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toxic family heirlooms -- expresses it well
Many years ago school children in Australia used to line up every Monday to watch the flag being raised and sing the national anthem. That was the sum total of our nationalistic indocrination. Nowadays they don't do it more than once or twice a year --Australia Day -- commemorating the uniting of all the previously separate states into one nation (and which increasingly is a celebration of the fantasticaly rich multicultural society that we now are -- where differences are celebrated rather than reviled) and on ANZAC day which celebrates one of our worst military defeats, but which actually commemorates those soldiers who fought and lost their lives in ALL wars that Australia fought. This one day of the year is a celebration of our freedom and principles and is certainly not an opportunity to brainwash our children into hating the Japanese. Sure, Australian schools have taught "wrong" history in the past--most notably concerning the Australian Aborigines but never have they embarked on a deliberate course to foster hatred against any one group. |
Yes we all have our prejudices--I have lots--but these were obtained at a personal level through my own experiences, and to a certain extent through those of my parents. However, while as the son of an Australian soldier who wasted 6 years of his life keeping the Japanese back, I could be excused for having an intense hatred of all things Japanese, I do not. Nor did my Father, and neither did the vast majority of Australian soldiers. In fact, for several years, ex-soldiers from Japan have joined in our war commemorations and have made joint visits to some places where the most terrible things happened 60 years ago.
On a logical basis I could not be so much of a hypocryte as to hate the Japanese while at the same time having them as a major supplier of the goods that make my life so comfortable. Equally, the communist yellow peril that for years posed a terrible threat to our democratic way of life turned out to be not such a threat afterall and now China is one of our biggest trading partners.
And, you know what? Now that I'm here I find that they-you- are a really nice people. Not perfect of course, but pretty good.
Something else--when I was in Japan, I found them to be just as nice.
Amazing isn't it?
So give your kids a break. Don't stuff them full of hatred and guilt and ... They will learn the seamier side of life plenty soon enough without being poisoned by long past events. Sure we must never forget events such as the Nanjing massacre, but that does not mean we can't forgive.
Children can learn from these events, but only if compassionate adults and teachers use the opportunity to build bridges between the survivors rather than tear them down year after year to forever separate them.