Similar to the Holocaust, the memory of Nanking Massacre in 1937 is unforgettable in Chinese history.
During that time, approximately 300,000 people were abused to death by the Japanese soldiers. People were robbed and slaughtered; women were sexually abused and killed; and some were sacrificed for the soldiers’ heading-count killing games while the others were gathered and buried alive. Although the soldiers did cover and burn down thousands of corpses, what they could not easily bury and escape from, unfortunately, was the grudge Chinese people nursed against them. The memory was dreadful.
The same thing happened to the Jews during the Holocaust, perhaps, only worst. From the massive killings and horrific abuse, we feel not only the suffering and pain but also the killers’ cruelty and their loss of humanity.
I remember having a long discussion with Xiaolin He, my high school desk mate in China, after we learned more about the killing in Nanking and also that Japan was trying to distort the history of Nanking Massacre in youngsters’ textbooks to glorify their war history.
Xiaolin insisted the need of bearing the grudge and not forgetting about how we had been treated back in 1937. Japan should not be forgiven for the devastating loss they had caused decades ago, she wrote to me, and the country’s act of tampering with the actual history was unreasonable and offensive to the people who had been slaughtered by the soldiers. Like many people in China, she was indigent about the morbid minds Japan was capable of nurturing.
My comments were simpler compared to hers. I told her that the past was in the past. Holding grudges would never lead us anywhere. To move on, we needed to let them go. It might seem easy and heartless for me to say, but being wrapped up by all the wrongdoings people have committed many years ago might eventually crowd out our positive feelings about people and humanity as a whole.
Does it make us more human as we identify and analyze behaviors that are considered less human? I am interested to find out where the “Legacies of Shoah” will take me.