HALL OF THE VICTIMS

by George Marsh
Six star hotel
where Skull Stack Street
meets Charnel Square

(All prose sections in the following are quoted from a catalogue entitled The Interpretive Words for the Memorial Hall of the Victims in Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders, written by Zhu Chengshan for the Memorial Hall Museum, Shuiximen Street, Nanjing, China)
 
After taking Nanjing on December 13, 1937, the Japanese troops, in flagrant disregard of international conventions, slaughtered over 300,000 disarmed Chinese soldiers and unarmed civilians during six weeks. Over 20,000 rapes and gang rapes occurred in the city. Most of the major massacres took place by the Yangtze, and over 100,000 corpses were thrown into the river.

Early plum blossoms
my life so easy
thanks be thanks be

The command of the 6th Division received an order that says, "Kill all Chinese, regardless of sex and age, and burn all houses." For details about the sites of massacres, visitors can press the button with the corresponding number.

The green man walks
and a thousand people cross
at the mass grave

Xia Shuqin: Her grandfather, grandmother, father, mother, two elder sisters and a younger sister were killed by Japanese soldiers. Her mother and two elder sisters were gang raped. Xia Shuqin was seven. She and her four year old sister were the only survivors. They lived for fourteen days beside the corpses on rice crusts left by their mother and cold water in the vat, until they were discovered by a neighbour.

My stiff joints
painful each morning
before coffee and croissant

The statue complex is called Catastrophe of the Ancient City. This stereoscopic granite sculpture is four meters in height, entitled "Call of the Mother."

martyrs
much larger than life
a blue winter sky
Harassed by sculpture
I turn to the long neat lines
of names, of names

These are photos of Japanese soldiers raping women which were found on Japanese captives.

My father a conchie
my mother a pacifist
could not see evil, perhaps

This is Mr. John Rabe, manager of the Nanjing branch of Siemens. He saved and aided over 200,000 Nanjing citizens. He repeatedly protested to the Japanese embassy over Japanese troops' atrocities and recorded them in his diary. The National Government of China awarded him a medal in red, blue and white.

Faintly through mist
distant voices
a colossal Pusa

This is Ms. Vautrin, an American missionary, who was teaching at Ginling College of Humanities and Science. She set up a refugee camp in the college, protecting over 9,000 women and children. She was likened by John Rabe to a hen guarding her chicks.

Prayer for the dead
incense smoke rises
in dense mist

She got serious melancholia from too much tension, which failed to be cured after she returned to America, where she gassed herself at home.

Temple of the Lord of Hell:
in a fantastical cauldron
naked people boiling

"Mass Grave of 10,000 Corpses": From here, people can see the cross section of the layers of the victims' remains. Part of the remains is incomplete and buried abnormally in chaos.

My photo of skulls
imperfectly focussed
and ill-composed

Remains No.5 is the skeleton of a 6 year old, with his skull on his chest, mandible and ribs around. It is attested that its head and neck had been apart before death.

Jumble of bones
silent skulls
the guard clockwatching

Remains No.8 is the skeleton of an old woman, with upper and lower mandibles apart. It is inferred that she had been choked in her oral cavity before burial... Remains No.114 is the skeleton of a young female, with a horizontal penetration of a nail in her skull.

The glamorous smiling Mrs. Li
Bullies the shopgirls and bargains hard;
She collects for career favours daily
With discreet credits on her loyalty card;
In the bar last night, annoyed
With her hand round the Black Label whiskey
She said, "Prostitutes should be destroyed!"
She has the mind for a killing spree.

Japan-China Friendship Association has organised some Japanese to Nanjing for planting trees every spring since 1986. They call this activity as "the green atonement."

Nanjing airport
thousands push their modern baggage
in wheelchairs

Let us remember one of the survivors Li Xiuying's words: "What we must remember is history, not hatred."

On the Duty Free screens
tall girls endlessly
clumping towards us

These flowers of peace hold the wish of peace and friendship between Chinese and Japanese people, and they bloom and seed year after year.

Flying with Orion
over Novosibirsk
lights in the wilderness

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