Distress crept up hard this week, and I’ve learned that no amount of preparation can match the psyche, blow for blow, when it comes to Rui’s abduction to and by Japan.
I cannot mourn him because that implies resignation. I am not now, nor will I allow myself the luxury of becoming resigned, nor will I let go, which leaves me only the options of intense psychic frustration, agonizing conflict, and sorrow too afflicting to find equivalent words. The abduction of Louis Prager is a criminal act that is on-going; but his abductors should not rest easy because their legacy is still not set, and the wheel is still spinning.
There is so much time that has been lost. The U.S. State Department, the Department of Justice, the Ministries of Justice and Foreign Affairs of Japan, have held their hands rather than seek justice for me and my son. Letters to O.C.I. have remained unanswered; and the U.S. Embassy in Japan is a bad joke that serves nothing but the interests of Japan’s chamber of commerce. Financiers in search of a fast buck and a source of future extraction of wealth in Asia can get a golf or tennis date with the Ambassador through their offices. But don’t expect the embassy to pursue a crime committed by a Japanese who has fled to Japan. Your embassy does not know, much less represent, you.
I have unfinished fragments of writing about the weather of this miserable event. 50 to 100 times since this past summer for the drawer notebook. I haven’t repressed grief, not yet, for any substantial amount of time, although repression might be a route to survival. It reminds me too much of the very social and psychological illness that led to my heart’s desire being flagrantly violated by my wife, by our “family” and “friends,”‘ by Japan as a people, and by the two national governments, Japanese and American. Grief is for the present; mourning is for the past. Rui’s kidnapping and the willful ignorance underlying it is a present-tense, on-going crime. No amount of suppression of information by the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. President and Secretary of State, nor of Japan’s government ministries will alter that. More on these topics will soon follow.
There are so many unfinished stories that need telling. The primary one now is the definitive and inexorable unfolding of government complicity and responsibility in the abduction of thousands of children from here, hundreds of thousands of children worldwide, and well over two million Japanese children within Japan, with the agency of the Japanese judiciary, the Ministries of Justice and Foreign Affairs, and the U.S. Department of State. All of these working together have denied the guarantees of security that children need; all are working together to subject children to this excess of victimization and the development of phobias and depressive illnesses that inevitably result.
Every day since Rui’s abduction, my thoughts range from right to left, up to down, an excruciating awareness of all that he is missing and all that he has been subjected to. It is unmerciful agony to face daily and nightly enslavement to my son’s absence, to the multitude of thoughts of how numerous appeals and challenges to his heart and mind could be addressed, right now in this very fleeing moment of time, knowing full well that what is being asked of him is to repress what he knows and stifle his natural hunger.
I’ve wondered how he would come to receive the imaginative worlds of forces seen and unseen that act in his life, in all our lives, and that I longed to convey to him. Why, I thought of asking him, do you not float up like those wispy white clouds up there where the birds are going? Why do iron filings splash and splay themselves in circular patterns in response to a magnet’s proximity? Why are the stones by the river smoothed, yet those up here above are jagged and sharp? Why do the chimpanzees and gorillas in the zoo look, act and respond so much like us, waving and smiling, begging, picking at each other’s hair? Can we talk to them? If we did, would they understand? And if the lions and other big cats could talk to us with their very different bodies, would we be able to understand them?
I know enough about the people who have stolen control of my son’s life that they are as lazy about questioning this world as they can possibly be. They are satisfied to see him smile at a sweet in a bakery, or to distract his hungry mind from thinking with an electronic gadget and flash of colored animation, because that is all they know. They haven’t the faintest idea of the volatility in Rui’s heart, or why the unrelieved hunger and division within him aren’t settled and satisfied by the distractions they provide. I know them; they are too dull to fit their expectations of him to his reality. His mother and aunt bawl him out , but it can’t avail him of his conflicts. They can’t be bothered to learn why this is undoubtedly occurring, or will occur again soon enough if he is not relieved of this betrayal and abduction of his identity and core feeling of who he is. A person can’t grow strong from a fracture, or wipe out a memory of self.
I know other parents now whose children have suffered the same fate as Rui. One child, a child of 13, ran away from home. Another sought shelter at a U.S. consulate, trying to escape to her father in the United States. Neither has yet earned the right to regain their lost, pined-for parents by Japanese lights. And their ages are double Rui’s.
Rui’s mother expects to be reimbursed by sending him to a school, to a psychologist perhaps, to a child care center, or to a children’s group. Reimbursement is the model of life to Rui’s kidnappers; pay in, pay out. But they will find that their understanding is exceeded, and Rui will be knee-deep in a psychological space they can neither understand nor respond to.
Today, Japan is on the verge of another disastrous round of ratifications of its system of child exploitation, mismanagement, bureaucratic convenience, and subsequent child abuse. The Hague Convention on Child Abduction will be signed by March or so; the courts will continue to defy the well-being of millions of children and deny joint custody to the children of divorced parents, continue to grant physical custody to child abductors - child abusers who act in the most unbearably aggressive fashion in order to secure their abusive regimes of control of children, denying the humanity of their own offspring.
Under the unimaginably ill-informed and indifferent belief that children require an end to their parent-child bond in cases of divorce in order to “reduce conflict” in the child between the divided parents, and to inflict a confused and inapplicable regime of “harmony” on children (with all the Confucian, neo-fascist implications intact), the Japanese will continue to divide parents from children and pretend that abduction is a form of custody resolution unless they are stopped.
The idea that children are better off divided from one parent in order to minimize conflict and create harmony for them is based on a purely fictive patriarchal projection out of the long-debunked tribalism of the past. It has its descendants in modern idiocies that tell us that Japanese have a different sense of taste in their mouths, or that the Japanese are a ‘race” of descendants of a mystic Royal Emperor of the moon, which imbues them with supernatural oneness, a kind of spiritualist bad joke in the 21st century.
Japanese courts, a compliant media and public now willfully reject mountains of evidence accrued over decades to the willful detriment of our children. The issue of parent-child attachment has been studied and studied and studied; the literature is voluminous and readily available. NO excuses for ignorance are acceptable. Separating child from loved parent has numerous bad consequences for the formation of children into healthy beings. It is traumatic and incomprehensible to them. It manufactures hopelessness, helplessness, intense fear, an inability to love, to share grief, to share feelings, an inability to be altruistic towards others, an aggressive, irrational defensiveness towards criticism, and a general sense of living in a drowning depth of situational hostility. People who declare that they believe in isolating children from their parent have uncritically bought into ignorance and stupidity in order to repress what we all know very well. The notion is nothing more than a fetish, manipulated to conceal attachment to a fantasy that allows the fantasists to elude reality. Japanese are no less capable of understanding this than we are; they just have to turn off the mind-massage first. We must not only challenge them, we must educate them. And we must defeat them.