Monday, 14 May 2012


This book has been in the news recently because Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth are here in Scotland to make the film based on the book.  The story is about one soldier’s battle to overcome his torture while a Japanese prisoner of war in World War II.

It is a book that had to be written; it is a book that should be read by everyone particularly people involved in conflict resolution, counseling, also people of all religions or none.  After five decades he pulls his life together.   As he says in the very last line: "Sometime the hating has to stop." I would go so far to say that founders of all the great religions must have reached this point, i.e. figures emerged at time propitious for ordinary people (of whatever culture) looking for a new way of thinking about how to get along together.

It is very well written ... yes, very traumatic ... but the way it resolves at the end (when he goes to Japan and Burma after 50 years to meet one of the Japanese men involved in his torture) helps to square the bigger picture in the drama of man's inhumanity to man.

The Telegraph (April 27, 2012) states:

"[They] will shortly start filming ... the true story of how Eric Lomax’s wife helped him overcome the trauma he suffered in Burma during the Second World War. Mrs Lomax set up a mission back to the Bridge on the River Kwai, where her husband confronted Nagase Takashi, the interpreter at his interrogations."

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Lomax mentions (page 236) Helen Bamber, Director of the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture.  He states "Helen entered Bergen-Belsen with the Allies at the age of nineteen in 1945, and stayed for two and half years." I am aware of this story of going into Bergen-Belsen at the end of the war.  I played the fiddle with a gentleman who arrived there in the back of an army lorry at around that time.  He was a shorthand writer and his job was to be in the room where the Camp Commandants were being interviewed.  These interrogations were the job of the  Judge Advocate General (the legal advisor for the Armed Forces).

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