If you can convince the [________] that your armies are bombing their cities and rendering their women and children homeless beggars -- those of them that are not transformed into "mutilated mud-fish", to borrow one of your own phrases --, if you can convince these victims that they are only being subjected to a benevolent treatment which will in the end "save" their nation, it will no longer be necessary for you to convince us of your country's noble intentions. Your righteous indignation against the "polluted people" who are burning their own cities and art treasures (and presumably bombing their own citizens) to malign your soldiers, reminds me of Napoleon's noble wrath when he marched into a deserted Moscow and watched its palaces in flames. I should have expected from you who are a poet at least that much of imagination to feel, to what inhuman despair a people must be reduced to willingly burn their own handiwork of years', indeed centuries', labour. And even as a good nationalist, do you seriously believe that the mountain of bleeding corpses and the wilderness of bombed and burnt cities that is every day widening between your two countries, is making it easier for your two peoples to stretch your hands in a clasp of ever-lasting good will?
Yes, I think it sounds a lot like Iraq, too. I'll put the answer in comments, or you can read the whole exchange.
The writer is Bengali writer and Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore and Japanese poet Noguchi Yonejiro. Tagore's rosy view of the Chinese Nationalists is rather undeserved, but his understanding of Japan's role in China is precise enough.
And yes, I think we may well be blundering down the same damned path.
I forgot to put the date here: it was 1938, the year after Japan had initiated full-scale military operations against China, including the infamous Nanjing Massacres.
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