市のExecutive committee meeting にて、日系人男性１名・女性１名が慰安婦像設置反対のスピーチをしました。
Presentation to Bby Council April 9th 2015 （PDFデータ）
突然Mayr’s OfficeからPress Releaseがありました。【資料１：バーナビー市長発表2015.4.15】
午後７時より市の公園課のオープン･ミーテインング（PARKS, RECREATION AND CULTURE COMMISSION）で、地元出身の北欧系男性が慰安婦像反対のスピーチをしました。【資料２：スピーチ】
15日付けの地元紙Burnaby Now(April 15, 2015 11:26 AM)に
Burnaby hoping for truce between local Korean and Japanese communities
The proposal for the statue included text for a plaque, which states: “To commemorate those who were forcefully taken by the Japanese military to be their sexual slavery (sic) and to restore their human dignity and honor, with hope that the criminal act in violating human rights by warfare or any forms of violence would never recur on this land.”
Good evening committee members,
To paraphrase an old saying,
Now is the time to speak, or forever hold my peace.
I was born and raised in Burnaby. I’ve lived and worked here for most of my career except for the year that I spent in 2012 and 2013 teaching English in Osaka, Japan. I made it to Japan partly by way of the inspiration that my grade 5 teacher gave me the day she showed the class a video of Osaka Expo ’70, and documentary footage of what it was like to live in Japan at the time. We learnt about multiculturalism that year, Mao’s cultural revolution, and among other things, basic respect for all people in that special class of 1975.
Twenty years later I met a Japanese lady, and we got married and had a couple kids, and even moved to Japan for over a year where I taught eikaiwa conversation class, and found a new admiration for my elementary school sensei. My experience in Japan showed me that the Japanese are a quiet, and non-confrontational people, who are very polite and civil in their everyday life. It wasn’t uncommon that when I was lost in a train station, some helpful Japanese person would physically walk me to where I needed to be, and think nothing of it. I experienced this kindness in Japan frequently.
The reason I mention this is to make a contrast between the average Japanese citizen and tourist of today, with the imperial Japanese army of 80 years ago. They’ve apologized, paid reparations, and moved on after the devastations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And so should we, here in Canada.
I believe that the act of installing a statue to memorialize comfort women will divide the local Japanese, Chinese and Korean communities, and pit them against each other for no other reason than to settle old grudges. It goes completely against the value that we cherish in Canada called “Multiculturalism”. We came to this country from all over the world, but we didn’t bring our old battles with us. My family came from Finland, Scotland and Wales, but I didn’t pick any fights with Russia, Sweden or even England for that matter.
My grandfather was killed in the battle of Singapore in World War 2, and my father married a Japanese lady, and so did I. Move on, look to the future, not to the past.
But inevitably to the past we must look.
Fifty years ago in 1965, the city of Vancouver sistered up with Yokohama Japan, and Burnaby joined Kushiro in Hokkaido, to share sister city status. All together, there are 35 cities in Japan who have the same relationship to a city or town all across British Columbia and the Yukon Territory. 25 years later in 1990, a delegation of sculptors arrived on Burnaby mountain and installed several Ainu totem poles to represent their gods, and celebrate life. It seems to me that a comfort women statue would represent the Japanese as a devil, and celebrate only misery. Is this really what we want for our public space? Imposing this statue on people in a happy park setting is a visual assault on the unsuspecting visitors.
If we are going to remember Japan’s use of wartime prostitutes here in Burnaby, should we not also recognize the grievances of the comfort women who serviced the South Korean and American soldiers from 1952 to 1992? They are also suing the government of Korea for reparations, and surely they deserve a written plaque as well. Perhaps, while were at it, we should erect an atrocity memorial walk through the park, where all the indignities of humanity can be displayed for everyone visiting Central park. Canadians interned during World War 2, Native residential school victims, Pol Pot, Indonesia, Rwanda… where does it end?
I sincerely hope that the spirit of multiculturalism can thrive in Burnaby, and that this proposal does not move forward.
Thank you for your time tonight.