In a collision of many things discussed in this class–politics, representation, history, and critical cultural studies–outspoken actor, gay rights activist, social media guru, and Asian American pop culture hero, George Takei has blogged about a plan to build a wall around Tule Lake Internment Camp in Northern California, where he and his family were imprisoned during WWII.
Here is an excerpt from his blog post:
Tule Lake had a “stockade” concrete prison block where those who vocalized their opposition to the internment were held in solitary confinement and tortured. It was our own Guantanemo. Brad and I undertook a pilgrimage back to Tule Lake and visited the stockade, a sad but important reminder that when our democracy fails, any one of us could be its targets.
I have spent my life ensuring that we never forget, and never repeat, these mistakes of the past. The culmination of this work is the musical “Allegiance” which is coming to Broadway next year, which I hope many, many people will see.
I recently learned, however, that the FAA has proposed to construct an 8 foot high, 16,000 foot long fence to close off the Tule Lake site, ostensibly to protect the airstrip (used primarily for cropdusters) along the campsite firebreak road. This fence, which is overkill simply to keep out wildlife such as deer, would prevent any visitors to the grounds of the former internment camp, include the infamous stockade. It would be a body blow to our efforts to keep this critical piece of American history, however blighted, from fading from our collective memory.
This news coincides with our upcoming week’s topic of digitized Asian America and highlights the importance of digital and networked communications technologies for Asian American politics, activism, and cultural production. That said, here is the link to his petition.
Here is more information on Tule Lake Internment Camp (or Tule Lake Relocation Center).