Tuesday, September 19, 2006

history doesn't repeat itself

this weekend i went to see an ACLU-sponsored performance about a japanese-american's experiences in WWII internment camps. a month after pearl harbor, hiroaki nishimura was bustled out of his san francisco home and for the next 3 years shipped between hastily-constructed camps in california, wyoming and arkansas. his only offense was being japanese on the west coast.

in his writing, he's stoic and weirdly accepting of his loss of liberty -- it seems he and the other inmates thought that their blind obedience would prove their patriotism.

6 months after the war ended, nishimura was finally released.

18 years later, his american citizenship was restored. when the reagan administration agreed that all surviving internees should be remunerated, nishimura spent his $20,000 check on a brand-new honda accord.

during the time of the japanese-american internment, 10 americans were convicted of spying for japan. they were all caucasian. the attorney general would no doubt argue, well that's because we had all the others in custody.

after the peformance, i exercised my god-given american freedom to go out and buy hair color and liquor... on a sunday. the woman behind the counter registered my presence slowly, so engrossed was she in a Rolling Stone articled footered "torture."

-- i'm just reading about what bush is doing to all those people we're holding.
i felt like i was in a time warp.
-- mmm, happy reading, then.
-- you know, i didn't like him before, but now i like him even less.
-- with god on your side, you can do just about anything.

she looked at me uncertainly, passing over my whiskey and change.

history doesn't repeat itself. people repeat history.

6 comments:

addon said...

we see the same old stuff again and again. then the events of 9/11 have changed the world for ever, bush has gone crazy or always was crazy, our prime minister just waits to ask how high to jump ...

what can one do? i have given up trying to figure out what i can do. i would love to get lost in africa again but would probably last a month, the way things are now. maybe a remote scottish island would do, bugger the weather.

Theo said...

I'm not going there, right now. Suffice to say that I'm not one to fall smartly in line with the current administration's many agendas (and lack thereof).

finn said...

adam -- hmmmm, africa. i think i have heard of that place, back in the time of quaddafi. what an awful despotic man. such hair.

you'd only last a week? er, is there something going on there? is africa even still on the map??

30,000 die in a day of genocide in the Dem Republic of Congo and here in the US, Fox News reports on a daring neighborhood kitten rescue.

i hear the hebrides are nice this time of year...

finn said...

I'm not going there, right now.

teho:

how about now?

how soon is now?

is now = lunch?

addon said...

the hebrides!!! the hills of scotland!!!

september was always the best month in scotland, there seemed to be an easing-off of autumn's arrival, reverting to warmer, still, calm, clear days before plunging into winter.

i used to walk in the hills in scotland, always in september, except one daring easter trip, we would go off for a couple of weeks at a time, carrying everything, heavy backpacks with 2 weeks' supply of food.

the days on top of the hills were often sublime - you could see across half of scotland, and walking in the short tundra - stone and low shrubs - was a delight.

a long way from here ... but there are similar places in the australian alps ...

finn said...

ah adam, i have a yearnin' and pinin' to visit scotland and you've just taken it up a couple notches.

the hebrides sound loverly.