Friday, 7 September 2007

The War The World Forgot

A few days ago I wrote this in my diary. I thought it might be sensible to post it here.

"TODAY we went to Changi Chapel and Prison Museum. Changi gaol was designed for 600 prisoners but when the Japanese conquered Singapore in 1942 they incarcerated 3000 civilians there, later replacing them with 10,000 POWs, who were tortured, starved and treated like the lowest of the low: Brits, Australians, Chinese, Indians, anyone; men, women, children and grandparents; soldiers and civilians. Some were made to work on the Burmese-Thailand railway - the 'Death Railway' - with only a fraction surviving. And all of this because, due to a matter of personnel, the British thought the risk of Japan invading Singapore was only "hypothetical".

Then, to finish it all, the Allied forces dropped two atomic bombs, one from the B-29 Enola Gay on Hiroshima and then Bock's Car dropped another on Nagasaki, the first obliterating 66,000 innocent civilians and the latter 39,000. It was all tremendously inhumane, disturbing and purely evil, even if it was strategic.

What makes it worse is that I had no idea of any of this. I knew of the atom bomb but did not really know why it was dropped. In the UK, school history lessons when I was younger were repeatedly about the Tudors and the Germans, never any of this. I came to Singapore entirely naive. I shall return knowing of a war which should never be forgotten, but is forgotten. I am currently saddened and very, very angry."

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