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How has Iris Chang’s book, The Rape of Nanking: the Forgotten Holocaust of - page 6 / 9

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students each year are armed and educated about human disaster. Some critics have questioned my motives, stating these are “only students,” seventeen or eighteen years old. Their age however is a benefit because they are future leaders and they will carry this knowledge with them. I know they make a difference; I have seen it, especially when compared to “… a world in which so many international figures – the United Nations’ Kofi Annan immediately comes to mind – seem content to deal with the challenge of human disaster in the fashion of athletes out to achieve a winning record (you may lose in Rwanda, but you win East Timor)” (Mills, p. 40). My students, like Chang have a moral integrity that set them apart.

The denial and dismissal of blatant, malicious, and purposeful genocide, if listened to by an apathetic audience is dangerous. If not challenged such denial aids the perpetrator in denying victims their suffering even further. People are impressionable, especially hearing something for the first time. Some of the most impressionable are students who are easily swayed and often won’t challenge what they are told regarding required curriculum. For the rape of Nanking to be called an “unfortunate incident” does not serve justice. Consider:

Over a six-week period, up to 80,000 women were raped. But it wasn’t so much the sheer numbers as the details that shock – fathers forced at gunpoint to rape daughters, stakes driven through vaginas, women nailed to trees, tied-up prisoners used for bayonet practice, breast sliced off the living, speed decapitation contest (August, p. 1).

Is this a mere “unfortunate incident?” Iris Chang sets the bar high when challenging deniers. She went as far as challenging the Japanese ambassador to America to apologize for the Nanking Massacre, calling into question the integrity of the Japanese government. Bringing the story to the public realm, the fight for justice and truth is brought to a forum where it can’t be hidden. Exposure of events is a method of combating denial. Teaching a high school course that identifies perpetrators and incorporates the truth of genocide in all social studies courses will make a difference in combating both silent and not so silent critics. Iris Chang has faces great deniers. Nobukatsu Fujioka, a right wing commentator, openly campaigned to prevent publication of her book in Japan by citing errors. He also published a book denouncing Chang as a propagandist funded by Japan-haters (August, p. 3). What is most disheartening for me, as an individual who wants to make a

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