Is history repeating itself?
The powerful statement opens a short film that recounts the fates of Japanese-Americans who were forced into internment camps during World War II and reflects upon Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric.
Director Aya Tanimura, a Japanese Australian filmmaker and writer, was inspired to create the powerful PSA after she heard about the ever-growing and ominous possibility of a Muslim registry under Trump’s presidency.
With the help of actress Katy Perry, who gave her team a blank check to fund the project, Tanimura was able to give life to her video, which features, Haru Kuromiya, one of the Japanese survivors of the World War II atrocity.
The now 89-year-old Kuromiya grew up in a chicken farm in Riverside, California, and she detailed her ordeal in the video.
In 1942, Kuromiya’s father was picked up by the FBI and her entire family was put on registry, given physical tags and then placed in internment camps. They even had to leave their pets behind and they had no constitutional rights.
“It all started with fear and rumors, then it bloomed into the registration,” said Kuromiya.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt, backed by racist sentiments of many civil and military leaders, ordered all people of Japanese ancestry to be incarcerated in “camps” reinforced by barbed wires and armed soldiers.
Their homes, businesses and possessions were confiscated by the government and they were assigned to live in inhabitable places like disused racetracks or filthy stables before being deported to inhumane barracks.
Around 120,000 Japanese people were thrown into camps despite the fact that more than 60 percent were born in the United States.
Now people fear the same thing is happening all over again, this time, with Muslims as targets.
“Trump has created an atmosphere of fear for Muslim Americans in the United States,” Tanimura told The Times. “The accountability and responsibility for what you say and do now has been lifted so people feel a little freer to be racist, or act upon racism, because there are not necessarily consequences for it — it’s just acceptable behavior. If laws are put in place to back that up, it will be pretty scary.”
The video ends with Kuromiya transforming into a Muslim woman, played by Pakistani actress Hina Khan, who urges the public to “don’t let history repeat itself.”
The PSA has gotten a lot of praise from internet users.
#dontnormalizehate because we are stronger together ????— Renzo Pahuacho (@RenzoPahuacho) January 12, 2017
so proud of katy— bé is the OA (@buteradvices) January 12, 2017
i stan an amazing woman #DONTNORMALIZEHATE
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters