Saturday, April 12, 2014

The World: Revisiting World War II Atrocities

The World: Revisiting World War II Atrocities; Comparing the Unspeakable to the Unthinkable

Published: March 7, 1999
AUSCHWITZ. Dachau. Ping Fan. Changchun. In the shorthand of World War II atrocities, some names are more recognizable than others.
But while Nazi scientists like Josef Mengele conducted hideous experiments on concentration camp prisoners, their lesser-known Japanese counterparts, led by Gen. Shiro Ishii, were waging full-scale biological warfare and subjecting human beings to ghastly experiments of their own -- and on a far greater scale than the Germans.
''Imagine hundreds of Mengeles,'' said Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, who has been calling on the Japanese to face up to their past as openly as the Germans have.
Ping Fan, built by General Ishii, the mastermind of Japanese germ warfare and its infamous Unit 731, was a camp of plague-bearing fleas, rat cages and warrens for human guinea pigs. Changchun, 150 miles south, was another huge installation for germ tests on plants, animals and people.
Though not approaching the systematic exterminations by the Nazis, the Japanese record of atrocities -- what victims call ''the Asian Holocaust'' -- is still producing revelations more than 50 years after the end of World War II. The delay illustrates the West's Eurocentric view of wartime suffering as well as striking differences in the willingness of the two former Axis allies to come to terms with their past. It has also thrown a harsh light on cold-war rivalries. As early as 1949, the Soviet Union convicted 12 Japanese for biological war crimes. Although the published transcript contained exhaustive details of Unit 731's crimes, the accounts were largely ignored or dismissed in the West as Communist propaganda. The Allies did, however, prosecute 5,570 Japanese, but none for biological warfare.
In the early 1980's, American and British scholars and journalists rediscovered the germ war issue, adding new details of American involvement in covering up the crimes. The story has since taken on a new momentum and questions of the guilt of Emperor Hirohito persist. Justice Department officials, unfettered by the State Department, are complaining that the Japanese are refusing to provide data on suspected war criminals, who would be barred from entering the country, just as 60,000 Germans and other Europeans are now.
At the same time, a 1997 Japanese lawsuit by Chinese seeks compensation for victims of Japan's germ warfare. Former members of Unit 731 have been confessing crimes. Chinese researchers say they keep uncovering new sites where anthrax, typhoid, plague and other diseases were spread, wiping out perhaps hundreds of thousands of Chinese. Another 10,000 or more Chinese, Russians and perhaps some American prisoners of war as well, researchers say, were killed in ghoulish experiments.
Japanese officials insist they lack proof, although by other accounts they have sealed wartime archives returned to them by the American authorities in the 1950's. With powerful right-wing and militaristic factions long opposed to confessions of wartime guilt, the Japanese publisher of a translation of ''The Rape of Nanking,'' the 1997 best-seller by Iris Chang (Basic Books), postponed its publication
It was only in 1992 that the Government officially acknowledged that the Japanese Army forced several hundred thousand Korean women into prostitution in World War II, and it was only last year that a Japanese court ordered the Government to pay $2,300 each to three plaintiffs. By contrast, Germany, in its schools and the press, has dealt unflinchingly with its past and paid victims reparations now amounting to about $80 billion, with private industry planning to pay billions more.
JAPANESE accountability for germ war atrocities got lost in the cold war. With the Japanese surrender in 1945, the Soviet Union and the United States competed to snare General Ishii's data. The Americans won out, promising immunity from war crimes prosecution.
Bob Dohini, a former lawyer on the United States prosecution team in Tokyo, said recently he had no idea that the crimes had included germ warfare. In December 1945, he said, he had carried a top-secret message to the American authorities in Tokyo. ''I assumed it had to do with the Emperor, because soon after I discovered we were not able to try him,'' he said.
He now calls the decision a big mistake, since revelations have pointed to the monarch's knowledge of germ warfare. ''I don't think there is any question of the Emperor's guilt,'' he said.

Return to the Blue Lagoon

Return to the Blue Lagoon is a 1991 American romance and adventure filmstarring Milla Jovovich and Brian Krause, produced and directed by William A. Graham. The screenplay by Leslie Stevens was based on the novel The Garden of God by Henry De Vere Stacpoole. The original music score was composed by Basil Poledouris. The film's closing theme song "A World of Our Own" is performed by Surface featuring Bernard Jackson. The music was written by Barry Mann, and the lyrics were written by Cynthia Weil. The film was marketed as "Return to the Romance, Return to the Adventure..." referring it to 1980's The Blue Lagoon to which this film is a sequel.[1][2]
The film tells the story of two young children marooned on a tropical island paradise in the South Pacific. Their life together is blissful, but not without physical and emotional changes, as they grow to maturity and fall in love.


In 1897, Mrs. Sarah Hargrave, a widow, and two young children (one of whom is the son of the castaways from the original film) are cast off from the ship they are travelling on, because the ship's crew are infected with cholera. After days afloat, a sailor (Kearney) who has been sent with them tries to kill the boy because of his excessive crying. Sarah angrily beats him to death with a harpoon, and dumps his body overboard. The trio arrives at and is stranded on a beautiful tropical island in the South Pacific. Sarah tries to raise them to be civilized, but soon gives up, as the orphaned boy Richard was born and raised by young lovers on this same island, and he influences the widow's daughter Lilli. They grow up, and Sarah educates them from the Bible, as well as from her own knowledge, including the facts of life. She cautiously demands the children never to go to the forbidden side of the island.
When Richard and Lilli are about eight, Sarah dies from pneumonia, leaving them to fend for themselves. Sarah is buried on a scenic promontory overlooking the tidal reef area. Together, the children survive solely on their resourcefulness, and the bounty of their remote paradise. Years later, both Richard and Lilli grow into strong and beautiful teenagers. They live in a house on the beach and spend their days together fishing, swimming, and exploring the island. Both their bodies mature and develop, and they are physically attracted to each other. Richard loses the child's game Easter egg hunt and dives to find Lilli an adult's pearl as her reward. His penchant for racing a lagoon shark sparks a domestic quarrel; Lilli thinks he is foolhardy, but the liveliness makes Richard feel virile.

Lilli awakens in the morning with her first menstrual period, just as Sarah described the threshold of womanhood. Richard awakens in the morning with an erection, and suffers a nasty mood swing, which he cannot explain. They then get into an argument regarding privacy and their late mother's rules. One night, Richard goes off to the forbidden side of the island, and discovers that a group of natives from another island use the shrine of an impressive, Kon-Tiki-like idol to sacrifice conquered enemies every full moon.Richard camouflages himself with mud and hides in the muck; meanwhile, Lilli worries about his disappearance. Richard escapes unscathed, though he is seen by a lone native. Ultimately, after making up for their fight, Richard and Lilli discover natural love and passion, which deepens their emotional bond. They fall in love, and exchange formal wedding vows and rings in the middle of the jungle. They consummate their new-found feelings for each other for the next several months.

Soon after, a ship arrives at the island, carrying unruly sailors, a proud captain, and his beautiful but spoiled daughter, Sylvia Hilliard. The party is welcomed by the young couple, and they ask to be taken back to civilization, after many years in isolation. Sylvia tries to steal Richard from Lilli and seduce him, but as tempted as he is by her strange ways, he realizes that Lilli is his heart and soul, upsetting Sylvia. Richard angrily leaves Sylvia behind in the middle of the fish pond, in plain view of the landing party. Meanwhile, a sailor ogles Lilli in her bath and drags her back to the house. He tries to rape her and steal her pearl, before Richard comes to her rescue. The sailor opens fire on Richard who flees. Richard lures the sailor to his death in the jaws of the shark in the tidal reef area. Upon returning, he apologizes to Lilli for hurting her and she reveals that she is pregnant. She tells him that if he wants to leave, then she won't stop him, but that she wants to raise their child away from civilization, and from guns.  They decide to stay and raise their child on the island, as they feel their blissful life would not compare to civilization. The ship departs and the two young lovers stay on the island, and have their baby girl. They name her Sarah after Lilli's mother.