutalize and kill even innocent civilians and children in the past had finally come up with something remotely remorseful. I thought then that finally there was a semblance of a leadership coming to grips with itself about the atrocities committed to the comfort women. Was such development an indication that after all there is still a miniscule of decency from that end about the issue?

Unfortunately even those hollow personal pronouncements of culpability was promptly repudiated by the succeeding Prime Minister Shnzo Abe. And thus the cry for justice continues for the women victims concerned. How long had they remained silent about the torments they underwent, suffered the pain and humiliation of cruel acts not of their making? How many survivors of the comfort women system during World War II -- historians estimate that there were between 80,000 and 200,000 of these women from the Korean peninsula, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Netherlands, and the Philippines -- are still alive today? What will it take for Japan to fully atone the injustices committed?

And now we heard about our own Supreme Court deciding against the petition of 70 Filipino comfort women for the Philippine government to pick up their cause. Not only did the court worked against the interest of our people crying for justice; it did so with apparent lack of seriousness and sensitivity by employing purloined arguments. Then a second whammy was delivered by our own Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo who argued that the cause of the oppressed Filipinos would be inimical to our country's foreign policy interests, and could disrupt relations with Japan. These remnants of the shameless GMA regime are living up to their heavily tarnished image. -- By D. Grava (Note: Also published in Pinas Global News.)

Dionesio C. Grava - Part-time community journalist based in Los Angeles and editorial writer at Forum Asia.

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