Southern Utah University will host attorney-turned-film producer James W. Parkinson in a film screening of his award-winning film The Inheritance of War In conjunction with his convocation address, “Soldier Slaves: Abandoned by the White House, Courts and Congress”. Both events will be held on SUU’s campus on Tuesday, January 12, 2010. Parkinson’s lecture will be held at 11:30 a.m. in the SUU Auditorium; the film screening will be at 6 p.m. in the theater of the Sharwan Smith Student Center.
According to the film’s official website, The Inheritance of War details an ongoing fight for justice, following the little-known tale of thousands of WWII soldiers held as prisoners of war in the Philippines after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the largest defeat in United States military history.
The film’s emotional story of survival and hardship presents, “nearly-forgotten events like the death march across the Bataan Peninsula, the ‘hell ships’ that carried prisoners of war to Japan, and harrowing stories of starvation, poor treatment, and harsh conditions experienced when the men were forced to work as slave laborers for Japanese corporations.”
Fifty-five years later, the aging soldiers filed a class action suit, seeking acknowledgement and redress from the private Japanese companies, now multibillion-dollar corporations, that used them as slave labor during the war. James Parkinson was the co-lead counsel representing these POW veterans who were seeking restitution for their suffering.
These decades-old war abuses are given up-to-the-minute relevance by Mr. Parkinson. He traces a path that began with the infamous Bataan Death March of April 1942 and continued with three and a half years of forced labor. After the war these brave men were ordered by the U.S. government to remain silent about their abuse. The audience will be drawn into the case as the extent of the maltreatment by the Japanese is revealed and the POWs' efforts to be compensated for their labor unfold. Mr. Parkinson ties the present to the past by interspersing horrific war narrative with modern-day dramas played out in courtrooms and congressional hearing rooms as lawyers, judges, government officials, senators, and congressmen debate the merits of a case now known as the JPOW case.
The first two hundred people in attendance at Mr. Parkinson’s afternoon Convocation will receive a free copy of his book “Autodidactic” (a book about the value of literacy and being self taught). All convocations are free and open to the public.
Admission to the film screening that same evening is $5 per person. A portion of the proceeds will benefit SUU’s Service & Learning Center. Mr. Parkinson will answer questions after the film.