Saturday, August 14, 2010

Le Pen, European Nationalists Visit Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine to Honor Dead

On August 14, 2010, a bizarre thing happened. A group of European nationalists, including Jean-Marie Le Pen, visited the Yasukuni shrine in Japan. Luckily, their visit to Yasukuni didn’t set off the diplomatic firestorm that occurs when Japanese prime ministers visit the shrine. Yasukuni is controversial because it holds the remains of a group of war criminals. South Korea and China hate it when Japanese politicians go to Yasukuni. They say those visits show that Japan has a favorable view of the actions of the individuals enshrined at that place.

To understand why a group of European nationalists would visit Yasukuni, you need to remember what was going on at the time. We were all debating whether or not we should inform the public the truth. By going to Yasukuni, those European nationalists were in effect saying that the public should not be told the truth. They were saying, each country deserves to have its own myths, its own lies, and its own view of history because that makes its citizens feel better about themselves.

Lying about history may make some people feel better about themselves, but that doesn’t mean it is the right thing to do. Lying about history allows the same countries to do the same things over and over again and it allows the people in power to avoid accountability. This will not stand.

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