Posts Tagged ‘Japanese Americans’

Farage and Charlie Kirk Stir Up Racial Tensions with Accusations of Chinese Responsibility for the Coronavirus

March 20, 2020

As if the disease itself, and the fear and uncertainty caused by the measures by the measures countries all across the world have been forced to adopt to combat the Coronavirus aren’t enough, certain figures on the British and American political right have decided to make the situation worse by throwing around groundless accusations about responsibility for the outbreak. Nigel Farage, owner of the Brexit Party Ltd, and the odious Charlie Kirk, have declared that the Chinese are responsible for it. Zelo Street put up a piece about this latest revolting development, as Benjamin J. Grimm, your blue-eyed, ever-lovin’ Thing used to put it, yesterday.

Almost predictably, it appears to have begun with a comment Trump put out over Twitter. In flat contradiction to everything he had previously said, Trump declared that he had always taken ‘the Chinese virus’ very seriously. One Twitter commenter, who went by the monicker of BrooklynDad_defiant, told Trump that the disease was called the Coronavirus or Covid-19 if he found the first name too difficult. He was endangering Chinese-Americans, and had dismissed the virus as a hoax, claimed it was down to zero and that it had been contained. None of this was true.

Then the Fuhrage decided to put his oar in. He tweeted that corporate America was standing with their President in this emergency, unlike the UK, and that Rishi Sunak’s relief measures were in line with those of France. Which ignore the fact, as Zelo Street reminded us, that the French government isn’t offering loans to help out businesses. And then Farage went to his default position of blaming foreigners, and claimed that the Chinese were responsible. He tweeted “It really is about time we all said it. China caused this nightmare. Period”. And then followed this with “It is time we all challenged the Chinese regime. Enough is enough”. He followed this up by retweeting an approving tweet from Charlie Kirk, the poster boy for the right-wing organisation, Turning Point USA, who said

In the age of Trump -we’ve learned that the media is hellbent on spreading disinformation and lies. So if we don’t speak the truth, who will? [Nigel Farage] is right and its time we all listen: China caused this pandemic. They should be forced to pay”.

Zelo Street remarked about this display of racism that Farage and Kirk wouldn’t know the truth if it kicked them squarely in the crotch. They are good, however, at screaming ‘liar!’ and ‘Fake news’ at media organisations they dislike in order to rile up their bases. The Sage of Crewe concluded

‘The situation with Covid-19 is serious. It is serious enough that no responsible politician should be going anywhere near leveraging it to whip up the mob.

That Nigel Farage is doing just that tells you all you need to know about where he’s at.’

He’s exactly right, as he began the article with a quotation from the South Korean Foreign Minister, Kang Kyung-wha on the Andrew Marr Show, expressing her concern about a rise in racially motivated attacks on Asians in other countries in response to the crisis. She naturally wanted governments to crack down on it, because it was helping the spirit of collaboration the world needs to combat the crisis.

https://zelo-street.blogspot.com/2020/03/farage-uses-crisis-to-whip-up-mob.html

She isn’t alone in these fears. A few days ago I received a message from the anti-racist, anti-religious extremism organisation, Hope Not Hate, describing what they were going to do as a response to the virus. They aren’t just trying to help combat the virus itself, as very many other organisations and charities are also doing, but are trying to expose and tackle the way the crisis is being exploited by Fascist groups. The email said of this part of their work

For example, we’ll be releasing new content on how extremists use the messaging app Telegram to promote terrorism next week. At the same time, we’re adapting our work, conducting research on how the far right are responding to COVID-19 and any way in which they may be weaponsing it. Because of the nature of the virus we are also increasing our research into conspiracy theories. We hope that these areas will allow us to counter how forces of hate are seeking to use this global pandemic.

Now you would have thought that Trump would have been more careful before he blamed the Chinese for the virus. I can remember how George W. Bush during his tenure of the White House 12 years and more ago made an official apology to Japanese-Americans condemning their internment during World War II. It was an apology Japanese-American activists like Star Trek’s George Takei had fought long and hard for. The last thing Trump should be doing is trying to reopen old wounds about his country’s treatment of Asian Americans, and no politico on either side of the Pond should be trying to stir up racial tensions at this time anyway.

The Chinese Communist regime is responsible for any number of atrocities and horrors, from the invasion of Tibet, the genocide of the Uighurs, the suppression of democracy in Hong Kong and the mass deaths of the Cultural Revolution. But it is definitely not responsible for the Coronavirus. The Chinese have made massive efforts to contain and eradicate it, even isolating the province in which it emerged, Wuhan. I’ve also heard nothing to suggest that they have been nothing but entirely collaborative with other nations in the global attempts to combat this disease.

I think Trump called the Coronavirus the ‘Chinese disease’ simply out of stupidity and laziness. He couldn’t remember, or couldn’t be bothered to remember, what it was really called. But Farage and Kirk just seem to have blamed the Chinese out of sheer racism.

This is immensely dangerous, when people are as isolated, vulnerable and fearful as they are now, and Farage and Kirk are to be condemned for their inflammatory, bigoted remarks.

George Takei Condemns Trump’s Plan for Muslim Registry

November 22, 2016

A few days ago, one of Trump’s stormtroopers caused massive outrage by citing the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II as a precedent for the imposition of a Muslim registry. This is a clip from an American news programme, in which George Takei, who played Mr Sulu in Star Trek, along with many other roles, condemns this vile proposal. Takei’s a Japanese-American, and he and his family, like about 120,000 others, were interned. He states this was a terrible crime, and reminds the viewer that Ronald Reagan publicly apologised for it and paid reparations to the surviving victims in the 1980s. He states clearly that America is a country of law and due process, which internment and Muslim registration massively violate. He makes it clear that Japanese-American internment should never be used as a precedent, as it can only be such for persecution and injustice. He states further that he has been speaking about Japanese-American internment for most of his life, including recently at Penn State college, in the hope that it would never happen again. Now this seems a real threat, and he urges all Americans to come together to prevent his occurring.

The programme also shows that Trump has no clear idea how to go about it either. When asked if he would just register Muslims by going to the mosques, Trump merely says, ‘No, but other places’. Takei rightly condemns this as the criminalisation of entire religion.

Trump and the Rounding Up of Arabs and Muslims in America after 9/11

February 21, 2016

I’ve been blogging about Trump’s Fascist demands to prevent Muslims entering the US on the grounds that they represent a terrorist threat, simply through the actions of what is a tiny number of extremists. He also wants Muslims already in America to be registered. Along with his comments about building a wall to keep out Mexicans, his organisation’s suspicion of Black workers, and the violence he has encouraged at his rallies against protestors and journalists, it is fair to call Trump what he is: a Fascist. Jewish Americans have been particularly alarmed at his violent xenophobia, and a little while ago there were demonstrations organised by Jews in 17 American cities.

Trumps demands for the exclusion and state surveillance of Muslims can be traced back to Dubya’s attack on civil liberties in the name of preventing terrorist after 9/11. John Kampfner in his his book Freedom for Sale: How We Made Money and Lost Our Liberty describes how the American state began rounding up suspicious persons. 80,000 people were rounded up in police dragnets across America. Most of them were Middle Eastern, mostly illegally immigrants working in corner shops, petrol stations and for trucking companies. The authorities also received over 100,000 phone calls and emails tipping them off to the presence of suspect characters. In the event, none of those arrested were charged with terrorism.

Kampfner states that in these cases

The notions of guilt and innocence were discarded. The overriding priority was to prevent, at all costs, the suspect from getting away. If the wrong people were locked up as a consequence, so be it. The notion of pre-emptive justice had been created without going through any democratic or political checks and balances. (p. 235).

He also describes how he met a radio producer, and the problems she had had getting a documentary she was making on the difficulties Arabs and Palestinians were experiencing in America broadcast. She had found several cases where Arabs had been arrested and held by the authorities without charge, and their families not informed where they were. Her editors at the station were sceptical and incredulous, as they didn’t believe this could happen in America. When she showed that it could and was, she was asked to tone it down. The programme was eventually broadcast, but only locally and non nationally. (p. 235-6).

Kampfner also describes discussing the situation with Eric Foner, a writer on the issue of freedom and the long history of the political persecution of minority groups in America. Foner mentioned the parallels between the mass internment of Arabs and that of Japanese-Americans in the Second World War. Foner pointed out that the majority of Americans were still in favour of such clampdowns on personal liberty in emergencies. He describes going to the International Spy Museum in Washington. On the interactive computers placed around the museum was a quiz, which included the question whether the American government had the right to detail indefinitely the enemies of America. Of the 30,000 or so people, who had taken the quiz, 60% were in favour. (p. 241). It’s an anecdote intended to show that in America, attacks on personal freedoms can be popular with a sizable section of the American public.

Trump’s Fascism is therefore tapping into a vein of paranoid xenophobia that has been present in America since or before the War, and which has only increased with the War on Terror. He’s building on the assaults on liberty led by George Dubya. And if he gets in, you can expect these policies to lead to more disappearances of innocent people, held without charge, simply on the grounds of their ethnicity or religion. It’s the ‘Nacht und Nebel’ of the Nazis, shifted from 20th century Germany, to America in the 21st.

Trump Goes in Search of Hitler’s Brain

December 10, 2015

Trump’s comments about banning Muslims from entering America and having them registered, as well as the rest of his viciously xenophobic agenda, has prompted an increasing number of people to attack and criticise him. His opponents are drawing the obvious parallels between Trump’s policies, and those of Nazi Germany as well as the worst aspects of American history. George Takei, who played Mr Sulu in the Classic Star Trek series, has pointed out its similarity to the shameful American internment of Japanese Americans during the Second World War. The news anchor Tom Brokaw has also pointed out how much like this policy Trump’s anti-Muslim stance is, as well as its resemblance to the Nazi persecution of the Jews, and the official racist discrimination against Black Americans during Segregation and Jim Crow.

And cartoonists are also using their skills to make this point. Here’s one I found on 1000 Natural Shocks (Over 18 site). It’s based on the classic bad movie, They Saved Hitler’s Brain, which is so hilariously bad that it was screened over here in the 1980s as part of Michael Medved’s ‘The Worst of Hollywood’ series of classic bad films. Here it is.

Trump Hitler's Brain