I wish to express my shock and deep sorrow at the needless deaths of the people in New York City and Washington D.C., those on the doomed airlines and the brave rescue workers.
My parents are both gone now. And, when the horrific events of September 11th transpired, I asked myself, Is this what is it was like? Is this what my parents as Japanese-Americans went through after Dec. 7, 1941? I’ve heard the stories where friends and neighbors suddenly changed their opinion of you even though you had lived and worked with them for years. I’ve heard stories of vandalism, physical threats, and taunts of “why don’t you go back to your own country,” when this was your country. My aunt said that you really knew who were your true friends during that time. My parents were both interned in concentration camps in Poston, Arizona and Tule Lake, California. I have had uncles who were drafted and served in the U.S. Army. I have had relatives killed in Hiroshima after the atomic bomb was dropped.
When I hear and read examples of ignorant people who are making attacks on innocent Arab-Americans and Muslims, I become dismayed and concerned for their welfare as a misguided few take out their frustrations.
It is in times of crisis that our values are truly tested. I am heartened by the statements of our national and local leaders asking all Americans not to judge a people by their ethnicity or religion. We need to be reminded of this more than ever. We do not want to walk down that road again with our eyes wide open. I am hoping that Americans will not succumb to hysteria and “military necessity” in the days to follow. We have a big enough job to do as it is.
Diane A. Tokugawa