Before I transcribe my next installment of my Shanghai journal, I just want to say HAAAA! The Yankees got SWEPT! Blown away! By the Detroit Tigers in four games!

Oh how I laughed when that smug-faced A-Rod grounded out in the ninth inning! He’d worked the count 3 and 1, he knew he could only expect a screamer right down the pipe! (the middle of the plate) He got it! And he GROUNDED OUT!





Now back to my Shanghai Journal…

Nanjing is a city of scholars.

I loved the feel of the place!

About 2 months ago, in order to prepare for the trip, my husband ordered a set of DVD lecture tapes from some institute of learning. It was called from Yao to Mao and basically covered about five thousand years of Chinese history.

I got through the Yao bit, but unfortunately was so incredibly busy trying to wrap up business stuff and prepare the home, didn’t have time to get through the rest.

But you know how over the years you hear snippets of things, oblique references to events and stuff and one of the things I’d heard of was the ‘rape of Nanking’. I knew it happened some time during World War II.

Several years ago there was a huge ruckus over some scholar in humanities who proposed a connection–a physiological connection–between genital size and aggression in males.

His hypothesis was that Asian males tend to have smaller genitalia and he said, as a result, they tended to be less aggressive.

People were right, I think, to call him out for the blatant racism of assuming Asian stereotypes of being passive.

Honestly the guy was an idiot.

Anyone who knows an iota of Asian history is fully aware of the brutality and atrocitites that all men are capable of.

And not just Asian men.

Every civilization on the face of the earth seems to have taken advantage of moments when they had the power to wreak vengeance on their enemies and Asian people are no exception.

Nanjing is testament to that.

It used to be capital of many dynasties including the first emperor of the Ming Dynasty. He was born a beggar! But he was really a good fighter and eventually won the hand of one of the princesses at the time (who was also ambitious and a good diplomat).

He chose Nanjing as his capital and built a ‘forbidden city’ complex along the lines of the famous one in Beijing.

He decided to fortify his capital with a city wall and he commissioned a LOT of workers to make the bricks, lay the bricks and supervise. On each of the bricks is recorded the name of the person who made the brick, the one who lay it and the one who supervised it, and the Ming emperor vowed that if the brick failed he would not only kill the person who was responsible for making, laying and supervising that particular brick, he’d also kill their whole families.

Needless to say the wall was built VERY well! (See one of the bricks below!)

It stood for centuries until Japan invaded and breached the fortifications. They lay siege to the desperate Chinese city and as the people of Nanjing ran out of food and the defending soldiers ran out of bullets, the end drew near.

The Japanese blew great holes in the wall and slaughtered about half the population of the city, either 50 or 500,000 and lots of children.

They called it the rape of Nanking and to this day the Japanese refuse to acknowledge the atrocity their troops committed in the same way that the Turkish government refuses to acknowledge the Armenian holocaust and so on and so on down through the generations.

The Chinese and Japanese are no different than any other people who’ve done things to be ashamed of and the older I get the more I’m learning to expect such things.

I always thought we’re a lot like billiard balls on a vast pool table. Some unknown hand wielding a cue propels us in our initial direction, then we bounce off the sides of the pool table and off various other billiard balls to find our path in life.

And sometimes I wonder if my determination not to be a bully in any way isn’t partially a result of all the bullying I suffered.

There’s a hadith qudsi (a saying of God in the words of the Prophet (peace be upon him) that reminds me of this. Where God basically says that He has made oppression forbidden for Himself and He forbids it to all of us. He warns us so many times not to transgress all bounds. That is there are limits to what is acceptable.

The moment you find yourself in a position of power is precisely the moment you should remind yourself, forbid yourself from committing oppression, lest you commit any atrocities you’d be ashamed to admit to later.

Here’s a brick in the Nanjing wall. You can see the names of the brick maker, layer and supervisor carved into it.