Seediq Bale

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Re: Seediq Bale

Postby Bu Lai En » 24 Sep 2011, 21:20

finley wrote:This is not to suggest, of course, that the Japanese were much "better" than the Seediq, or that the Spaniards any better than the Aztec, or the English any better than (some tribes of) native Americans - but in each of those cases, the invading armies showed little respect for native lives because the natives themselves had little respect for their own.


That's laughably ridiculous.

I also disagree with the idea that an honour code, makes a civilization or its armies better. No matter if you're looking at 'chivalric' medieval knights, samurai, or modern professional armies, an honour code is a mere fiction invented to justify the actions of societies who have made warfare a regular and 'noble' part of their cultures. Study of history shows that these honour codes arose in the wake of the dominance of elite warrior castes, and were blatantly ignored (largely fictitious) anyway. Medieval 'chivalric' knights, samurai, and armies in World War 2, still butchered civilian populations - men, women and children - despite chivalry, honour codes or Geneva Conventions. In fact, as we know these are the very societies that managed to raise the wholesale slaughter of fellow humans to unprecedented levels.

Compare 'barbarian' tribes fighting for their existence. It makes pefect sense that if you're fighting for survival you send in every man, woman and child you have to kill every man, woman and child you can of the enemy, by any means at your disposal. It may seem barbaric to us, but it makes perfect sense in an historical context, and in the long run, is far less barbaric than the 'civilized' killing carried out by the so-called 'honourable' socities.
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Re: Seediq Bale

Postby Amasashi » 24 Sep 2011, 21:59

finley wrote:
Cultures are inherently different; you can't simply judge one culture using another's standards.


I disagree. Cultural relativism might be a good tool for anthropological study, but I believe it is possible to say one culture is inherently "better" than another (as long as you're talking about some reasonably well-defined aspect, obviously).

If you want to get all anthropological or sociological about it, then cultures are defined as different but equal. No one culture is better than another.

Civilizations, on the other hand, can be compared and ranked.

Now cultures lead to civilizations, so it's easy to confuse the two, but they are different terms.

Let me give you an example. All people are equal. We can all agree on that (I hope). A bunch of people living together will create a city. Cities, however, are NOT equal, despite the fact that they are comprised of people who ARE equal. Kind of see what I'm saying?

Back to the point about killing the school teacher. Yes, I agree, there should be rules regarding the murdering of innocent victims during times of war. But Seediq Bale was not a war; it was a rebellion against oppression. And for the children, the oppression came from their teachers who beat them for being stupid, for being smart, for winning a contest against a Japanese kid, for wearing their ancestral clothes, for speaking their native tongue at school, for refusing to swear their allegiance to Japan, you name it. So while I don't necessarily agree with the killing, I certainly do understand it.
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Re: Seediq Bale

Postby finley » 24 Sep 2011, 22:12

Bu Lai En: it's true that those codes are often ignored, but the fact that they exist at all acts as a brake on the worst excesses. When breaches do occur, the do at least register as breaches and cause shame to those involved. And I wasn't thinking of "chivalry", either in the west or in pre-war Japan, which was indeed just a ritualisation of violence. I was referring to the basic understanding that war is "politics by other means", and is fought between armies, not between peoples. And obviously those codes don't make war any less disgusting, or less likely to happen - I never said that. What they do is ensure the genetic survival of the societies involved, and they minimize (NOT eliminate!) the depth of psychological trauma involved. That's about the best that can be expected.

An interesting example was the behaviour of Russian soldiers during WW2, who were famous for their shocking behaviour (in some instances as bad or worse than the Japanese). The Russians, at that point in history, were a traumatized people. Many of the traditional social restraints on (for example) murder and torture had been removed by the Revolution and its aftermath. A counterpoint might be the behaviour of the British in colonial India, who were racist and treated the Indians as inferiors and slaves, but outright cruelty and abuse was (relatively) rare, despite the fact that they could (in theory) do what the hell they wanted with impunity. The only restraint was the British social code that said certain things are simply "not done".

It's also important to stress that the Seediq were most emphatically NOT "fighting for survival". They were kicking back against the petty - and relatively minor - cruelties of occupation and exploitation. They sat around moaning about how they were "losing their culture" but I couldn't figure out what aspect, precisely, they were most bothered about; they didn't seem to have a culture to lose. They didn't seem too worried, for example, about the Japanese trashing their environment and carting off all the trees (although I guess they didn't comprehend the scale of it). Ultimately, they could have survived with culture and gene pool more-or-less intact by simply disengaging from the Japanese (as far as possible) and keeping a low profile - which is exactly what Mauna tried to convince everyone to do. The Japanese were using them as unpaid labour and no doubt meting out arbitrary "justice" (I was surprised how little of that was depicted in the movie), but generally speaking, the Japanese occupiers just wanted a quiet life.

It makes pefect sense that if you're fighting for survival you send in every man, woman and child you have to kill every man, woman and child you can of the enemy, by any means at your disposal. It may seem barbaric to us, but it makes perfect sense in an historical context, and in the long run, is far less barbaric than the 'civilized' killing carried out by the so-called 'honourable' socities.


I understand your point, and yes, in extremis, you're right. But that wasn't the situation here; more importantly, it could not have worked. The outcome (genocide) was completely predictable. And examine your reasoning from the Japanese point of view: although they were the invading group, the massacre confirmed their view that the Seediq were barbarians, and therefore the only logical response was a barbaric one.
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Re: Seediq Bale

Postby finley » 24 Sep 2011, 22:30

Amasashi wrote:If you want to get all anthropological or sociological about it, then cultures are defined as different but equal. No one culture is better than another.

Civilizations, on the other hand, can be compared and ranked.

Now cultures lead to civilizations, so it's easy to confuse the two, but they are different terms.

Let me give you an example. All people are equal. We can all agree on that (I hope). A bunch of people living together will create a city. Cities, however, are NOT equal, despite the fact that they are comprised of people who ARE equal. Kind of see what I'm saying?


I don't follow you at all. Firstly, "defined" by whom? I don't accept that cultures are "different but equal", nor do I accept that culture can be logically separated from civilisation. You haven't given an explanation either for the distinction, or for the axiomatic assumption of equality. All people are not "equal". They are all genetically different. A rottweiler is different to a poodle, on various different dimensions (yeah, I know, they were artificially bred that way, but humans do similar things to themselves). Among any given population, some people are cleverer, taller, more aggressive, more able to interact socially with their fellows, etc etc. There will also be genetic similarity within a population that distinguishes it from other populations. Now, a culture that favours highly aggressive behaviour (for whatever reason) is demonstrably inferior to one that values social skills because it is unlikely to survive for long: firstly, it will be unable to create an intellectual warrior class capable of producing advanced weapons and strategies; secondly, it will frighten other societies who will, out of perceived necessity, attack it. Since they have inferior fighting skills - despite being more aggressive - they will be wiped out. The culture that values social skills will most likely prosper immensely because it will be adept at either exploiting other cultures, or forming alliances with them and within itself. Cities are not equal because the people who build them are not equal. Likewise with civilisations.


Amasashi wrote:Back to the point about killing the school teacher. Yes, I agree, there should be rules regarding the murdering of innocent victims during times of war. But Seediq Bale was not a war; it was a rebellion against oppression. And for the children, the oppression came from their teachers who beat them for being stupid, for being smart, for winning a contest against a Japanese kid, for wearing their ancestral clothes, for speaking their native tongue at school, for refusing to swear their allegiance to Japan, you name it. So while I don't necessarily agree with the killing, I certainly do understand it.

Are you seriously suggesting that murdering a child because he/she bullied you is "understandable?". And what difference does it makes whether you use the word "war" or "oppression"? I know western nations like to invoke legal mumbo-jumbo to avoid their obligations (by not actually declaring war before going off to kill people, for example) but that's a relatively recent development and a perversion of the original intent. By your logic, the hairbrained Japanese guy who got beaten up was justified in calling in the troops to kill everyone for being mean to him. A large part of civilisation (or culture, or whatever you want to call it) is learning how and when to rein it in.
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Re: Seediq Bale

Postby Charlie Phillips » 24 Sep 2011, 22:50

finley wrote:It's also important to stress that the Seediq were most emphatically NOT "fighting for survival". They were kicking back against the petty - and relatively minor - cruelties of occupation and exploitation. They could have survived quite happily by simply disengaging from the Japanese (as far as possible) and keeping a low profile - which is exactly what Mauna tried to convince everyone to do. The Japanese were using them as unpaid labour and no doubt meting out arbitrary "justice" (I was surprised how little of that was depicted in the movie), but generally speaking, the Japanese occupiers just wanted a quiet life.

......

And examine your reasoning from the Japanese point of view: although they were the invading group, the massacre confirmed their view that the Seediq were barbarians, and therefore the only logical response was a barbaric one.


I hope I'm not taking your quotes out of context by pointing out the contradictions in your statements here. You claim the invaded had some choice in the matter and could have disengaged and kept a low profile, while the invaders just wanted a quiet life.

I'm quite sure the invaded just wanted a quiet life, and if the invaders wanted a quiet life, they would've just stayed home and enjoyed the sushi, sake and making love with their missus in Japan.
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Re: Seediq Bale

Postby tommy525 » 24 Sep 2011, 23:02

The USA is known as a "champion of human rights country" and likes to think of itself as a knight in white armor. But we did use the atom bombs and they killed women and children, old and infirm, those in hospitals, babies in CITIES. We didnt throw one or two in the ocean to show them what could happen. We threw it at them , at CITIES, not factories or army bases. Did we not know there would be babies and kids and women there? Sure we did. But WW2 was no picnic on any side. The germans bombed London. The brits bombed german cities. Were there no women and children in those cities? No "innocents" ?

Honor codes make great King Arthur movies but history has shown that actually it didnt much exist.

The aboriginals WERE barbarians . There were bloody head hunters ! They were as barbaric as many indians in the USA who likes scalping people.


The japanese while perhaps not barbaric were pretty sadistic in WW2. Germans were not barbarian but were pretty sadistic in WW2.

Sadists against Barbarians is what we had.

(different topic but I think the American indians are related to Taiwanese aborigines)
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Re: Seediq Bale

Postby finley » 24 Sep 2011, 23:35

You claim the invaded had some choice in the matter and could have disengaged and kept a low profile, while the invaders just wanted a quiet life.

There is nearly always a choice. It might not be an especially palatable choice, but there often is one. Mauna was the evangelist for (one of) the other choices, at least until he was backed into a corner. Like I said, the "other" choice is the one the Japanese wisely took, after being bombed into the stone age and occupied by the USA.

if the invaders wanted a quiet life, they would've just stayed home and enjoyed the sushi, sake and making love with their missus in Japan.

I was thinking mainly of the colonists - the ordinary workers, the women and children - rather than the soldiers. The occupation was a long one. There was plenty of opportunity for the two cultures to make the best of a bad situation.

Sadists against Barbarians is what we had.

Thanks, that was a bit more succinct than my rambling ;)

As for the USA and the atomic bombings - I guess that's a whole other thread. If you read the history about that (what isn't still secret or hasn't been doctored) there are all sorts of shades of grey in there. There were apparently some in the White House who specifically argued for targeting civilians. Likewise with (for example) the firebombing of Dresden, which is now widely acknowledged as a war crime. I'll say it again: codes and mores don't prevent this stuff happening, but they reduce the impact from "catastrophic" to "survivable".

different topic but I think the American indians are related to Taiwanese aborigines

Is that so, or are you just wondering? I've wondered that myself but have no idea if anyone's come up with a proven link.
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Re: Seediq Bale

Postby Tempo Gain » 25 Sep 2011, 02:59

finley wrote:
different topic but I think the American indians are related to Taiwanese aborigines


Is that so, or are you just wondering? I've wondered that myself but have no idea if anyone's come up with a proven link.


Only in as much as they're both basically Asian. The American Indians came out of Siberia. It's pretty clear that the Taiwan aborigines are the root of the Polynesian peoples though.

I can't wait to see this one personally, though I'll hold out for the DVD. Japanese meet Aborigines. What do one side have to be saints? This thread has made this way more complicated than it really is. :2cents:
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Re: Seediq Bale

Postby Dougster » 25 Sep 2011, 03:23

This thread is getting seriously politicized. I will hold my judgement until I see the english subtitles screening.
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Re: Seediq Bale

Postby Dougster » 25 Sep 2011, 03:24

This thread is getting seriously politicized. I will hold my judgement until I see the english subtitles screening.
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