Speech for August 15, 2000 : Day of "Peace in the Pacific”
Thekla Lit, President of B.C. ALPHA
The Honourable Ujjal Dosanjh, Minister Hammell, Minister Kwan, honourable guests, ladies and gentlemen.
Thank you all for your presence here today. It is most meaningful we have among our guests, veterans who served in the Pacific theater of World War II and also survivors of crimes against humanity of the War. Also, with us are representatives of different ethnic organizations that share with B.C. ALPHA the same compassion for victims and survivors of crimes against humanity. I believe all of us here are concerned about peace, humanity and justice.
B.C. ALPHA wants to make the hope for peace a possible dream. We have been working to facilitate our fellow Canadians to learn lessons of humanity from this tragic chapter of history. I would like to take this occasion to express ALPHA’s appreciation to the Provincial government for the proclamation of this day to be the Day of Peace in the Pacific. Our appreciation also goes to the Ministry of Education for their development of a learning resource regarding humanity and justice issues in the context of WW II in Asia. The resource will be used by B.C. high school students. ALPHA is proud to be a partner with the Ministry in the development of this resource. We believe the resource will be a significant contribution to the betterment of humanity in this multicultural nation of ours.
ALPHA also supports survivors’ demand that the Japanese parliament should pass resolutions of apology and compensation to victims of crimes against humanity committed by the Japanese Imperial Army during WWII. We believe this is important for reconciliation and for healing the wound of history that has been left unresolved for 55 years.
When I asked Mr. Tatsuo Kage why he supported the work of ALPHA, he told me the Japanese Canadians had got their redress from the Canadian government for their unjust internment during WW II and so they know how important redress is for victims and survivors. That is also one of the reasons why he and many other Japanese Canadians support the redress movement of victims and survivors of crimes against humanity committed by Japanese Imperial Army during the Asia-Pacific War.
It is for long lasting peace that the Japanese government should make sincere effort to facilitate their younger generations to learn lessons of humanity from this dark chapter of history. This is a necessity for building a solid foundation for genuine friendship and long lasting peace in the Pacific and the world.
Let us all work to help make our hope for peace a reality. Thank you.