Monday, December 7, 2015

December 7

On this day in 1941, Japan attacked the USA, at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. 2,403 Americans were killed and 1,178 were wounded. The USA thus entered WWII, and my paternal grandfather fought the Japanese in the barren lands of the Aleutian Islands, a service he was proud to give and for which I am thankful.

But the USA also forced the relocation and incarceration of more than 100,000 people of Japanese ancestry in the USA - 62% of the internees were USA citizens. In 1980, President Carter opened an investigation to determine whether the decision to put Japanese Americans into internment camps had been justified by the government. His commission's report found the incarceration had been the product of racism. In 1988, President Reagan signed into law the Civil Liberties Act, which apologized for the internment on behalf of the U.S. government and authorized a payment of $20,000 to each individual camp survivor. The legislation admitted that government actions were based on "race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership."

The two people murdering co-workers in San Bernardino doesn't make me think of Pearl Harbor, but the rhetoric I'm hearing regarding Muslims Americans is making me think of those internment camps.

No comments:

Post a Comment