Sunday, August 7, 2011

MUSINGS / July 25, 2011

MUSINGS / July 25, 2011
The Yomiuri Shimbun

The following is a translation of the Henshu Techo column from The Yomiuri Shimbun's July 25 issue.

* * *

"It's festival day today. But as you're not here, it [the festival] holds no charm for me."

So goes a postcard sent by a woman to her husband drafted for service and about to go to the front. The husband, who didn't want to be censored by the military, asked one of his fellow soldiers to tell her that her husband had read her letter. From there, the movie tells the story of the checkered lives of its characters.

The movie is "Ichimai no Hagaki" (Post Card), directed by Kaneto Shindo and due for release on Aug. 6.

Being unable to openly say what they want changes the fate of the movie's characters.

As I followed the plot of the story, I was reminded of people who are still enduring a lack of freedom similar to that experienced by the Japanese during the war.

People are demonstrating against dictatorships in Arab countries such as Syria, where the secret police have a wide surveillance network.

A U.S. newspaper reported that a Syrian woman now living in the United States spotted her mother demonstrating in Syria in a video on the Internet.

When she telephoned her home in Syria, her father answered. He said, "Even though I told her not to go, your mother wouldn't stop going to the hospital."

Having been forced for many decades to lead a life in a place where walls have ears, Syrians are said to have acquired the habit of protecting themselves by speaking in code.

Compared with such a situation, people in Japan today--who are often misled by the "free" remarks of their leader--can be happy that they are free to tell him,"Quit soon."

(Jul. 28, 2011)

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