George Takei behind barbed wire
August 23, 2004 10:50 PM   Subscribe

"The camp is in northern California, almost at the Oregon border. It has an almost mockingly poetic name, Camp Tule Lake. It as there in a barbed wire camp built on a wind-swept dry lake bed that I spent two and a half years of my boyhood after a year and a half in another internment camp in Arkansas...These pilgrimages back to a little remembered time in our history help enlarge my appreciation of the preciousness of our American liberty and my awareness of its fragility. They also deepen my understanding of the painful human price paid by such failures of our democracy." Star Trek's George Takei (the unflappable Mr. Sulu) revisits the internment camp of his racially-profiled boyhood.
posted by inksyndicate (11 comments total)
What can you say? America has a long history of oppressing its own people. Not just slavery and internment camps, but obscene medical testing, etc.
posted by fleener at 11:34 PM on August 23, 2004

[this is good]

Plus the extra stuff about Takei visiting Japan to promote old Star Trek DVD releases is kinda trippy too :)
posted by gen at 11:47 PM on August 23, 2004

Here's the web site for Tule Lake, includes information on pilgrimages like Takei's.
posted by josephtate at 2:43 AM on August 24, 2004

Thorough critique of In Defense of Internment. Short version: Malkin's entire premise of the book rests on shaky logic and an incomplete analysis of historical documents.
posted by plemeljr at 8:34 AM on August 24, 2004

I'm all for interring Malkin. For the duration.
posted by tommasz at 9:00 AM on August 24, 2004

Takei is definitely the most eloquent of the original cast.
posted by inksyndicate at 9:00 AM on August 24, 2004

Oh my.
posted by NortonDC at 9:42 AM on August 24, 2004

I worked for a man who was in an internment camp as a child. His family lived in Palos Verde, California. First the family fishing boat was seized, then the family market was padlocked. His parents and brother were shipped off to Arizona, but my boss could not go with them as he had the measles. He was shipped off later but was not reunited with his family until after the war. When I think about his story, what continues to haunt me is the idea of living in Arizona in a metal hanger in the summer with 60 other strangers.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 11:39 AM on August 24, 2004

The description of Malkin's book is frightening, all the more for the unwarrented defense. Canada also detained Japanese Canadians - and the government has already said that it was completely unjustified, and begin to pay restitution. Just the fact that over 100,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans were detained, while (from the article) only about 15,000 Europeans were (out of how many million German and Italian Americans?) should be a red flag that this was a racially motivated action. (Actually, in Canada, it was a "We want their fishing boats and other property" action, but any excuse would do). No "security" is worth denying civil rights, let alone jailing, dehumanising and endangering the health and lives of innocent people - including large numbers of children. How can anyone twist themselves throgh the logic pretzels involved in justifying the internment of entire families?

I have to go back to read Takei's very eloquent writing to try to get the bitter taste out of my mouth from that Town Hall article.
posted by jb at 4:39 PM on August 24, 2004

Nice, thanks inksyndicate et al.
posted by carter at 11:34 AM on August 25, 2004

I mentioned this in an earlier thread, but there are several excellent plays about internment, including Philip Kan Gotanda's The Sisters Mastumoto and Ed Sakamoto's Pilgrimage. I am surprised that nobody has attempted to make a high profile movie on this topic. It would seem that the time was right while many of the survivors of internment are still alive.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:51 PM on August 25, 2004

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