After reading the April 14 article "How the textbook issue plays in Japan" about Japan's glossing over of Imperial Army atrocities in its textbooks, I thought of a 45-year-old German acquaintance. Her parents told her the atrocities committed by the Germans in World War II didn't really happen. She believes her parents. When I found that out, I didn't know what to say or think.Skip to next paragraph
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I met another German woman who stated, very aggressively, that it wasn't the Germans who destroyed Warsaw during the war - it was the Russians.
At least she is partly correct, but how do you talk with people who hold these opinions? I didn't think that trying to discuss these matters calmly would change their views. I wonder how many other people throughout the world hold similar views.
Joseph J. Blicharz
Regarding your April 12 editorial "China-Japan Logrolling": The source of dissatisfaction with Japan lies in its inability to face the fact that its military did, in fact, commit crimes against humanity during World War II, and did so with official approval.
If Japan truly wishes to hold its head up in international circles, it should confront its past. It should begin by teaching its children what really did happen by including its shame in its textbooks.
Another nation with a similar problem is Turkey. Its application for membership in the European Union ordinarily would be welcomed, but its refusal toadmit that the Ottoman Empire - Turkey's predecessor - slaughtered tens of thousands of Armenians and Asia Minor Greeks during World War I does not sit well with many.
What happened in each instance is so far in the past that the actual criminals are no longer available for punishment.
However, absent any real contrition or even admission that evil was committed, it is reasonable to suppose that the Japanese and Turkish nations are not sorry for what happened, and would do it again, given the opportunity.
Herbert M. Yood
Regarding the April 5 article "Nationalist strain deepens as Turkey leans toward Europe": Turkish people are not against the West. Turkish people are only fed up with the double standards and unjust practices - in violation of Western values, as we know them - of Turkey's Western friends and allies. Turkey is not being treated honestly. One can give several examples, including Western attitudes on the Cyprus question, the Armenian issue, and Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) terrorism. Finally, with all due respect to Islam - and I am a Muslim - trying to transform this republic into an Islamic state under the cover of "moderate Islam" is like putting dynamite to the very foundations of the Turkish revolution.
I take exception to Max Boot's conclusion that "the silence of the 'antiwar' masses [on Darfur] speaks volumes about their priorities" (April 19 opinion, "Where are the antiwar activists on Darfur?"). I opposed the war in Iraq because it was launched on false pretenses by my own government. I was shamed by the crimes committed at Abu Ghraib prison because they were committed by soldiers wearing the uniforms of my country. My taxes paid for "shock and awe."
Given our misadventure in Iraq, I question whether the United States today retains the moral leadership needed to intervene in Sudan, and even if it did, whether activists' pressure to do so would make any difference. My priorities are not the issue; my country's priorities are.
Edward C. Wolf
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