Listen with humility to the pain of others

Kyoko Morgan, Clovelly

Having read the article about the diversity training saga at Fish Hoek High School (“Furore after diversity training at Fish Hoek High School,” Echo November 10), I tried to understand why this caused so much uproar in our valley and what I can learn from it.

I thought about my experiences of being Japanese. Japanese civilians were massacred by America with two atomic bombs in World War II.

We have been taught this extensively at school and keep commemorating the days when the bombs were dropped. Every year, we pray for peace so that this may never happen again to us or anyone else in the world.

On the contrary, what we were not taught well, in my generation at least, are the Nanjing Massacre and atrocities that were committed by the Imperial Japanese Army. We learnt the facts in textbooks but were not given the opportunity to hear painful stories from the other side.

As a country and individuals, we remember our trauma, but we are often not aware of the trauma we caused to others unless the victims speak up about their experiences.

And it is often years later, even generations later, that the victims are able to speak up because speaking about painful stories can be traumatising, especially when rejected.

I took time to read and watch videos about the Nanjing Massacre prompted by this incident in our valley. I feel truly ashamed and sorry for what my forefathers did to other people.

There is nothing much I can do now about the past, but I believe it helps me to listen to others with humility, and this will change our future.