A few years ago an anti-choice website applauded one of my published articles. My article was called the Bravest Battle, and it was a satiric piece published in Today’s Parent magazine.
In it I claimed that large families are much more practical than small families, like the classic two kids two and a half years apart, the preferred option of many modern parents (including me).
I used my own family as an example of misguided child-centered parenting and sibling rivalry gone berzerker.
In the essay I also claimed that large families are easier to raise as the kids in big families "essentially raise themselves."
Today’s Parent didn’t normally publish satiric pieces, except at the back of the magazine.
And for good reason of course: they can be taken at face value. Misappropriated. That was a decade ago, but the offending mention is still there online and easily found if you enter my name "Dorothy Nixon" into Google. Ugh.
Now, just the other day, I noticed that someone in Afghanistan had downloaded Looking for Mrs. Peel, my script for a radio play about my grandmother's trials at Changi Internment Camp during WWII that I have posted on my website at www.tighsolas.ca/page745.html
Normally the people who search out this page are Britons looking up relations who had once been POWS, or Australian school children looking up Changi life and history, as that place looms large in Down Under's wartime mythology. But this person (who used the google.co.uk search engine) was looking up Double Tenth Interrogations.
I don't think in five years I've ever had a visitor from Afghanistan to my entire 700 page website.
And I certainly doubt it was a school kid checking out my play to read about strong, determined Colonial women in times of war.
Creepy, when all things are considered.
Were they looking for more tips? I had to wonder.
You see, the Double Tenth was a torture incident that unfolded at Changi Prison in Singapore on October 10, 1943. Civilian internees, mostly British, were accused of being spies and beaten, given electric shock, starved, set on fire, and even waterboarded. 17 men in all died, all European, although many Asians were also brutally tortured. 3 women were involved, one my grandmother, a feisty Kuala Lumpur Librarian from County Durham in England - and wife of a Yorkshire born rubber planter.
So I entered that search term "double tenth interrogations" once again into Google to see that the URL to my play at www.tighsolas.ca/page745.html comes up No. One of a number of posts on the topic.
Looking for Mrs. Peel uses my grandmother's first hand account to tell the women’s side of the Double Tenth Story.
I also referenced the non-fiction book The Trial of Sumida Haruzo, among other sources.
Here’s a quote from the opening speech by the Prosecution at that war crimes trial:
" The keynote of this whole case can be epitomized in two words: Unspeakable horror. Horror, stark and naked permeates every corner and angle of this case from beginning to end....
Hmm. Torture has been debated in the news for many years now, in the US and especially lately in the UK . It's become boring to most people, old news.
It is clear to me the modern torturers have nothing to learn from the Kempei Tai, the Japanese Gestapo as it were, many of whom were put to death for their 'heinous, despicable, inhumane actions' at the Double Tenth.
My grandmother was proud of the part she played in having Sumida Haruza, the head operative of the Kempeitai, executed. She wanted vengeance.
Funny, if you read the transcript of the trial, her testimony was used in a rather bizarre and extremely sexist manner. The prosecution described her as vindictive, "like most married women". Anything to get a conviction, I guess.
She wasn't there in person at the Singapore trial, in April 1946, to suffer Prosecution salt in her still raw wounds. She had delivered her testimony to a Commissioner of Oaths in Westminster in London in January.
Right after the war she had returned to England to recuperate, but she stayed only for a year. The winter of 1946 was a brutal one, especially in the North, so she chose to return to Malaya. Besides, her life’s work was there.
According to testimony in the Trial of Sumida Haruzo, waterboarding was the most evil of the torture techniques, if torture techniques can have a hierarchy.
Ironically, my grandmother's diary reveals that the Japanese in general were very lax with civilians internees at Changi, and even obliging at times. At least at the beginning, when they were winning the war in the Pacific.
My play is also available in pdf form at www.tighsolas.ca/page3.pdf.pdf.Four Days Inside Guantanamo was reviewed in The Guardian. Peter Bradshaw gives the documentary four stars. It is about Canadian Omar Khadr.