By Shirley A. Weiss
December 09, 2006
Frankly, I am dismayed that congressional leaders did not have the good sense to specifically call out for preservation a single internment site where enemy aliens of all three ethnic groups, Germans, Italians, and Japanese were incarcerated. Instead the legislation identifies for preservation a list of 10 Japanese American relocation camps. If preserving history is the object of this $38 million program, certainly the public should demand that their money be spent to do just that.
The legislators who experienced internment first hand (Inouye, Akaka, Matsui & Honda) have a special burden to internment history. More than other government insiders they understand the embarrassment, helplessness, and economic loss experienced by families of internment. In their role as legislators, certainly they have a responsibility to represent all victims of internment Japanese, German and Italian when preserving history. By preserving only Japanese internment sites Congress is reinforcing a false reality - that only those of Japanese ethnicity were interned during WWII. The fact is that approximately 15,000 Germans and Italians were victims of "selective" internment policy. This reality is lost to the public when all historical references are omitted from public discourse. The factual story of internment becomes irrelevant as the mythical story morphs into making perception reality. The $38 million question becomes is this bill to preserve internment history or is it to revise internment history?
Shirley A. Weiss
Received December 08, 2006 - Published December 09, 2006
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