Another excerpt from my book “Red Jewel.”
Ted’s letter to Jim…..cont:
“For me Jim, Saipan represents not just a loss of my youthful exuberance
and innocence but also a loss of confidence and faith in the human
condition. Added to all of that, I lost some very good friends there,
one in particular. I almost lost the love of my life too, indirectly. You
see Jim, sadly, tragically, at such a young age, with the loss of my leg,
I became cynical about life itself, human nature and the limitless
capacity of my fellow human beings to inflict untold misery, cruelty
and suffering on one another. My heart became hardened.”
“Mother of God Ted, I am so sorry.”
“It is probably difficult for you to see this now but Saipan in those days
was a world of military fanaticism, of martial madness and of sheer
dread. At its very core life on Saipan was underscored by an oppressor
who ruled with the mindful and purposeful contempt for all that
was good and sacred in this world of ours. Honor, above all else, was
sacrosanct to them. Arrogance was a welcomed trait. Cruelty was
commonplace. Life was cheap. The military rulers of Saipan could
not understand compliance. Surrender was not in their lexicon. They
had no respect for a defeated or conquered people. Surrendering
without death was cowardice to them and was an anathema to their
code of conduct: their Bushido Code – or Bullshit Code as I called it.
Thus, the citizenry of Saipan, by their mere survival, had no human
rights in the eyes of their conquerors. They lived their lives under a
yoke of military oppression and disgust. Th ey were considered lowlife
and dogs by their military masters. Yet unquestionable loyalty to a
foreign deity was demanded of them. Allegiance and devotion were
expected to this foreign icon that was not of the spiritual form in the
traditional supernatural sense but of a human physical stature and
nature…in other words, their Emperor was considered a living gawd.”
“Unbelievable Ted. I never knew this.”
“The military presence that ruled Saipan in those days ruled by fear.
They were fanatical in their beliefs and demanded the same from the
Chamorro people and the Korean slave labor. To do otherwise meant
untold suffering or certain death. Not surprisingly Jim, over time, the
oppressed people of Saipan adapted and became dependant (sic) upon the
military dictatorship for their subsistence, for their security, for their
survival. Ultimately, they were brainwashed. They were brainwashed
into thinking that their military masters had their best interests at
heart. But they were also brainwashed against the very people who
were committed to their liberation and freedom. Us! Consequently Jim,
it was very difficult for us as liberators to undermine their mistrust of
us and of everything that America stood for.
“Sitting with you, drinking Oly’s and chit chatting on those
numerous afternoons at the Ala Wai, was very enjoyable for me Jim
and I do not begrudge those moments for a minute.
“The war in the Pacific was an American war, not Canadian. Canada’s war was the European war.
Jim smiled at that memory.
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