Penjihad's Blog

"To comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable"

Stigmatizing entire groups

Last night, I was trying to catch up on my huge stack of unread magazines (there is a huge stack of books right behind them!) when I came up on a story about the WWII internment of Japanese-descent Americans in a stamp-collecting magazine (yes, I am one of those nutters).

On February 19th, 1942, President Roosevelt signed an order leaving it to the military to designate “exclusion zones” and then moving the Japanese-Americans to “detention centers”. In spite of the fact that these were all Concentration Camps, the euphemisms they were known by were: “Assembly Center”, “Relocation Center”, “Isolation Center” and “Temporary Camps”, mostly along the deserts of the West Coast. In all, about 88% of the Japanese Americans…112,000 people were interned, most of their properties were “sold” at fire-sales or expropriated. Their actual losses at the time, were about $400 million, Congress generously provided a restitution after the war, of about $38 million and President Reagan signed an Act of apology in 1988.

The fear-mongering and anti-Japanese hysteria was boundless: they would rape innocent White women, kill White men, they were spying for, and sending messages to the enemy (Japan). These reports were embraced by Fear-driven (White) Americans, made easier by the fact that Japanese Americans actually LOOKED different. Japanese Americans were put through “loyalty tests”, they were required to join the war effort and fight, even though their families were kept in concentration camps. A small handful refused to join the US military as long as their families were imprisoned, these and others who failed the “loyalty tests” were moved to camps with harsher conditions.

Today, we look back with platitudes that help the American people come to terms with the country’s unconstitutional atrocities. We consider the date to be “A day that will live in infamy” yet we also suggest that it was “War!” and such things happen. In contrast, the German POWs who were in the US, were treated quite nicely, even given parole passes to spend evenings with American families and taken to Church. Few if any, Americans of German ancestry were penalized for their background. The “day of infamy” is virtually forgotten, it barely gets mentioned on its anniversaries; America considers it buried in the past.

The story caught my attention. Since what happened to Japanese Americans barely gets mentioned today and the general attitude seems to be that such things would never happen here again. Being a Muslim, I know for a fact that the persecution of Muslims is present and real and the persecutors are found from the White House, to the Cabinet, to Congress, to different security agencies, right down to the bug-eyed, fear-driven person on the street. The anti-Japanese hysteria still runs deep except that “Japanese” has been replaced by “Muslim”. Muslims have forcibly had their citizenships revoked, they have been placed on the notorious “Watch List” which is completely arbitrary and capricious and is currently shared by the FBI, with over 1400 private organizations. It is a safe bet that companies use the list to deny Muslims jobs or positions in security fields, loans, contracts and who knows what else? The infamous “No-fly list” which comprises of almost a MILLION names (mostly Muslim) is derived from the “Watch list” so we can take a good guess at the numbers of people on the latter list.

Can the Japanese experience happen again? We can bet on it! Muslims for the most part, “look different”, they have “funny names” and they too, are regarded as existential threats to the US and to the West. In less than one year after 9-11, the US Attorney-General had “Detained” over 14,000 Muslims across America. These people were never charged or tried, they were kept in prisons for weeks or even years and then released without explanation. Careers and fortunes were destroyed, families were torn apart but our gutless Congress was too frightened of being looked upon as “soft on Terrorism” so the said nothing. On the contrary, they passed laws like the USA PATRIOT Act, that gave the military and the government almost complete freedom to persecute any Muslim they wished to persecute.

For now, the equation between patriotism and persecution of Muslims is official policy in the US.

Were there any lessons learnt from the experience of Japanese Americans?

Japanese Americans were a silent people, keeping to themselves and trying not to make waves in a White America. As an unrepresented group, they carried no Congressional support, their persecution bore no penalties. Demonized, they were barely looked upon as humans.

Today, if one removes “Japanese” and inserts “Muslim”, life is not that much better except for the concentration camps but that possibility too, has been explored and plans drawn.

On the other hand, Muslims remain oblivious to the on-coming Tsunami, they continue to convince themselves that God will somehow come down to protect them or, that they will be overlooked if they remain silent and uninvolved in the body politic of the nation.

 

With the first link, the chain is forged.

The first speech censored, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably. The first time any man’s freedom is trodden on we’re all damaged. I fear that today… (Star Trek, Jean-Luc Picard)

 

Extremism in the pursuit of virtue is no evil Barry Goldwater

February 24, 2019 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: