When I was travelling to Adelaide a little under a week ago, the movie they showed on board the bus was “The Railway Man” – a movie that I’d heard about and seen snippets of. I got the impression that it was about a man obsessed with the railways and focussed on rants that reminded me of the meltdowns of an Autistic. So I didn’t really pay it much heed.
But I couldn’t help but see the subtitles which had been activated while I was listening to my MP3 player, and I noticed that I was wrong about the rant part. Yes, the title character was a railway enthusiast but this was about something else railway related – the Burma Railway during World War 2.
The rants came from the title character’s inability to cope with what he’d been put through. It’s well known in history how incredibly cruel the Japanese were to Allied prisoners of war in general, and the Burma Railway was one of the most infamous. But what got my attention was when the title character returned to Burma in the day the film was set – the early 1980’s. He met with one of the officers who was a part of the torture, and after an army buddy of his had committed suicide the intent was to return the torture. Tit for tat.
But he didn’t do it – at least, not to the extent that had been done to him. The Japanese officer revealed throughout that ordeal that the old order of the Japanese army during the war was that it wasn’t manly to avoid death in war. At the time the Japanese couldn’t understand why the Allied personnel didn’t have the attitude of preferring to die than talk. It was narrow minded and culturally bigoted. We all know that to this day the Japanese government have never apologised for it. They prefer now to just shelve it and forget it.
But this officer didn’t. He apologised, and most profusely as well by letter after the return ordeal. The result was that the two men became good friends. True story.
Now why am I talking about this here? Simple – honour.
When I was fighting the anti vaccine proponents on Twitter a number of times I came right out and told the mothers who were preaching this nonsense that they were neglecting the children. Yes, harsh I know – and in fact a few immediately accused me of cruelty. This was especially the case when I linked my Autism/Vaccine blog entry about the suicide of James Bradstreet, and I was totally jumped on by two people in particular for said cruelty.
But I see myself as being in the same position as Colin Firth’s character in the movie. Now I’m not claiming for a moment that I’ve been treated as badly as the Japanese treated the POW’s. Heck no! But I have been treated badly for no honourable reason – and I’m not the only one when it comes to the Autistic Spectrum. Autism is feared, and the fools who treat us so badly as a result of this don’t know what damage they are doing – and worse they don’t care. The Japanese didn’t either at the time. Neither did the Germans for the record, and that’s why it’s valid to compare our treatment to what happened to the Jews during the Holocaust – genocide. What the Japanese were doing wasn’t genocide, but it was the same level of cruelty.
So this is the way that it is. I fight the honourable fight. I play tit for tat, but I don’t go as far as I probably would be justified in doing. That’s not right. It’s why I got upset with myself on the two occasions in my life when I forgot that rule for long enough to do the wrong thing – 1999 on the Gold Coast and 2013 in Ballarat. Now I’ll make this clear – both incidents were provoked by the other party, and the second provocation was intentional. Brock Lesnar in WWE has his 11th Commandment; Thou shalt not intentionally provoke Brock Lesnar. I have my own Commandment and it’s almost the same. Don’t intentionally provoke me. I won’t let it rest without vindication. I have that vindication with Paris Tenana, John Best Junior and Oliver Canby. All three of them are silent – Tenana lock stock and barrel and Best and Canby from Blogger (at least in the case of Canby).
I will continue to fight the honourable fight. I have the right to be me. No one has the right to be cruel to another human being unless provoked and even then that reprisal must be measured and most importantly not illegal. With those two exceptions, that is what I have done and will continue to do.