Thursday, December 27, 2007

Savagery, Thy Name Is Human

Another voice of moderation was extinguished today. As to the specific details, more will be revealed but initially, it has the eerie feel of the riveting political film by Costa Gavras from the 1960s, Z.

Benazir Bhutto, former prime minister and prominent opposition leader in the scheduled 2008 Pakistan national election, is dead by violent means. RIP. From the Vatican: "It is difficult to see any glimmer of hope, peace, reconciliation in this country [Pakistan]" (source: Reuters, "World outraged, fearful over Bhutto assassination," 12/27/2007).

Given today's events, now is a reasonable time to mention Iris Chang (1968-2004), The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II (1997) and Nanking, the 2007 documentary film inspired by Chang's work. The events described in both began in 1937, same year as the ferocious aerial bombing of Guernica, Spain, by European fascists, but on a much larger scale (hundreds of thousands vs. hundreds killed or wounded). In Nanking / Nanjing, the Japanese military savaged the Chinese inhabitants from late 1937 to early 1938.

Neutral observers in Nanjing helped create a Safety Zone in an effort to protect and save thousands of civilians from the mayhem. Japanese soldiers aimed to kill all men close to military age, and raped tens of thousands of women. More information can be found at the official documentary film site at

Lou Reed contributed two songs, "Gravity" and "Safety Zone." For more, see also Lou's excellent website at

Observant and sensitive souls like Philip K. Dick and Iris Chang may respond to such history by saying their bit and self-destructing, or like Voltaire and Costa Gavras, locating those who bear witness, and remembering, while still somehow finding joy in life. The pen may not be mightier than the sword at the time, but it will not let such history be "disappeared" from the annals of the human race.

Today's Rune: Wholeness.


Charles Gramlich said...

I heard about the assassination. Your title is so true. Humans have such a capacity for evil.

Lana Gramlich said...

Ah, "humanity." Isn't it great to be "civilized?" *snort*

Bubs said...

Great post. I just read an article about the last days of Iris Chang, and her depression. Very sad.