Muslim hearings recall my life in internment camp

The Japanese-American Mochida family await relocation to a an internment camp in this photo taken by Dorothea Lange.

Editor’s note: Rep. Michael Honda, D-California, is senior Democratic whip and a member of House Budget and Appropriations Committees.

(CNN) — Who would have thought that my early childhood experience in a Japanese-American internment camp during World War II would offer such useful insight, 65 years later, in determining the direction America is headed? In reflecting on this week’s second round of Muslim radicalization hearings, planned by New York Rep. Peter King, I feel as if a mirror is being held up to my life, giving value to lessons learned as a child.

Make no mistake. Growing up in internment Camp Amache in Colorado was no joy ride — just look at the pictures. We were treated like cattle in those camps. Never mind that we were born in America. Never mind that we were patriotic Americans and law-abiding citizens. Never mind that we were constructively contributing to the American economy. Despite all this, hundreds of thousands of Americans suddenly became the enemy at the height of the war, with no cause, no crime, and no constitutional protection.

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1 reply

  1. STORY HIGHLIGHTS from CNN.com
    1. Michael Honda and his family were sent to an internment camp during World War II
    2, Japanese-Americans were treated like cattle; today we know it was wrong, he writes
    3. Honda: Same un-American impulse drives Rep. King’s “Muslim radicalization” hearings
    4. Honda supports hearings on radicalization, just not those that target one group

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