Thursday, May 6, 2010

Manzanar Historic Site, Detention Camp for !st, 2nd, & 3rd Generation Japanese-Americans Imprisoned WWII

Tags: Owens Valley CA, Beautiful and Ugliness, Water, Mountains, Deserts, Racism, World War II

Racism against Japanese-Americans also had an economic motive. The White Farmers Alliance petitioned President Roosevelt to expel all Japanese-Americans regardless of citizenship with about half being citizens of birth and their parents who came from Hawaii. The Japanese-Americans produced 80 percent of the truck farm fruits and vegetable products in the Western States and their children owned valuable land that the White Farmers coveted. Many deeded their land to White friends who did not return the land after the war.

The racist Assistant Secretary of State tried to keep Jews in the killing fields in Europe so he influenced Roosevelt to expel the Japs even though both the Naval and FBI intelligence found not one likely to be disloyal to the USA. Many Americans of Italian and German descent committed sabotage, but were not imprisoned en masse like the Japanese-Americans.

Those who ran the Manzanar prison camp made sure they diverted most of the meat and condiments such as salt and served partially cooked rice and other scraps to the inmates. After finally releasing the medical records from Manzanar, I found I was a very malnourished little boy during my imprisonment. I know my father was trapping birds, rabbits, and catching fish to try to keep us fed. Luckily small children don't remember much and parents don't talk about it.

So far the Obama administration is not willing to punish those really responsible for Reagan enhanced migration of illegal immigrants taking jobs away from Americans. Once meat packing was a prestigious jobs with high pay. It was made into a dangerous job with low pay with our government looking the other way. Most racist incidents mushroom during poor economic times. Remember Germany in the 1930s.

Jim Kawakami, May 6, 2010,

NY Times Excerpt: ... Some Owens Valley wonders are less natural. A giant pipe near the rim of the Owens River Gorge is one reminder that the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power owns 312,000 acres of Eastern Sierra land. About 35 percent of the city’s water supply originates in the rivers, streams and groundwater of this region, and is carried downhill for more than 200 miles through multi-million-dollar aqueducts.

That water was famously hard won more than a century ago, largely through questionable maneuverings by William Mulholland, the department’s first superintendent and chief engineer. His tactics would later help inspire the movie “Chinatown.” In the 1920s valley farmers (soon to lose precious water for their crops) foughtLos Angeles by dynamiting the aqueduct and opening weirs to let the river flow into Owens Lake. Today the exposed lake bed is a strange feature, wet in some sections and white with saline in others — an unusually visible example of the effects of water diversions. ...

After a day in the Alabama Hills, we went roughly parallel to the river as we drove to Manzanar National Historic Site, where United States citizens and residents of Japanese descent were held in a detention camp during World War II. The federal government, fearful of sabotage, made more than 10,000 men, women and children live in wood and tar-paper barracks after forcing them from their homes and businesses. The barracks are gone, but the free interpretive center, in the auditorium of the former Manzanar High School, does a fine job chronicling this American shame.

Exhibitions mix old newspaper clippings, racist cartoons and radio broadcasts that illuminate the nation’s hysterical mood with artifacts evoking daily life at Manzanar: a gardener’s lawn mower, a child’s sketch of a watchtower, a basketball scorebook from Block 16, its game results neatly recorded in pencil.

“I was learning, as best one could learn in Manzanar, what it meant to live in America,” reads a quotation from John Tateishi , a man who had lived in Manzanar as a child. “But I was also learning the sometimes bitter price one has to pay for it.” ...

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