Saturday, December 23, 2017

Support Lighthouse in Japan

The video above on JK is by Lighthouse, an NPO that works to eliminate human trafficking, especially sex trafficking, in Japan.

Japan remains a Tier Two country on the State Department's Human Trafficking watch list. This means it is not doing enough to hinder and stop the sexual exploitation of girls and boys. Japan is not enforcing the laws that it has nor is it prosecuting the perpetrators. Simply put, Japan has not changed its societal views of sex trafficking. This backwardness helps explain why the Abe government is unable to come to terms with Imperial Japan's Comfort Women history.

It should be noted that South Korea has long pulled itself out of being a Tier Two Country and is now a Tier One. This is a government that fully meet the Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s (TVPA) minimum standards and is expanding its prosecution of traffickers and help for their victims.

It is telling that Japan is the only G7 country not a States Parties to the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking In Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, commonly known as the Palermo Protocol. This agreement outlines the distinct responsibility governments bear to criminalize human trafficking in all its forms and to prosecute and hold offenders accountable for their crimes.

Japan it seems, can not take responsibility for neither its past nor its future. If the surviving Comfort Women cannot get Japan to be accountable to them, maybe their quest should be, as the Japanese demand, "future oriented." This is to persuade Japan to sign the Palermo Protocol. Such an accomplishment would be the best sign that the rightists of Japan have been buried and that the country now holds a modern understanding of the scourge of sex trafficking.

Friday, December 22, 2017

When Victims of Wartime Rape Are Scorned

Paintings by Korean Comfort Women
As a long year of Japanese denial of Comfort Women history comes to a close, the New York Times ran a powerful op ed about the rape victims of Bosnia and the long-term shame associated with military rape. This piece is timeless and borderless explanation of how sexual violence affects women and why they remain silent. Japan's deniers ignore this psychic toll and the science of trauma. It is as if the Japanese Right wants to again feel powerful by denying the personhood, the humanity of women, girls and boys defiled by Imperial Japan's soldiers and officials.

As a UN Population Fund report in 2015 note:
Stigma is one of the biggest obstacles to improving the quality of life of survivors of sexual violence. Focusing the attention to the stigma against survivors of conflict-related sexual violence must be a priority for those who provide assistance to survivors.
And it is this stigma that Japan presses on each time it brushes off the Comfort Women as willing prostitutes. This is partly a pernicious campaign to compel the women's own compatriots to abandon them and partly antiquated thinking not shared by any of the "Western European and other States" at Japan is grouped with on the UN Population Fund's Executive Board.

When Victims of Wartime Rape Are Scorned

By Riada Asimovic Akyol, writer on gender, nationalism and religion and a Ph.D. candidate at Galatasaray University in Istanbul

New York Times, December 18, 2017

Last month, Human Rights Watch published a report confirming that Myanmar’s army is engaged in the mass rape of Rohingya Muslim women and girls as a tool of ethnic cleansing. That report was followed, last week, by an article from The Associated Press that established the same set of facts: the use of “sweeping and methodical” rape as a weapon of war.

I read both with tears in my eyes and disgust in my stomach. The reports, in all their horror — the dehumanizing gang rapes in front of family, the forced public nudity, the torture and sexual enslavement — all called to mind similar stories from my country, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

During the 1992-95 war in Bosnia, an estimated 20,000 to 50,000 women experienced brutal sexual violence, both inside and outside numerous “rape camps.” The largest number of these women, by far, were Bosnian Muslims. Rape was used systematically, with the aim of cultural extermination. The forced impregnation of Bosnian Muslim women by Serbian men was among the distinctive and repugnant genocidal strategies used by the Serbian military, policemen and members of paramilitary groups.

Today, there is no more war in Bosnia. But more than two decades after the fighting ended, it is the lingering effects of this wartime sexual violence that remain among our most open wounds. In the case of the Rohingya I worry especially for the future of the women who have suffered these mass rapes: They might be in the news for now, but as in Bosnia, could later end up marginalized, silenced and abandoned to their traumas, even by some members of their own community.

But not all of them. In 1993, when there was still active fighting in Bosnia, Ahmed Mesic, a renowned Bosnian theologist, Islamic jurist and Sufi sheikh, wrote an essay under the pseudonym Ahmed Nuruddin titled “Message to Raped Women.” His aim was to offer theological explanation and spiritual comfort and support.

In his message, Mr. Mesic declared that Bosnian women who had been raped should be considered “martyrs to the faith.” He emphasized that it was the responsibility of the community — and especially men — to show extra care, respect, support and solidarity toward these women. The message served as a powerful warning, grounded in Islam, against patriarchal tendencies in Bosnian society: Mr. Mesic criticized the lack of organized, institutional support for victims of rape, and didn’t shy away from slamming the Islamic community for not offering adequate care.

Health workers and war rape victims at the time welcomed the message from Mr. Mesic and other religious leaders: “The imam’s engagement and public condemnation of the perpetrators created a possibility for a new understanding of the victims,” wrote the scholar Inger Skjelsbaek.

If only the government and community had paid enough heed. Instead, in the years since, the experience of war rape victims in Bosnia has consisted primarily of pity or neglect, but also stigma. As part of research conducted by the United Nations Population Fund in 2015, two-thirds of participants described how they were subjected to condemnation, insults and humiliation as soon as their neighbors or friends or family members learned they’d been subjected to sexual assault. Who knows how many still remain silent about what they endured as a result.

Part of the problem is that after the war, Bosnia and Herzegovina, a country made up of three constituent ethno-national groups — Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats — has never managed to establish a common narrative about the recent past. Each ethnic group has its own competing nation-building project. Not one has room for rape victims.

“These women are not part of the collective memorialization, because they are seen as a reminder of the nation’s shame and defeat,” said Zilka Spahic-Siljak, a Bosnian scholar of gender, politics and religion and research associate at Stanford University. Honoring those who suffered wartime rape requires men to acknowledge that they were powerless to protect their nation, women and territory. As the scholar Janet Jacobs put it, remembering the suffering and honoring those who were raped during war is “antithetical to the project of nation building and ethnic pride,” which in Bosnia is very much still happening.

We’re still a very long way from any sort of justice for the Rohingya, let alone any kind of nation-building effort. The Myanmar government continues to deny its crimes against humanity, and the future of the Rohingya as a people remains unknown. So much for “never again.”

But there are signs that the Rohingya women who have been raped could face a future not unlike those who were victims of sexual assault in my country years ago. The Associated Press told the story of a woman in Myanmar whose husband had responded to the news of an attack on his pregnant wife by demanding to know why she had not run away, and threatened to abandon her. Human Rights Watch reported that many Rohingya women, even those who have fled to Bangladesh, are not seeking post-rape treatment because of stigma. Other victims of mass rape, such as the Nigerian women and girls raped by Boko Haram and Nigerian security forces, or Yazidi women enslaved by the barbaric Islamic State also potentially face similar fates.

What Bosnian women and others who suffered wartime rape need is a space and means to tell their own stories, which could cast them not only as victims but also as survivors, said Ms. Spahic-Siljak. Such a change could create a place for them in the national narrative of rebuilding. Unfortunately, Mr. Mesic’s note to the women in his community has been largely forgotten over the past two decades, even in Bosnia, and his message is as relevant as ever today.

Mr. Mesic emphasized that we must respect and honor women raped in war. As an Islamic scholar, he also reminded his audience, citing Islamic verses, that the perpetrators of the crimes against them would be punished, and the victims would be specially rewarded by God. God, in other words, would be with those who are suffering, sooner or later.

It seems that many Rohingya victims feel the same way today. “They wanted to wipe us out from the world,” a Rohingya victim of torture and gang rape said to The A.P. “They tried very hard, but Allah saved us.”

Many victims in Bosnia also felt that God was with them, and this helped them survive. But most mortals, from the international community to members of their own communities, were not with them — at least not enough. The same tragedy that took place in Bosnia should not recur with the Rohingya. The genocide must be stopped, and the victims of sexual violence should be given the support, the rights and the respect that they deserve.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Monday in Washington, December 11, 2017

RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT FUNDING IN THE 2018 US FARM BILL. 12/11, 8:30-9:15am. Sponsor: AEI. Speakers: Vincent H. Smith, AEI; Philip Pardey, University of Minnesota.

U.S.-KOREA DEFENSE ACQUISITION AND SECURITY COOPERATION. 12/11, 9:00am-12:30pm. Sponsors: CSIS; Defense Acquisition Program Administration; Korea Institute for Industrial Economics and Trade; Korea Aerospace Industries. Speakers: Dr. Jeon, Jei Guk, Minister, Defense Acquisition Program Administration; Yu, Byoung-Gyu, President, Korea Institute for Industrial Economics and Trade.

BEYOND TRADE: THE COSTS AND CONSEQUENCES OF EXITING NAFTA. 12/ 11, 10:00-11:30am. Sponsor: CSIS. Speakers: Richard Miles. Senior Fellow and Deputy Director of the Americas Program, CSIS; Scott Miller, Senior Adviser and Scholl Chair in International Business, CSIS; Ambassador Carla Hills, CSIS Counselor and Trustee; ​Ambassador Earl Anthony Wayne, Senior Adviser with the Project on Prosperity and Development at CSIS and former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico and Argentina; Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan, former Mexican Ambassador to the United States; Ambassador Michael Wilson, former Ambassador to the United States and Former Minister of Finance for Canada; moderator: Romina Bandura, Senior Fellow with the Project on Prosperity and Development and the Project on U.S. Leadership in Development at CSIS.

12/11, Noon–2:00pm. Sponsor: Elliott School, GW Speakers: Matt Chessen, Foreign Service Officer, State Department; Robert Ogburn, Visiting State Department Fellow, The Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication, School of Media and Public Affairs and the Elliott School of International Affairs.

CLASHING OVER COMMERCE. 12/11, 12:15-1:30pm. Sponsor: Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE) Speaker: author Douglas Irwin, Professor, Economics, Dartmouth College. Webcast.

WHITHER AMERICA? A STRATEGY FOR REPAIRING AMERICA'S POLITICAL CULTURE. 12/11, 2:00pm. Sponsor: Atlantic Council. Speaker: John Raidt, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Middle East Security Initiative, Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security.

JAPAN AND THE UNITED STATES AS GLOBAL LEADERS IN ENERGY AND INNOVATION. 12/11, Noon-1:30pm, Lunch. Sponsor: Sasakawa USA. Speakers: Robbie Diamond, Founder, President and CEO, Securing America's Energy (SAFE); Phyllis Yoshida, Fellow for Energy and Technology, Sasakawa USA; Moderator: Daniel Bob, Director of Programs and Senior Fellow, Sasakawa USA.

12/11, 5:30-7:30pm. Sponsor: Atlantic Council. Speakers: Harlan Ullman, Distinguished Senior Fellow, U.S. Naval War College, Senior Adviser, Atlantic Council; Susan Eisenhower, President of The Eisenhower Group and Chairman Emeritus at the Eisenhower Institute; Edward Luce, Washington Columnist for the Financial Times; Frederick Kempe, President and CEO of the Atlantic Council. 

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Spirits Homecoming in DC

Two Screenings in Washington, DC

5:00-7:30pm, Reception, Washington, DC
Washington Coalition for Comfort Women Issues (WCCW); Institute for Korean Studies, GWU Speaker: Junglae Cho, Director and Screenplay
George Washington University
1957 E St., NW, Marvin Center, Amphitheater, Room 213

3:00-4:30pm, Reception, Rockville, MD 
Washington Coalition for Comfort Women Issues (WCCW)
Speaker: Junglae Cho, Director and Screenplay 
Universities at Shady Groves (USG)
9630 Gudelsky Drive, Building II, Auditorium

View the Trailer

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

War and Memory in Japan

Something Dreadful Happened in the Past: 
Generational Memory of War and Peace in Japan

Akiko Hashimoto (Visiting Professor of Sociology and Asian Studies at Portland State University, and Faculty Fellow of Yale University’s Center for Cultural Sociology) speaks to Temple University's Japan Campus,
Institute of Contemporary Asian Studies (ICAS) on November 9, 2017.

click to order
She is author and editor of volumes on cultural sociology and comparative sociology, focused on social constructions of reality in varied cultural settings. Her special interests are cultural trauma, war memory, national identity, culture and power, popular culture and media, family and aging.

Japanese children are raised in an environment encoded with generational memory that encourages them to develop negative moral sentiments about the Asia-Pacific War. The “encouragement” comes in subtle and unsubtle ways, as young children develop gut instincts that “something dreadful happened in the past,” even if they don’t fully understand what or why. A growing number of cultural institutions and communities play a pivotal role in producing this generational memory as the wartime generation passes on. Drawing on the emotions of cultural trauma to forge a pacifist moral consciousness is a common technique of transmitting memory at such sites. Hashimoto’s talk will explore the broader cultural premise of the pacifist nation underlying the plural narratives of dark history that continue to cast a shadow on postwar Japan. The talk is based on Hashimoto’s The Long Defeat: Cultural Trauma, Memory and Identity in Japan which has recently been published in a Japanese translation.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Monday in Washington, December 4, 2017

RAISING GLOBAL THREATS: WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO WIN. 12/4, 8:00am-Noon. Sponsor: Defense Forum Washington 2017, U.S. Naval Institute. Speakers Include: Richard V. Spencer, Secretary of the Navy, CAPT John Cordle, USN (Ret.), Director, Maintenance University, Huntington Ingalls Industries.

8th ANNUAL CONFERENCE ON TURKEY. 12/4, 9:00-3:00pm. Sponsors: Middle East Institute (MEI); Friedrich Ebert Stiftung. Speakers: Michael Meier, Representative to the U.S. and Canada, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung; Gönül Tol, Director, Turkish Studies, MEI; Aykan Erdemir, Senior fellow, Foundation for the Defense of Democracies; Ahmet Kuru, Professor, Political Science, San Diego State University; Giran Ozcan, Washington representative, People's Democratic Party; Günes Murat Tezcür, Jalal Talabani Chair, Kurdish Political Studies, University of Central Florida; Arne Lietz, Member of the European Parliament; Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan, Neil Moskowitz Professor, Economics, University of Maryland; Omer Taspinar, Professor, National Defense University; Dimitar Bechev, senior fellow, Atlantic Council; Jonathan Cohen, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Turkey, Greece, & Cyprus, U.S. Department of State; Kati Piri, Member of the European Parliament; Ozturk Yilmaz, Member of Parliament, Republican People's Party, Republic of Turkey; Moderators: Lisel Hintz, Assistant professor , SAIS, Johns Hopkins; Amberin Zaman, Al-Monitor.

THE NATURE OF CHANGE: THE SCIENCE OF INFLUENCING BEHAVIOR. 12/4, 9:00am-6:00pm. Sponsor: World Wildlife Fund. Speakers: Dr. Dan Ariely, Professor, Psychology and Behavioral Economics, Duke University; Sarilani Wirawan, Director, Rare-Indonesia; Gayle Burgess, Consumer Behavior Change Coordinator, TRAFFIC; Ronan Donovan, Wildlife Photographer and Filmmaker, National Geographic Explorer; Dr. Beth Karlin, Research Director, Norman Lear Center, University of Southern California.


WINNING THE THIRD WORLD: THE SINO-AMERICAN RIVALRY. 12/4, 11:00am-Noon. Sponsor: CSIS. Speaker: Gregg Brazinsky, Author, Associate Professor, GWU.

, Noon-1:30pm. Sponsor: Atlantic Council. Speakers: Amb. Masood Khan, President, Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK); Moderated by: Dr. Bharath Gopalaswamy, Director, South Asia Center, Atlantic Council.

70TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE MARSHALL PLAN. 12/4, Noon-1:30pm. Sponsor: Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership and Policy, University of Southern California. Speaker: Karen Donfried, President, German Marshall Plan of the United States.