Just people, like you and me

We’ve been watch­ing episodes of a PBS show called My Grand­par­ents’ War, where celebs like Hele­na Bon­ham Carter and Kristin Scott Thomas trace the his­to­ries of their grand­par­ents’ expe­ri­ence in WWII. Tonight we saw one fea­tur­ing Mark Rylance, and there were a cou­ple quotes that stuck out to me. I want­ed to record them before I for­get them.

Mark Rylance, walk­ing in a ceme­tery for war dead in Hong Kong (where, but for the grace of God / ran­dom chance, his grand­fa­ther might well have end­ed up), mused that he keeps hear­ing peo­ple talk­ing dis­pas­sion­ate­ly about war, as though it’s some kind of nat­ur­al event. But, he point­ed out, war is fought by peo­ple. Just peo­ple, like you and me.

Lat­er, he met with a Japan­ese his­to­ri­an who has stud­ied the POW camps that the Japan­ese ran in Hong Kong. He asked her why she chose to study the camps—a heavy ques­tion, con­sid­er­ing some of the atroc­i­ties that had been explored ear­li­er in the episode. She respond­ed, “His­to­ry does­n’t repeat itself. Peo­ple repeat it.”

Just peo­ple, like you and me. Let’s be care­ful, OK?