Watch Muslim kids read letters from Japanese internment camp survivors

Source: Los Angeles Times

Sonali Kohli

The Japanese American children who spent years in World War II internment camps were hopeful.

Some thought racial discrimination would end after the war, they wrote in letters about their daily lives. But now, the grown-up survivors are seeing another group endure isolation and hatred: Muslim Americans.

That link is illustrated by the Muslim American children , ages 7-13, in filmmaker Frank Chi’s video, as they read the letters aloud with internment camp survivors (not the writers of the original letters).

The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center posted Chi’s video on its Facebook page this week. It’s part of a Memorial Day exhibit called CrossLines: A Culture Lab on Intersectionality, and it’s meant to remind people that hateful words aren’t just words — they can cause real fear and harm.

In a November statement arguing against allowing Syrian refugees into the country, a Virginia mayor referenced the internment camps. After the San Bernardino terrorist attack and since, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump called for a ban on Muslims entering the U.S.

Camp survivors say this language is too similar to what they heard decades ago.“If you ask me, ‘Could this happen again to youngsters?’ The answer is absolutely yes,” said Rep. Mike Honda (D-San Jose). “When we let down our guard as citizens and political leaders … bad things happen.”

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