Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Anniversary of Injustice
Some people, I know, get bent out of shape when I refer to these (officially "internment camps") as "concentration camps" as that tends to bring to mind what were actually "death camps" operated by the Nazis. Well, it's not my fault that the majority cannot be bothered to be correct in their language. There were no gas chambers, no massacres and no torture-experiments at these American concentration camps but they were not vacation resorts either. Given the background of those placed there, I cannot help but imagine how easily some of my own relatives might have been among them had they been in the wrong place at the wrong time. People were grabbed by military forces from their homes, sometimes with nothing more than the clothes on their backs and placed in these camps, surrounded by barbed wire and where stepping outside the fence got more than a few shot. They endured freezing cold, boiling heat and, perhaps most harshly, the bewildering ignorance of not knowing if or when they would ever be released. And, again, most of these were U.S.-born American citizens like anyone else, they just happened to belong to the wrong race or ethnic group so that, even without doing anything wrong or suspicious, their loyalty was called into question.
I have said it before and I will say it again, because the above is a perfect illustration of the fact, no matter how idealistic the political ideologue might be, true justice, freedom and security is not to be found in any piece of paper. No document, law or constitution can ever cover everything and even the one republic that has worked probably the best overall was still one where an injustice like this could happen. Democracy and elections are not a cure-all and choosing a head of state by popular majority does not ensure that tyranny and oppression cannot happen. I wonder how many of the Japanese, German and Italian-American sent to these concentration camps had voted for President Roosevelt?