By Joshua Blakeney
A Korean academic, Park Yu-ha, has reportedly been indicted for libel by Korean authorities for a scholarly book she wrote which challenged the claim that Korean WWII comfort women were “sex slaves”. This comes only months after the Seoul Eastern District Court ordered the “deletion of parts of the book”, Comfort Women of the Empire: The Battle Over Colonial Rule and Memory, which portrays those Korean ladies who provided sexual services to Japanese soldiers during the War as having been run-of-the-mill prostitutes rather than women subjected to state-sanctioned sexual slavery.
Many Korean citizens have reportedly taken offence to the implicit allegation that Korean men stood idly by and watched Japanese soldiers barge into their homes and drag their womenfolk off to a life of sexual servitude during the 1930s and 40s. Several prominent Korean academics and journalists have thus joined Japanese intellectuals in critiquing the official historical discourse on this subject.
Park’s indictment comes just days after a German octogenarian, Ursula Haverbeck, was sentenced to ten months in prison without parole for claiming that the Auschwitz concentration camp was a labour camp rather than an extermination camp.
The “lawfare” waged against intellectuals who challenge fashionable historical interpretations of WWII is extremely conspicuous and will no doubt encourage free-thinking individuals to look skeptically into the sanctified subjects which they might otherwise not have been compelled to reevaluate.
Some skeptics believe that countries like Russia, Britain and the United States want to cover up their crimes, such as the rape of up to two million German women, during the War and thus have embellished and overemphasized the wrongdoings of the Axis forces.