Artwork of Empathy & Resistance
FOR ISSEIS AND KIBEIS/FROM NISEIS AND SANSEIS.
1993. Oil and barbed wire (36 X 64”).
After Pearl Harbor, over 110,000 Japanese and Japanese-Americans were forced to leave their homes and businesses on the West Coast under Executive Order 9066 and be evacuated en masse into various internment / concentration camps ringed with barbed wire and guarded by machine guns. My family was evacuated in the spring of 1942 into the Poston Camp on the Colorado River Indian Reservation in Arizona. My mother was one
of the last to leave Poston when the camps were closed down in 1945.
There was a note of irony at the dedication of a Memorial Monument marking the 50th anniversary of the evacuation. The ceremony was opened by one of the tribal council leaders who noted the irony of America’s racist history by saying that the Native Americans had been forced into ”this” reservation some 50 years before and while the Japanese and Japanese-Americans had been there from 1942-45, the Native Americans were “still here.”
Executive Order 9066 was truly an act of “infamy” because the War Department in collusion with the State Department with the blessing of Roosevelt “lied” to the Supreme Court by withholding evidence that would have rendered the government’s central argument groundless.
In today’s crisis brought on by the terroist attack on September 11th, we need be watchful that the Muslim-Americans and other Muslims are not treated as the Japanese-Americans and Japanese were after Pearl Harbor.”