Not being a trekkie I didn’t know who George Takei was when his interesting snippets turned up on social media. I simply liked them.
Now I have read his graphic, well, I suppose, autobiography, from WWII onwards, about the interning – imprisonment – of American citizens of Japanese background after Pearl Harbour. It is a great book about this atrocious and shameful history. (The only thing I knew about this before came from watching the film I’ll Remember April some years ago.)
George was four when his family were more or less removed from their beds in Los Angeles in the middle of the night, and taken on a long journey to Arkansas at the other end of the country, where they were to stay for most of the war.
I have deep admiration for George’s father, who worked hard, kept the peace and made himself useful to his fellow ‘prisoners’ for the duration of this wrongful treatment. His behaviour also meant that this whole period seemed like an adventure to George, and possibly as almost normal to his two younger siblings.
Through George’s later fame, some of this unfair treatment has reached more people than might otherwise have been possible.
And I was reminded of what I read on Normblog some years ago; something which made me want to cry again. But mostly good crying. In a world of many really very bad people, and leaders, there are good ones too.
(Almost as an afterthought, I have to comment on how easy it was to read this graphic novel. They aren’t always, but this one worked perfectly.)
With more recent developments both here and there, I no longer feel free of concern for this kind of behaviour aimed at me, either. It could happen to anyone.
David Guterson’s novel Snow Falling on Cedars deals with very similar material and is definitely worth reading.
Thanks for the tip.