Hello to Manzanar

Updated (thanks Alisa)
"In 1942, the United States government ordered over 110,000 men, women
and children to leave their homes and detained them in remote,
military-style camps. Two-thirds of them were born in America. Not one
was convicted of espionage or sabotage."
10,000 of them came to Manzanar. To the east is a desert so harsh it is
called Death Valley, while in the west the tallest mountains in the
continental US stand sentinel. An isolated place, ideal for America to
turn its back on its own innocent people.

There are some signs showing where the various buildings were, but
little remains of the place. I get the feeling that after the war was
finished attempts were made to blot the whole place from memory. They
wanted us to forget what happened there.

Forgetting however, has just been made more difficult thanks to an
excellent visitor center that opened just a few months ago. We visited
it a few days after Christmas to break up the long drive from Reno to
LA. Inside the dreary looking building (based on an original I am
sure), is a wealth of thought provoking displays and movies. My
favorite part showed how the public was manipulated through fear and
blatant lying. The LA Times carried front page stories sensationalizing
a Japanese submarine attack near Santa Barbara that never happened.
There was also an article describing Japanese aircraft sweeping over
Los Angeles. Neither of these events ever took place Only the first event happened, but soon after

most people of Japanese descent living on the West Coast had their land
and possessions taken away, and they were concentrated into places like
Manzanar. All with overwhelming public support, of course.

Manzanar needs to be remembered as much as German death camps do.
Atrocities don't just occur in the past under the watch of "evil"
governments. Condoned torture was discovered at Abu Gharab. What is
happening at Guantanamo Bay? It is easy to judge evil at others in the
past, but far more difficult and important to cry evil at ourselves in
the present.

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