Thursday, May 31, 2012

Let's Build a Living Monument


I have been, as you know, researching and writing about Filipina "Comfort Women," since 1998.  Every time I talk about them, I never fail to mention that they were among 200,000 women and girls all over Asia.  Perhaps the drive that most Koreans feel to fight for their "Comfort Women" has galvanized their community and made their voices so loud and strong, Korean "Comfort Women" are the ones most known to the public, but they are among the 200,000 and too often the other communities (many who have been silent out of not knowing or because of cultural shame) go unnoticed.  Now Japan, seizing this opportunity, is hoping to isolate the issue between the two countries.  In this way, they begin to erase the past.  It’s no longer a crime against humanity then – it’s an issue between Japan and Korea.  But that’s not true and we all know it.  And as the monument stands in Palisades Park, New Jersey, and the plan to name a street in Flushing, New York becomes real, the Japanese government grows “irritated.” 

To this end, I am hoping to gather as many artists as I can who are working on this issue to draw and paint, and write and speak the stories of all women who have suffered this injustice.  Because no matter what their nationality, those women are our women.  Are the women who we become and who our daughters grow to be.  Of course, this is how humanity works.  The past is a seed that we plant in our bodies, our minds and spirits and how we live, how we treat each other and how we learn from our past determines who we are.

Anyway, that's my drive on this project and I welcome each of you to join me.  Right now I am helping Sean Kim in LA curate an exhibit by reaching out to the Filipino/Filipino American community.  I am also supporting Chejin Park and his community as he works to create an exhibit in DC.  But I am also gathering as many interested artists and writers as I can because I would like to make a living monument.  Built on our breath and drawn on the stories of the “Comfort Women” of WWII.  Yes, my Lolas of LILA Pilipina, but all the women -- the Dutch, the Indonesian, the Chinese, Australians, the Koreans and even the Japanese.

Please share this with your artists, musicians, your writers and poets.  Share with yourselves.  Dream the pieces into reality.  I am interested in honoring our past.


Write me: mevelinag@yahoo.com



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