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 The Railway Man

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tufsoft



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Join date : 2011-06-03

PostSubject: The Railway Man   Tue Dec 16, 2014 5:43 am

Last week I saw a film called “The Railway Man” based on a book of the same name by Eric Lomax. At the weekend I read the book.
 
Lomax was captured by the Japanese in 1942 and sent to work on the Burma railway. Suspected of being a spy he was beaten almost to death by the Japanese and waterboarded and then kept in foul conditions in a special prison. At one stage he threw himself down a metal staircase to injure himself and get sent to hospital.
 
Most victims of torture are unable to talk about what they experienced. Lomax suffered from nightmares and implacable thirst for revenge for most of his life. At the age of 70 he became the first patient to be treated by the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture. He gradually became able to speak about the things that had happened to him. In later life he managed to trace one of his former torturers, interpreter Takashi Nagase of Kurashiki. Nagase had also been suffering from guilt and trauma all his life and had built and dedicated a Buddhist shrine by the famous bridge on the River Kwai. The two men met and became reconciled. Amazingly, Lomax lived to be over 90.
 
I’m posting about this book here for two reasons. One is that it gives some insight into the Japanese mentality of absolute obedience to authority, represented ultimately by the Emperor, and the other reason is that torture represents the quintessence of intimidation and bullying. Apart from the pain and discomfort involved, it is the trauma of being bullied by other human beings that is responsible for a large part of the lasting psychological damage. I think anyone who has ever been bullied will find this an illuminating read.
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chisanmichaelhughes

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Posts : 1638
Join date : 2010-11-17

PostSubject: Re: The Railway Man   Tue Dec 16, 2014 10:25 am

I looked after my uncle till he died a few years ago he was in special forces and was traumatised at the end of his life by the killings in Burma WW2 He was in polite terms trying to find a certain Japanese General in char ge of troops in Burma my uncle got close but not close enough, After the war my uncle rented his house in New York to aJapanese banker who was the nephew of the general,so my uncle got an introduction flew over and met him,the general knew all about my uncle they spent time together 2 men who had been responsible for many deaths. I literally have just had an American guy come and see me and he told me a story of a Viet nam vet keeping a photo that he had taken from a viet kong he had killed,the photo was of the guys daughter he took him 30 years but he found the daughter and apologised.
Life is difficult to live the right way
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Isan
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Join date : 2010-07-27
Location : California

PostSubject: Re: The Railway Man   Tue Dec 16, 2014 12:07 pm

chisanmichaelhughes wrote:
I literally have just had an American guy come and see me and he told me a story of a Viet nam vet keeping a photo that he had taken from a viet kong he had killed,the photo was of the guys daughter he took him 30 years but he found the daughter and apologised.
Life is difficult to live the right way

I was with a group of friends who spent some time in the Virgin Islands during the Vietnam war.  It was the first port of call for American soldiers coming back from long combat tours.  I still remember vividly how many of them got drunk out of their minds and told us the most terrible stories.  I could have been one of them, but to my surprise I was "4F" (failed the physical).  "There but for grace of God..."  Some people never find their way back.  Whether you're a perpetrator, or a victim, or just a witness you have to have the courage to look at it honestly, and seek help.  Buddhism teaches Sange and Ahimsa.  They are the only way to escape the crippling cycles of violence.
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: The Railway Man   Fri Dec 19, 2014 3:34 pm

I like your sentiments Isan they are  a good way to view life.
For me there are some fine lines and difficult decisions to make,regarding countries and peoples inability to be friends.
I have to also say regarding Ahimsa, I am involved with our local boxing club juniors seniors girls and boys, it is very rare to find negative thoughts against opponents,I like to tell the youngsters,what they are really doing is the fight for life,the opponent is completely incidental,one fights ones own fears and limitations,and ina funny way respect for others is a by product of contact sports
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