ACKNOWLEDGMENT REMARKS by Thekla Lit, president of B.C. ALPHA

The Witnessing Forum and Exhibition of our project, A Glimpse of Reconciliation was about the atrocious crimes against humanity committed by Japanese Imperial Army before and during WW II. These atrocities were in parallel to those committed by Nazi Germany in Europe. Similar to the Nazi German soldiers, the Japanese soldiers were indoctrinated with the ideology of racial supremacy. Our project, "A Glimpse of Reconciliation" provided a good opportunity to learn lessons of humanity and to reflect on the importance of elimination of racism.

The involvement of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, Dutch and Jewish communities in Canada, together with the participation of the delegates from Japan demonstrated that concerns on issues of justice and humanity transcend racial and cultural backgrounds. We used an educational and humanity approach to tackle unresolved issues of WW II in Asia. Such approach is important in the process to heal wounds of history and to seek reconciliation.

This approach is particularly meaningful in the light that the Japanese government has been reluctant to apologize and accept responsibility for the crimes against humanity committed by the its Imperial Army. It is indeed unfortunate that postwar Japanese governments have hidden the truth of this dark chapter of history from their younger generations by whitewashing history textbooks.

I hope more events like "A Glimpse of Reconciliation" will be organized. Because it is possible for community organizations to work together on this issue so as to overcome the painful past in the framework of universal human rights, racial harmony and justice.

On behalf of the participating organizations,

  1. B.C. Association for Learning & Preserving the History of WW II in Asia
  2. Human Rights Committee of the Greater Vancouver Japanese Canadians Citizens’ Association
  3. August 15, 1945 Foundation of B.C.
  4. Canadian Jewish Congress, Pacific Region
  5. Korean Women’s Association of Western Canada
  6. Philippine War Veterans Society of B.C.

I would like to thank the Ministry Responsible for Multiculturalism, Human Rights & Immigration for the End Racism Award.