|Santa Anita Assembly Center - photograph from www.rafu.com|
A while ago Bear read the book "Only what we could carry." by Lawson Fusao Inada, when he was done I wanted to read it and had great intentions of reading it, but time passed and the book stayed in the drawer of my nightstand. It wasn't for lack of time or trying, but more because when I read the introduction tears started to fall.
The introduction starts with the following phrase:
"Only what we could carry"
was the rule; so we carried
Strength, Dignity and Soul
While reading the book I went online to do more research. I must admit I didn't know much about the Japanese Internment camps and wanted to learn more about a part of history that to this day remains silent. The photograph above I found on a website and I studied the photograph for quite some time. The men and women who had been rounded up to be taken to the internment camps were all respectfully dressed which to me screamed the above phrase, "Strength, Dignity and Soul."
We are currently living in turbulent times and it seems that once again propaganda, disinformation and to a degree, brainwashing, is fueled by politicians, extremists and those that are too quick to click the share button on Facebook before validating facts. I struggle with those who profess to be of any faith and start their speech with "I am not a (fill in the blank), but..." When one feels the need to add a but to their sentence, what follows is everything but what the fill in the blank statement is.
We see posts on social media, in the news etc of "We shall never forget." and I have to wonder what part of 'never forget' are people referring to? It seems as though with history we pick and choose what we become angry about without looking at the entire picture and the cause.
Wouldn't it be great if there was a magazine at the checkout stand in grocery stores with articles about history and what we learned from hate instead of which celebrity is having an affair, is having a fight with another irrelevant celebrity, or spent thousands of dollars on plastic surgery?
When people are not directly impacted by racism, war, bigotry and hate, the ostrich head in the sand approach seems to fit. Or maybe it is because so many feel helpless as to what they can do to change the situation. I have always found it odd that when a celebrity is directly impacted by some tragedy befallen them or a loved one it suddenly becomes news and pouring in of help is abundant. What does that say of us as a society that we need to have a celebrity inform us of how we should care.
The paragraph from the book, Years of Ifamy, sums up my thoughts in a nutshell.
"... I hope this uniquely American story will serve as a reminder to all those who cherish their liberties of the very fragility of their rights against the exploding passions of their more numerous fellow citizens, and as a warning that they who say that it can never happen again are probably wrong"
I am trying not to let my cynicism and helplessness stop me from making a difference. I will continue to research, be vocal and vigilant in my own little fight to make sure it really does not ever happen again.