The Bamboo Holocaust PDF Print E-mail

By Robert D. Wilson


the muffled cries
of a thousand herons . . .
humid wind

The irony, my using a genre of Japanese short form poetry, haibun, to write about the attempted genocide of the Filipino people by the Japanese Imperial Army during World War Two. Wars come and go, of course, hatred knows no boundaries; arrogance, no end. War can destroy a soldier's soul. I know, I fought in one. The atrocities, however, committed by the Japanese Army in the Philippines, were beyond evil. They were spawned by the prince of evil, defying reason, justification, or explanation. How could humans do what they did to fellow humans?

The Japanese Imperial Army wanted to destroy Manila, decapitate its spirit, and lay waste to a country whose people they deemed inferior. The Emperor of Japan was worshiped as a Shinto God. To Filipinos, he was Satin incarnate, a racist monster and sociopathic mass murderer, who approved the bayoneting of babies, the murder and torture of hundreds of thousand of children and adults, and sanctioned the enslavement of young Filipino women (married and unmarried, of legal age and those who weren't) forcing them to become comfort women (prostitutes), servicing the sexual needs of Japanese soldiers.

dry grass . . .
the laughter of a
heron's legs

Fly with me above the ashes of what was, on the wings of whisper, into a world free from robber barons posing as panda bears and playing cards acting like they don't want to play croquet with the Red Queen, but covertly do, craving deep down inside to follow the leader anywhere she wants to go, which is what the Imperial Army's soldiers did, many of them teenagers who didn't want to lose face, wanted to please their families, and got off on hurting people who weren't their mirrors. What was then, is the same now. War sucks, war ruins people, sculpts young men and women into Frankenstein monsters, and in their wakes, restless souls with dry grass dreams, tinder for nightmares that make horror movies look like child's play, whether or not the sun rises.