Bill Morem’s reminder (Feb. 16) about the executive order that led to Japanese internment in 1942 struck home. Like many of those interned, my grandparents were immigrants, coming here from Austria about the same time their countryman, Adolf Hitler, emigrated to Germany. Yet when the United States was fighting Hitler’s Germany, my grandparents were not “relocated” and their property was not seized as was that of Morem’s father’s Japanese golf buddy and tens of thousands of others.
Like more than half of those Japanese interned, my father was born here. But, rather than sitting out the war in a high-desert “relocation camp,” he worked in a critical skills position in the defense industry.
EO 9066 says nothing about the Japanese and speaks only of the need for “national-defense,” authorizing the secretary of war and military commanders to exclude “any or all persons” from whatever areas they should designate to be of military significance. Nevertheless, more than 120,000 Japanese were “relocated.” In contrast, only about 5,000 Germans or persons of German descent were interned. That “craven racism and fear” were responsible for this disparity is undeniable, and Morem is right to see similar forces at work in the wake of Sept. 11.
professor emeritus, Cal Poly history department, San Luis Obispo
Uses for Trib bags
In reply to the letter of Feb. 18, regarding the plastic wrappers of the newspaper, I’d like to suggest a few uses for the bags:
First, the plastic material is classified as No. 4 and recyclable. Collect them for a few days and deposit them in the recycling bins of the grocery stores.
Second, use them to pick up smaller pets’ droppings. I have never had one tear on me!
Third, use them for small, smelly kitchen waste, thereby saving a bigger trash bag.
And finally, I like to read a dry newspaper, not a soggy mess from the rain or sprinklers!
Try tough love
The past few nights, I’ve been reminded on the news that another singer/movie star died because of alcohol and drug abuse. Why do we focus so much on how sad it is to lose someone famous, watching them perform in the past, instead of attempting to teach our children and other loved ones how important it is to address alcohol and drug abuse?
When a family pulls together and intervenes to help the drug or alcohol abuser to seek treatment, the outcome sometimes has a happier ending. Tough love, instead of accepting and enabling an abuser to use drugs and alcohol, works. We should focus on the fact that children and addicts must seek help if they abuse drugs and alcohol, and there are plenty of centers where counselors will attempt to save lives.
Let’s not celebrate what a beautiful voice Whitney Houston had; let’s grieve over the loss her family, her daughter and her friends are suffering because they weren’t able to convince her to seek help. That may have saved her life and her beautiful voice.