"To see what is right and not to do it is cowardice." -- Confucius

Monday, November 22, 2010

Frank Chin

 My friends told me not to say what I intended because, as one wrote:
"Defiance and Justice, and you may be right in what you say but your remarks appear to attack and belittle allies to the cause at a time when we should be coming together at least for one moment of respect before going back to debating the great questions of our time.
 "But you to try to egg on your audience by calling people who have contributed to unearthing the truth about the camps and the JACL betrayal timid, or cowards (because they did not name names as Hohri has done) antagonizes rather than inspires the very people who care about carrying this torch forward.  It's worse than a roughing the passer penalty.  You hurt your own credibility by appearing to tear down the reputations of fighters of this injustice (Weglyn, Omori and others each in their own way).  , I would attend the celebration if I could.  I agree it's a bad day at Black Rock - and I have seen the movie.  But I would extoll the virtues of the hero without pointing out the deficiencies of fellow travelers in this particular venue.  Perhaps at another time, another place."
 I told my friends  what I told the JACL, the Resisters and William Hohri….that if I find and verify evidence that they were not what they said they were, I wouldn't hesitate to set it to words.  I looked for years and luckily found the resisters were straight with me. And JACL save Dr.  Clifford Uyeda was not.  William Hohri was straighter than straight with me. In fact, he didn't hesitate to tell me I was wrong, when he disagreed with me. And he disagreed mightily with me concerning the JACL.
 Wiilliam Hohri’s column onthe Monument was the first instance of a Japanese American  naming  Mike  Masaoka the leader of a Japanese American betrayal.  When he did that, all his supporters let out a collective "whew!" and felt a little braver than they'd been in public, in print, in their works.  His straight talk, coming when it did, puts all the work by Japanese Americans protesting the camps, the JACL , the case for and against the resisters in context with Japanese American ideals and the spoken truth.. 
 Would the Founding Fathers of American democracy,  be the founding Fathers, would the Declaration of Independence, be the defining document it is,   and the US Constitution be model for governing men it is,  if George Washington had accepted the crown as King of the United States and dashed all those good words to dust?  No.
Would he be “the First in war, first in peace, first in hearts of men" if he had accepted a lifetime appointment as President, instead of the two terms he served?  No.   His behavior  made the ideals expressed by the Founding Fathers, the Declaration of Independence, the US Consititution real.
Would MOBY DICK, or THE WHALE, about a motley crew of greedy ne’re do wells, or the paranoid writing of a dope fiend Edgar Allen Poe, or the homosexual battlefield nurse Walt Whitman or any American be read today if Abraham Lincoln had not kept the union together, issued the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing the slaves and won the Civil War?
I am not attacking my friend Lawson Inada or the work of Michi Weglyn, or timidity of Emiko Omori, and Frank Abe, or the novel of David Mura. I ‘m saying , as a critic , that their work will be remembered because William Hohri made the whole of Japanese American history crystal clear by saying what no other Japanese American dared say in public..
I should be talking to the JACL not at Bill’s funeral, I’ve been told.  Bill and Michi’s friends are the wrong audience.  I yield to the voice of people..
 You are the Japanese American people.  You are the real people.
I'm merely a writer, a Chinaman, a witness, a messenger.  A Crow scout reporting to the Sioux.  I will defer my report to the Hohri e-mail., because this scout  does not want to be skinned alive.
 But, as the scout, I have to say:  I have seen Custer. He's  just over  that  ridge about a mile and half and riding this way very hard  and very fast.. William Hohri  your visionary Sitting Bull and  activist Crazy Horse are dead.  The real people can ride to meet Custer or run for their lives.  If you decide to meet Custer, I am your scout, and will write what I witnessed. If you decide to run for your lives, I am your scout, and will write what I witnessed.   And if Custer overruns you, I will write that too, because that is what scouts are supposed to do.

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