(Economist 2004) Iris Chang, chronicler of a massacre, died on November 9th, aged 36 大屠杀记录者张纯如于11月9日逝世,年仅36岁

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November 9, 2012 by Water Wisdom

http://www.economist.com/node/3423136

Obituary
讣闻

Iris Chang
张纯如

Iris Chang, chronicler of a massacre, died on November 9th, aged 36
大屠杀记录者张纯如于11月9日逝世,年仅36岁

Nov 25th 2004 |

AMONG the many issues that bedevil relations between China and Japan, the most intractable occurred almost 70 years ago. In 1937 around 50,000 Japanese troops descended on Nanking, China’s former capital, and took charge there. What happened next is a matter of lasting controversy. The Chinese say that more than 300,000 civilians were killed, and 80,000 girls and women raped. The Japanese divide into different schools of thought. At one extreme, the “Great Illusion” school argues that almost no civilians were killed, and that most of the deaths were legal killings of soldiers in plain clothes. At the other, the “Great Massacre” school thinks as many as 200,000 Chinese may have died. Scholars on both sides continue to revile each other either as Japan-bashers, or as apologists for imperialism.

在造成中日两国关系困局的诸多问题中,最为棘手的发生在近70年前。1937年,约5万日军突袭并占领了中国前首都南京。接下来发生的事情一直存在争议。中国方面说有超过30万平民被杀,8万名女性遭到强奸。日本方面则因意见不同分为不同派别。其中的一个极端派别——“大假象”派认为几乎没有平民被杀,且杀死的大多数是穿着便装的士兵,是合法的;另一个极端派别——“大屠杀”派则认为多达20万中国人被杀。两派学者们不断恶语相向,称对方为“专门攻击日本的家伙”和“帝国主义的辩护者”。

In Japan, the Nanking “Incident”—still too controversial even to have a settled name—is central to a wider debate about history teaching in Japanese schools. In China, it is crucial to the nation’s modern identity. After the war, the atrocity was played down: Japan, seared by Hiroshima and Nagasaki, was seen as a victim nation, not as an aggressor, and the Americans were keen to cultivate it as a counterweight to dangerous Red China. To deny the Chinese version of Nanking, therefore, is to continue to gang up on China and to stifle its account of history.

在日本,南京“事件”(依然极富争议,以至于竟无法为之定名)是日本学校历史教学争论的焦点。在中国,这一“事件”对于国家现代身份认同至关重要。战后,日军在南京的暴行被淡化了:日本的广岛和长崎被夷为平地,本来是侵略者的日本反而被当成了受害者;美国人也急于扶植日本,用以跟危险的红色中国抗衡。因此,否认中国版的南京历史,就是结伙攻击中国、竭力掩盖中国历史记载。

Into this maelstrom of nationalist pride and pain stepped, in the 1990s, a 29-year-old Chinese-American. Iris Chang was not an historian by training. She had studied journalism at the University of Illinois, then taken a master’s in science writing, and had worked for a while on the Chicago Tribune. Her interest in Nanking was aroused incidentally, by hearing her grandparents talk about it. Like many others, they had fled the city before the Japanese arrived; what they knew was hearsay. But it was sufficiently terrible for Miss Chang to spend a day “walking around in a state of shock”, before deciding to devote herself to making the massacre known.

上世纪90年代,29岁的华裔张纯如卷入了这个关乎民族尊严和苦痛的漩涡。她并非历史科班出身,先是在伊利诺斯大学学习新闻学,然后取得科技写作的硕士学位,并在《芝加哥论坛报》工作过一段时间。偶然间听到祖父母的谈起南京,这激发了她的兴趣。像许多人一样,张纯如的祖父母在日本人进攻南京之前就逃离了那里。他们了解的一些东西也是道听途说。张纯如在一天的时间里“踱来踱去,震惊不已”,因为祖父母说的那些东西实在是太可怕了。然后她决定致力于将大屠杀的历史公之于众。

For two years she did research in China, rifling the archives and talking to survivors. She pinned a map of Nanking on her study wall, covering it with pictures of tortures and killing in the places where they had happened. Some civilians had been mutilated with broken beer bottles, some impaled on bamboo. Women’s breasts had been cut off and nailed to walls. The Japanese killed so many men that they found it quicker to bayonet them as they stood in a line, rather than behead them.

在中国,张纯如遍搜档案、走访大屠杀幸存者,做了两年的调查研究。她在书房的墙壁上钉上南京的地图,在那些曾经发生过拷问和杀戮的地方附上图片。一些平民被破碎的啤酒瓶切断手足,一些人则被竹子刺穿。妇女的乳房被切掉然后钉在墙上。日本人杀人多了,发现将人排成一排进行刺杀要比砍头更快。

As the grim stories accumulated, Miss Chang lost weight and broke down. She went on, defying exhaustion. When her book on Nanking came out, in 1997, she spent a year on the road talking about it. More than half a million copies were sold in America alone; she became a celebrity, leaving audiences astonished that this pretty, smiling girl could tell such tales of horror. But she did not care, she said, whether she made a cent from it. All she wanted to do was get the story out.

随着她收集的令人毛骨悚然的事实越来越多,张纯如的体重开始下降、精神崩溃。但她不畏疲倦,一如既往。1997年,当她关于南京的书问世后,她花了一年的时间四处奔走为其宣传,单是美国就卖出了50万册。她成了名人。一个微笑着的美丽女孩竟能描述那么多恐怖的场景,读者们无不表示震惊。张纯如说,即便无法从中赚取分毫,她毫不在意。她所要的,就是把这段历史告诉大家。

Facing the ambassador
直面大使

“Proper” historians cavilled, and with some reason. Her book, several said, was too polemical, and was riddled with mistakes which she refused to correct. Her reliance on oral history, especially the fading memories of Chinese witnesses, was unwise. Even her use of the invaluable diaries of foreign “bystanders” in Nanking was suspect, for these people—who had organised a “safety zone” both for foreigners and Chinese—had no idea of the actual numbers killed. When her book was translated into Japanese, supporters of the Great Massacre school found they could not defend her figures, which were higher even than those claimed in China.

由于某种原因,“真正的”历史学家对她的书吹毛求疵。许多人说她的书抨击意味太浓,充斥许多她拒绝更正的错误。说她依靠口述历史——尤其是中国见证者日渐衰退的记忆——并不明智。甚至她使用外国“目击者们”极其珍贵的日记也饱受质疑——因为那些为外国人和中国人建立“安全区”的“目击者”们对受害者的确切数字也不清楚。当这本书被翻译为日文时,“大屠杀”派的支持者发现他们无法为张纯如的数据辩护,因为这些数字甚至比中国声称的还高。

Miss Chang could not bear this nit-picking. A great injustice had occurred, and had been all but covered up. There was no doubt at all that it had happened, with immense human suffering. She had no time for semantics: whether to include deaths outside the city walls, whether the plain-clothes soldiers had been billeted with civilians, and so on. What she wanted, at the very least, was an official Japanese apology. Face to face on television with the Japanese ambassador to America, she demanded one. When he muttered that there had been “perhaps some unfortunate incidents”, she was outraged.

张纯如对这种挑剔无法容忍。天大的不公曾经发生了,却几乎被掩盖了,但毫无疑问事情发生了——无数生灵涂炭。她没有时间去咬文嚼字:什么包括不包括城墙外的死亡人数啊,什么穿便装的士兵们混在平民中啊,等等。她所想要的,最起码就是日本的官方道歉。在与到访美国的日本大使面对面的电视节目上,她作出了这样的要求。当日本大使咕哝说历史上“可能有一些不幸的事件”时,她出离愤怒。

When she died—apparently by shooting herself in the head, on a rural road in California—she had started work on a book on the Bataan Death March and the abuse of American prisoners-of-war by the Japanese. Again, the stories were affecting her: she had been taken to hospital, suffering from depression.

在她离世之时——似乎是在加州乡间公路上朝头部开枪自杀——她已开始着手写一本关于巴丹死亡行军和日本人虐待美国战俘的书。那些故事再一次影响了她:她因患上抑郁症而被送往医院。

She had been planning, too, to publish the diaries of Minnie Vautrin, an American missionary in Nanking during the massacre. Vautrin, like her, came from Illinois. She had saved thousands of Chinese civilians from the Japanese, sometimes giving them her own last ration of rice. In 1941, however, a year to the day after leaving Nanking, she had committed suicide, convinced that she had done too little.

她也曾计划出版明妮·魏特琳的日记。明妮·魏特琳在大屠杀期间是南京的一位美国传教士,与张纯如同毕业于伊利诺斯大学,她从日本人手中解救了无数中国平民,有时把自己最后的口粮都给了他们。然而就在1941年,也就是魏特琳离开南京后的一年,她自杀了——为自己在屠杀期间力不从心而自责。

Friends wondered whether Miss Chang had felt the same. This was certainly likely. But she was also aware that her writings had played into the hands of the massacre’s deniers: that she had perhaps not only done too little, but protested too much.

朋友们怀疑张纯如与明妮·魏特琳有着相似的感受。的确有这种可能。不过她也意识到自己的作品已正中大屠杀否认者们的下怀。她可能不只是做的太少了,还有可能是抗议太多了。

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