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A different internment lesson

Get your propaganda out of your history lesson

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While it’s easy to see the link between Eva Ulz’s internment history presentation and the bias put into the New Times article about Japanese internment (“Imprisoning our own,” April 6), the propaganda that was neatly tucked in was a foregone conclusion. It shouldn’t take a 75-year milestone to bring up internment history lessons, because the Japanese Internment-“Trump travel ban”-Muslim link Eva brought up is so transparent.

I applaud the history lesson; too bad you missed the previous lesson that precipitated the animosity—and non-racial fear—that the rest of the world had against the then-evil Japanese by the time of the ’30s and ’40s.

In a 50-year span, Japan went from being a feudal system to a feared Pacific naval superpower that had inhumanely decimated enemies and civilians, especially those who were not Japanese. So let’s drop the racism issue, please. They took over their neighbors, assassinated opposition, created disorder to justify invasions, and their samurai warfare atrocities made them feared, long before World War II. By 1939, the U.S. had to surrender the main Philippine island to Japan. They already had control of islands on the way to Hawaii, and then America’s Pacific Naval Fleet got bombed after Japan had already invaded more than three countries.

Japan’s previous psychopathic brutality is documented in killings as follows up to 1942 to 1937: rape/massacre of Nanking (200,000 people killed); 1942: Bataan 65-mile death march (60,000 killed); Sandakan 100-plus mile death march over a three-year span (2,390 killed by 1945). Soldiers took photos with their Chinese citizen victims before the killing began, forced long POW marches in 1942, killed fallen prisoners, cannibalized Borneo POWs, killed civilians by bayonet/gunshot while being forced to drown.

At the time of Executive Order 9066, the Japanese were not seen as the kind and gentle plant-growing friendly neighbors who eventually grew up in this country. (Any comparisons with today’s “not-so-nice” extremists that “oh-so-nice” people try to politically hug?) April 9 was observed as the 75th year since the Bataan Death March. Did you miss those horrific stories? Did they not fit Eva Ulz’s and your narrative? If you had read what the Japanese had perpetrated before and after the Bataan Death March, you would see how there is no right answer on internment then vs. now (but then again, that fits your narrative to drop the presidential T word and bring our president into your “lesson”). We weren’t there, and decisions made in their own time cannot be compared. Evil was on our shore and had made America unsafe. If there is another 9/11, I say, “Mr. President, keep us safe!”

We have to be vigilant because history is disappearing, but try to keep politics out of it. My husband watched an early childhood memorial Bataan Death March get taken away due to politics in his lifetime. Internment was not the greatest solution, but dwelling on blame today is not going to help. Maybe you should ask Haruo.

The real lesson was in the words of the interned: Haruo said, “I guess, it’s the best [the government] did” and his wife Rose told her son, “If your father and I were angry then he wouldn’t have been as successful as he was. Being mad doesn’t get you anywhere.” Racism didn’t come to bear on his ability to continue farming because he had great Portuguese and Irish neighbors who helped neighbors regardless of race. Stop being mad and get the propaganda out of your history lesson. Then maybe you will be a successful writer and do the best you can. History lessons sans Eva Ulz or more editing, perhaps? Time will tell or change perspective again so I better get used to safe-zone group-hugs with Allah’s extremists coming to our shore and sign up for my burka.

Dana Parker is mad about “propaganda” and history “lessons” in Grover Beach. Send comments through the editor at clanham@newtimesslo.com or write a letter to the editor at letters@newtimesslo.com.

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