George Takei Slams Roanoke Mayor’s Invoking of Japanese Internment: ‘We Loved America’


George Takei 2Star Trek star and Japanese-American George Takei responded to the mayor of Roanoke’s positive comments about Japanese internment camps during WWII.

On Wednesday, Democratic mayor David Bowers invoked president Franklin D. Roosevelt‘s “sequester [of] Japanese foreign nationals after the bombing of Pearl Harbor” in a statement on the city’s reevaluation of admitting Syrian refugees. The comments were made in response to concerns expressed by state governors about the White House’s refugee resettlement program following Friday’s deadly Paris attacks.

Takei, whose family was interned at camps in Arkansas and California during the early 1940s, responded to Bowers’ comments on his Facebook page with a point-by-point criticism:

1) The internment (not a “sequester”) was not of Japanese “foreign nationals,” but of Japanese Americans, two-thirds of whom were U.S. citizens. I was one of them, and my family and I spent 4 years in prison camps because we happened to look like the people who bombed Pearl Harbor. It is my life’s mission to never let such a thing happen again in America.

2) There never was any proven incident of espionage or sabotage from the suspected “enemies” then, just as there has been no act of terrorism from any of the 1,854 Syrian refugees the U.S. already has accepted. We were judged based on who we looked like, and that is about as un-American as it gets.

3) If you are attempting to compare the actual threat of harm from the 120,000 of us who were interned then to the Syrian situation now, the simple answer is this: There was no threat. We loved America. We were decent, honest, hard-working folks. Tens of thousands of lives were ruined, over nothing.

The Takei family’s experience later inspired the musical Allegiance, which premiered in 2012 and made it to Broadway in 2015. So the actor made sure to plug the show with a personal invitation for Bowers to attend a showing as Takei’s personal guest.

[h/t George Takei on Facebook]
[Image via screengrab]

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