Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Japanese Gas Attack
I'm nearly finished Murakami's Underground, about the poison gas attack on the Toyko subway system in 1995. It's mesmerising, but also deeply upsetting and unsettling. The Aum cult was based on a form of Vajrayana Buddhism which 'speeds up' awakening or enlightenment through various practices. That means the people in the cult were supposedly dedicated to a philosophy and spiritual path which cherishes life. Instead, the cult deteriorated into weapon stockpiling, poison gas manufacture, mind control through drug use, imprisonment and torture of dissidents, and finally murder and terrorism. When reading Murakami, you get the sense that the truth has not been fully revealed. Before the attacks on the subway, the cult had murdered an anti-cult lawyer and his wife and child, and had already released sarin gas in another area in an attempt to murder three anti-cult judges. Had these incidents been properly investigated, the gas attack on the subway would not have occurred. In fact, it appears the police were prevented from fully investigating the earlier crimes. Call me a conspiracy theorist (oh yes), but it looks as if the cult was - and still is - protected by powerful people in the Japanese government. Because here is the weirdest thing of all about it: though they killed all those innocent people and are banned in Europe and North America as a terrorist group, they are still operating in Japan under a new name, Aleph!!!