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An Internee Comments

Reader comment on item: Why the Japanese Internment Still Matters

Submitted by Edwin S. Fujinaka (United States), Dec 29, 2004 at 12:31

I agree with you and Ms Malkin about 98% of the time which is more than I can say for my wife. Let me preface this by saying that I was interned during WW2 for over two years in a location near Yuma. My entire family of four people were American citizens by birth. We were not foreign nationals and we certainly were not illegal Aliens. My mother lost 100 acres of property that was six miles from downtown Sacramento for non payment of taxes. After over two years of detention, we could only get out if we agreed to not return to California so we wound up in Chicago. The Internment Camp had no air conditioning and even the heating required that we gather firewood and/or make charcoal ourselves. We lived in tarpaper covered barracks that had no insulation. We had no indoor plumbing and relied on mass outhouses. We ate in large mess halls. I never considered the $20,000 per person payment to be adequate compensation for this ordeal, but merely a token gesture above and beyond some sort of apology.

Michelle has claimed that some Germans and Italians were similarly detained, but everyone knows that there was nothing remotely comparable to the Japanese internment that included about half American citizens. One of your readers suggests that some Hawaii based people of Japanese ancestry engaged in espionage against the United States. I doubt it, but in any case it was not widespread and no large scale internment of the Japanese was conducted in Hawaii and there was no damage to the American war effort.

I think it is counter productive to try to link ethnic profiling to the WW2 internment of Japanese. Ethnic profiling can stand on its own based on logic and common sense. If you are going to argue that ethnic profiling is justifed because Japanese internment was justified, you are at risk of damaging your argument. In any case, I support the profiling of Muslims in general and the specific selection of non American Citizens from Middle Eastern countries for added scrutiny, but not internment for years with no specific charges. I hope you can reconsider your blanket endorsement of the Japanese Internment of WW2.
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