I am listening/ reading to “How to Hide an Empire” by Daniel Immerwahr and it has been quite fascinating. Learnt a lot of new things from it but today I learnt about the Aleutian internment by the US during WWII. Crazy! Turns out Japan had occupied parts of Alaska during WWII and so the US government moved the Aleuts, who were actually US citizens as Alaska is a part of the US, to internment camps “for their own protection“
Whenever someone says “for your own protection” I feel like there’s an implied nod and wink there. It’s the same excuse people give one another in movies or TV shows for instance when they don’t come clean about something, or in situations like the above when one country oppresses over another (or its citizens) for their own protection. It’s why the US ruled over the Philippines for instance – for their own protection, as the Filipinos were not suitable to govern themselves! Speaking of which… I didn’t know until I read this book that the Philippines used to be a part of the US. And that Japan had attacked the Philippines some 9 hours after Pearl Harbor and inflicted a lot more damage apparently.
Something else on a related vein that I learnt some months ago was the internment of the Japanese living on Terminal Island. I had learnt of this from the TV show “The Terror: Infamy” but I remembered this because something similar happened in the Philippines too during WWII – the US military rounded up Filipinos of Japanese ancestry even though they had nothing to do with Japan as such.
None of this is ofcourse a rant against the US. Similar stories have happened with the British Empire too (“Empire” by Niall Ferguson is a good book to read as is “Inglorious Empire” by Shashi Tharoor) and in general I don’t think it’s just a case of these empires vs others… I think it’s just a reflection of how people in general are people. There are good human beings of course, but on the whole we are easily manipulatable, emotional, angry, willing to harm others for whatever cause or belief we believe in … and it is a case of dog eat dog coz if you don’t do it someone else will do it to you.
Anyways, that’s my morning rant for today. I thought I should put this down because I am sure I’ll forget all this in a day or two. As I grow older I have realized that my memory is worser than it used to be. I forget things fast, and while I have read/ listened to many books if you were to ask me to summarize them or recall specific things I learnt from them even a couple of days after I read them, I would be at a loss. I didn’t want to forget the above without at least making a note somewhere for my future self so here goes. :)