Most of us know about the ugly history of the Japanese internment camps which were set up during WWII. Many of us know because of George Takei’s stories about being taken away from his home and placed in one of these camps. They are a shameful part of American history, rightly condemned by Presidents from Carter to Reagan to Bush. We paid reparations, ferpetesake.
But Mayor David Bowers of Roanoke, VA seems to have missed this entire part of American history. Maybe he was absent that day. Bowers — a Democrat, by the way — is so freaked out by the recent attacks by DAESH (I refer to them by this acronym now; here’s why) that he has gone full idiot. He has requested that all Roanoke Valley governments and NGOs refuse assistance to Syrian refugees. At least until “normalcy is restored.” A subjective term if ever I saw one.
But Mayor Bowers went a step further. It’s not enough that he has pretty much forbidden any further relocation of refugees to Roanoke. He’s so terrified that he has had an idea:
I’m reminded that Franklin D. Roosevelt felt compelled to sequester Japanese foreign nationals after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and it appears that the threat of harm to America from Isis [sic] now is just as real and serious a threat as that from our enemies then.
Excuse me… “sequester?” What a lovely euphemism for rounding up thousands of American citizens — taking all their property, too — and locking them up in camps. These camps were set up to “protect” America from “foreign nationals,” a threat that was unconfirmed and unfounded. There were 120,000 Japanese Americans locked up in these camps, guarded by soldiers with rifles. For 4 years. For nothing.
George Takei responded to Mayor Bowers’ statement with a harshly worded post on his Facebook page as a Japanese-American who went through this horrible experience, he had quite a bit to say. But this statement stood out:
It is my life’s mission to never let such a thing happen again in America.
As it should be a mission for all of us. Such talk is un-American. We have a strict method for screening those who wish to enter our country and the Syrian refugees must undergo it like any other immigrant. And, like other immigrants, they want to be American. They want a chance to live without fear. We can offer them this and we should. It’s the American — and Christian, I might add, since most calling for rejecting refugees call themselves this — thing to do.
Talk of “sequester” only plays in the hands of DAESH. This is what they want: to scare us into backing off, retreating into our shell. They want us to be afraid of anyone from the Middle East, including people who are running from them. Should we do what they want? I don’t think so.
The French have displayed their strength and courage in the face of horrible attacks by DAESH supporters. We must look to their example and not allow DAESH to terrorize us. Because that’s exactly what they want.
Featured Image via Wikimedia