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Meet Yuri
February 23, 2007 10:57 AM   Subscribe

Yuri Kochiyama: held in an internment camp during WWII, cradled Malcolm X as he took his last breaths, raised six children, and has spent her life working towards radical social change. Last year she was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Read an interview or listen to one, watch footage of her, or if you want more, there are two books and a couple documentaries about her life.
posted by serazin (24 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
[this is good]
posted by chunking express at 11:02 AM on February 23, 2007


Also, I love the photo with her first in the air. Kick ass.
posted by chunking express at 11:21 AM on February 23, 2007


Malcolm X was a communist, a Muslim extremist, and a racist, so pardon me if I don't want to worship one of his friends.
posted by tadellin at 11:42 AM on February 23, 2007


That's quite some life. I was disappointed to read her eulogy of bin Laden in the interview- your enemy's enemy isn't always your friend.
posted by Abiezer at 11:47 AM on February 23, 2007


She also occupied the Statue of Liberty!
posted by serazin at 11:52 AM on February 23, 2007


oh noes teh communists!
posted by chunking express at 11:56 AM on February 23, 2007


I love that photo too, chunking express. Is anyone able to view the Malcolm X link? I just get placeholders. :/
posted by figment of my conation at 12:03 PM on February 23, 2007


It should go to a video; at least thats what it does when I click on it.
posted by chunking express at 12:09 PM on February 23, 2007


If you can't get straight to the Malcolm X video, you can reach it from the first link. There's a sidebar item on Malcolm and at the bottom you'll find the video link. Not sure why it's not working though.
posted by serazin at 12:12 PM on February 23, 2007


On threat of derail here, can we quit it with the 'Nobel nominee' line? It means somebody mailed your name to a P.O. box in Sweden, nothing more. When, after the records are unsealed after 50 years, it's revealed that the committee considered your name for a final cut, then it might mean something. But probably not because of all the log-rollers stuffing each others' names in envelopes and mailing them off to a P.O. box in Sweden for the mutual benefit of bragging rights.
posted by ardgedee at 12:17 PM on February 23, 2007


Woah. There are multimedia kiosks that were setup in Manhattan about Malcolm X and his life, and I scanned some postcards for them that he had written to Yuri. At the time, I was just looking to make some money and a friend of mine hooked me up with the job -- I had no idea who she was.

I went to her apartment with laptop and scanner; at the time she lived in an big apartment building (I think assisted living center) in downtown Oakland, in a tiny studio apartment. Her walls were covered with posters and pictures and newspaper clippings, and every flat surface had books about the revolution. While I scanned the photographs, she told me about the first time she saw "Brother Malcolm," about living in public housing in the fifties, and about how the planes that flew into the World Trade Center were American drones.

She's an awesome, awesome (crazy) lady.
posted by one_bean at 12:23 PM on February 23, 2007


ardgedee - I totally get what you're saying, but in this case, a member of the Nobel committe actually called her, which I think means more than her name was briefly mentioned in a meeting or something. Female Nobel Peace Price laureates are specifically campaigning to increase the number of awards given to women.
posted by serazin at 12:32 PM on February 23, 2007


Price? I mean Prize.
posted by serazin at 12:33 PM on February 23, 2007


and about how the planes that flew into the World Trade Center were American drones.

Ah, another conspiracy nutjob.
*loses interest*
posted by languagehat at 12:38 PM on February 23, 2007


languagehat-

Feel free to blow her off, but dismissing her as a conspiracy theorist is, to me, a depressing simplification. I wouldn't base my judgment on some random metafilter user's opinion of her. Whether or not you agree with her (and she talks in more detail about bin Ladin in the first interview), she is a dedicated person who has mirrored her beliefs with her principled action.
posted by serazin at 12:43 PM on February 23, 2007


Not to mention that she's got to be well into her eighties, if not older. Sorry if my opinion of her came off as "conspiracy theorist." It was more that she seemed like she had been really into political action when she was younger, and now that she's older, she continues to see the world through those lenses. It was striking to meet an octogenarian who could believe such a thing. Everything she said to me was encompassed in an overall message of peace.
posted by one_bean at 1:07 PM on February 23, 2007


I'm not dismissing her, I'm sure she's done valuable work and is a fine person, but I have limited time and energy to invest, and when I find out somebody thinks the WTC was brought down by US government drones, I lose interest in investing further energy in that direction. Sorry, didn't mean to imply she or the post was worthless; just a snap judgment.
posted by languagehat at 1:46 PM on February 23, 2007


when I find out somebody thinks the WTC was brought down by US government drones, I lose interest in investing further energy in that direction.

Millions and millions of Americans (and i believe a majority of us NYers) don't believe the official story (you might be surprised at who and how diverse they are)--i wouldn't write off that many people, especially those who have done great good.

Thanks for this post--i didn't know of her.
posted by amberglow at 2:30 PM on February 23, 2007


It was striking to meet an octogenarian who could believe such a thing.
That generation is striking in many ways (and far more activist and progressive than many think--the depression, ww2, social programs, unions, etc--they built and strengthened many wonderful things now in danger of being lost or rolled back)
posted by amberglow at 2:32 PM on February 23, 2007


Millions and millions of Americans don't believe the "official story" on evolution either. Hardly a convincing argument.

I have complicated feelings about Yuri. She is an advocate of some things I think are really important, but she also advocates things I am mightily opposed to. Regardless, she lives her views, which is something I can respect and she thinks changing the world takes more than building giant puppets of Bushs' head.
posted by Falconetti at 2:51 PM on February 23, 2007


sorry to derail further but--- It's not that millions don't believe the "official story" on evolution (and it's not an official story but a scientific theory)--it's that they have an alternate and more important "official story" that they already believe in. 9/11 is not like that--There is a pre-existing factual history (an "official story") of our govt. doing deadly things to provoke other things (a la false flags, Iran-Contra, installing friendly dictators, supporting terrorists, empire stuff, resource stealing, etc). Those are facts--and that is the "official story" objectively. The conclusions drawn by the 9/11 Commission are riddled with omissions and lies--the "story" they gave is simply unbelievable to many in face of the evidence and history of our govt's actions, and the evidence directly related to the event, to the contrary of their (non-)conclusions.
posted by amberglow at 3:02 PM on February 23, 2007




To call someone a "dilettante" when they've given so very much of themselves for so very very long hardly seems fair. That said, I've always thought of Kochiyama as essentially a tourist in other people's (and peoples') suffering, and I think this accounts for some of her intransigence and stridency.

When you've painted yourself that far into a corner, I'm sure it seems like the only way out is further in.
posted by adamgreenfield at 5:27 PM on February 23, 2007


amberglow
But the problem is that there's a difference between saying that there are some questions left over from the official explanation, and claiming that 9/11 was an inside job perpetrated by the government. The fact that there are questions, and that the government has in the past done bad things, does not lead to the conclusion of government-sponsored conspiracy, and that's what makes it "nutty". There's no basis to claim 9/11 was the result of "government drones" as she did; people who do that are just forcing the facts through the lens of their own personal biases : in this case, a lifetime of strong anti-American government feelings). So yes, these 9/11 conspiracy theorists are much like those who don't believe in evolution. There are debates and controversies within evolutionary theory, but the religious right wrongly seizes on these as proof that evolution is wrong, and, further, that their ideas of creationism are right. Similarly, there may be holes in the official 9/11 story, but it's wrong to seize these as proof of a government conspiracy.
posted by Sangermaine at 3:14 PM on February 24, 2007


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