Day 25 (only one day to go?!?) of the A to Z Challenge is the letter “Y”:
Y is for Yesterday
I’m sure you’ve read the following saying:
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. ~~George Santayana
This is why I think it’s important to remember our history — even the parts that are not so comfortable to remember, such as the internment of Japanese Americans. As I’ve discussed in many of my presentations, I doubt there is a single one of us who would say that a group of Americans should ever be interned behind barbed wire again. But how often have we seen signs of the slippery slope that could lead to such an abuse of civil liberties?
During a question and answer session at a recent reading of The Red Kimono, an audience member asked me if I harbor any anger or resentment over what happened. Though I understood why she would ask the question, I was kind of surprised by it. Perhaps it’s because it didn’t happen to me directly. And though I’ve seen my mother’s tears at her recollection of those years, she didn’t ever speak of it in an angry or resentful way, so that wasn’t passed down to me.
I didn’t write The Red Kimono as a “scolding” for what happened, but as a reminder of what could happen if we hold prejudices against people, fear them because we don’t understand them.
I understand that kind of fear. I’ve felt it myself, and will even admit to feeling some security when certain civil liberties are limited for the sake of protection. That’s the very reason it’s important to remember where the slippery slope can take us . . . if we don’t remember yesterday.
Forget the times of your distress, but never forget what they taught you.~~Herbert Gesser