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Shame of a Nation
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Fall 1998
Shame of a Nation
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Professor of documentary film in the School of Theater, Film and Television, Robert A. Nakamura M.F.A. '75 was 6 when his family was taken from their home in Los Angeles and sent to Manzanar. It fell to Nakamura to compile the home movies incorporated into the CD-ROM. It was an emotional experience - not only for Nakamura.

"People are incredulous," he says. "They cannot believe it. They ask, 'Where did this happen?' They cannot comprehend that it took place in the United States." That, says Karen Ishizuka, curator of the Japanese American National Museum exhibit, is exactly why Executive Order 9066 is such an important educational tool. The essence, she says, is that people not forget this happened in a country with a strong constitution and a democratic government.

"It goes back to Martin Niemoeller's quote during World War II: 'They came for the Communists, but I wasn't a Communist - so I didn't object; They came for the Socialists, but I wasn't a Socialist - so I didn't object; They came for the trade union leaders, but I wasn't a trade union leader - so I didn't object; They came for the Jews, but I wasn't a Jew - so I didn't object; Then they came for me - and there was no one left to object.

"I don't want children growing up thinking this was something that happened a long time ago to another people and is just a part of history," Ishizuka says. "We all need to understand that if we are not vigilant this is something that could happen again."

The CD-ROM can be ordered from the Japanese American National Museum at (800) 461-5266.


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