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Sunday, June 1, 2008

Sunday Offering #56: Solidarity at Manzanar

On April 23 I posted the thread, "On My Way To My First Pilgrimage to Manzanar"

For lack of better words, I have not written about the weekend, because I cannot put it in to words.

A pilgrimage is supposed to be a life-changing event. It is also supposed to be something that you experience inwardly. That weekend for me was both, but also a weekend of coming together in solidarity like none that I can personally describe.

You can read accounts of the weekend from others HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE

You can see the opening of the program and the Japanese drummers HERE, hear Mary Nomuro, the "Songbird of Manzanar" sing HERE, watch part of the interfaith prayer at the monument HERE,
watch the "Ondo" a traditional Japanese coal miner's dance HERE. (a few minutes into it)

But the crowning glory of the weekend is in this below video, as all of us sat in the grassy quad area of Lone Pine High School, after the events at Manzanar itself, and then Manzanar at Dusk which was at the high school. We watched a short documentary about the music teacher at Manzanar and then broke in to groups. There were former internees, Japanese Americans who were not interred, other participants and a group of over 100 Muslims from CAIR Los Angeles. For about two hours, people just talked, asked questions, and came together.

This was a weekend of testifying, listening and learning. A weekend of solidarity between Japanese Americans and Muslims.................the message..............that never again shall what occurred to the Japanese in WWII EVER occur to anyone else.

This video is the closing of the official program for the weekend. You could feel it, you could hear it, the call to coming together...........except for the beautiful young woman singing to George's flute, no other sound was made.

After Manzanar at Dusk, we all went back to the motel and got ready for dinner. I went with my friends from NCRR and we had dinner at the Bonanza Restaurant which CAIR LA closed down just for our large group..........more solidarity. In the morning, the CAIR bus left at a little bit after nine, but not before we all got to talk to each other more in the parking lot.

Then Pat and Samir and I went back to Manzanar to explore the museum which is an absolute must see. We were also very fortunate, because a gentleman was showing a special screening of his documentary in progress, "From Barbed Wire to Barbed Hooks". Did you know that many at Manzanar snuck out to go fishing? Read the amazing story here on the WEBSITE.

So many years ago, the survivors will not be with us for that much longer. It was a weekend which was amazing beyond words.

Never again......................shall human beings be treated in this way.

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