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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Today demonstration at the Japanese Embassy

The monthly demonstration at the Japanese Embassy,The Hague.I am waiting for Elizabeth van Kampen, from the Netherlands to e-mail me how the demonstration went.
Petition no. 205 will be presented to the Japanese Embassy. I am very curious,specially because a few days ago the Japanese Government offered their so called "heartfelt" apologies to the POW from Canada.

While I wait for Elizabeth to contact me I will write a little bit more about The Bridge Over The River Kwae.

This bridge is known to most people through the movie, where a British Force 136, could muster and risked their lives to plant explosives on the bridge the Allied prisoners of war built for the Japanese.
Here the story is somewhat different from the movie.

The true history of the "Death Railway" is that the prisoners built several bridges at the site of the present steel bridge.

All three bridges were bombed not by British underground agents but by British Air Force planes.
Two wooden bridges were built by British, Dutch,and American prisoners of war.My father was one of them.
The railway bridge is still used by the Thai State Railway, which runs a passenger train to the end of the line, Saiyok once a day. The train leaves Kanchanaburi(where my fathers grave is) on the River Kwae at 6.00 a.m. and returns in the evening.
How it is now.

The Bridge on the River Kwae. ..A big tourist attraction. In a way it is very sad!

So peace full.... Hard to believe my father worked on these railroad tracks.

 So much beauty .... so many secrets...if these sleepers and tracks could talk . The train rides over these tracks everyday,  clickity-clack....clickity-clack...clickity-clack... that's the sound upon the tracks.

The names of the dead, especially  those died in camps, were carefully recorded. Sometimes prisoners gave Thais tiny rolls of paper listing the dead. The rolls of paper were buried underground in jars as an extra precaution. Also diaries were buried with the dead. After the war, former prisoners attempted to recover the dead from the small up country camps, hunting out the already decayed wooden crosses.
The graves of those who died during the construction and maintenance of the Burma-Siam Railway, with the exception of seven Americans, who were repatriated, were transferred to Thanbyusyat War Cemetery in Burma,to the Chong Kai War Cemetery and Kanchanaburi War Cemetery in Thailand.

Their name liveth for evermore

Kanchanaburi War Cemetery. Here lies my father Klaas van der wal

The land for both cemeteries in Thailand was donated by Thais in Kanchanaburi who had become close to the prisoners during the war. 
Commonwealth War Grave Commission with headquarters in London maintain the two cemeteries. The Australians and New Zealand dead are honoured on April 25, ANZAC Day, the Dutch on May 5, ARMISTICE Day; and the British on Novemeber 11, REMEMBRANCE Day.

Plaques in Thai, English, Vietnamese, Malay, Tamil and Chinese honor the dead. On the English Plaque the rose symbolizes the British war dead; the tulip, the Dutch: the wattle the Australian; and the thistle the Scottish.

For the men who fought in the Far East, they hold our utmost respect.

They fought an enemy who were not only trained for jungle warfare but who also had better equipment.

Their battle carried on into captivity, a battle to survive, many did not make it, the odds were stacked too high against them.

After three and a half years in Japanese hands, the ones left, still fought on, the battle would last a lifetime and hopefully end, the day they meet their maker.

These stories are dedicated to these men and women, all are heroes, Far Eastern Heroes.

We honor them..... by remembering them.....Lest we forget!

Just received the petition from Elizabeth van Kampen.

Foundation of Jpanese Honorary Debts
NGO,Status Roster

His Excellency Yoshihiko Noda
Prime Minister of Japan

The Hague, December 13, 2011
Petition: 205
Subject: 1000th demonstration of the "GRANDMAS"

The "Grandmas" of Seoul will demonstrate for the 1000th time on Wednesday14th December 2011 to underline their request for respect and recognition for what they had to endure during Japan's occupation. The plight of these then young girls and women being forced into prostitution was never understood by the younger Japanese generations. We believe that the Japanese people, as mentioned in our previous petition, would be deeply ashamed after learning what the Japanese military did to these women in Korea and elsewhere. We sincerely hope that you will take notice that there are still a number of the so called Comfort Women, including Dutch, alive, and that you pay respect to them. For them and all those who suffered personally from the Japanese military we demonstrate today and remember them always.

They continue to constitute the naming and shaming of Japan.

Prime Minister,
The voluntary Asian Women's Fund was an attempt to draw the Japanese people's attention to the horrors of war. In particular the Japanese role during the Asian Pacific War. The Fund was a way to say sorry for the shameful conduct by the Japanese Military in organizing and operating brothels all over Asia, brutally forcing local women to provide "pleasure" to the Japanese Military in their Comfort Stations. The Japanese war cabinet supported this initiative. Later, after the war, the Japanese government did not correct this initiative nor did they directly admit these crimes against humanity nor compensate the victims of these crimes individually.

Like the holocaust these Japanese crimes will never be forgotten. Time and again we have suggested that the government of Japan pay respect to the victims; e.g. by instituting a comprehensive and compulsory education program at Japanese secondary schools and Universities. Ultimately the Japanese people will then learn and understand why the Chinese, the Koreans and the Dutch are reticient in accepting Japan's gestures. Today's politicians of Japan must act and basically extend the Peace and Exchange program to include the education of the citizens of Japan. We strongly recommend that you instruct the Minister of Education tp institute such a program.

On behalf of the Foundation of Japanese Honorary Debts,

J.F. van Wagtendonk

since April 4 1990, K.V.K. 41 156 189, NGO, status Roster.

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