Japanese-American elders protest outside Fort Sill internment camp: ‘Stop repeating history’
A group of Japanese-American elders who survived being thrown into internment camps by their own government protested at Oklahoma’s Fort Sill on Saturday, the site of a former World War II internment camp that the Trump administration plans on reopening to jail at least 1,400 migrant children.
The activists and their allies came to warn, and for that reason refused to leave the site, even when insulted by U.S. military police. “You need to move right now!” an officer identified by Democracy Now! as Keyes screamed at the Japanese-American activists. “What don’t you understand? It’s English: Get out.” When undeterred survivors continued speaking, Keyes twice yelled, “What don’t you people understand?”
The activists understood very well, thanks. That’s why they were there. “I am a former child incarceree during World War II,” said Dr. Satsuki Ina. “This is a photograph of me when I was imprisoned. Seventy-five years ago, 120,000 of us were removed from our homes and forcefully incarcerated in prison camps across the country. We are here today to protest the repetition of history.”
The activists carried with them thousands of origami cranes “as a symbol of solidarity,” which were among the same cranes that the activists, including Dr. Ina, hung outside a migrant family jail in Texas last March. A banner that was also hung outside that facility reading, “Never again is now,” a message they echoed outside Fort Sill.