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George Takei On Why America's Past Is Present

Actor and activist George Takei says "good people have to be actively engaged in the process, sometimes holding democracy's feet to the fire, in order to make it a better, truer democracy."
Actor and activist George Takei says "good people have to be actively engaged in the process, sometimes holding democracy's feet to the fire, in order to make it a better, truer democracy."

When actor George Takei was just five years old, the U.S. government sent him and his family to a Japanese-American internment camp.

The story of what he suffered during World War II is well-known.

So when politicians, pundits and journalists began debating Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s description of modern-day migrant facilities as “concentration camps,” Takei felt compelled to weigh in.

He wrote on Twitter: “I know what concentration camps are. I was inside two of them, in America. And yes, we are operating such camps again.”

In 2014, he spoke with Democracy Now! about what that experience was like:

When we arrived at Rohwer, in the swamps of Arkansas, there were these barb wire fences and sentry towers. But children are amazingly adaptable. And so, the barb wire fence became no more intimidating than a chain link fence around a school playground. And the sentry towers were just part of the landscape. We adjusted to lining up three times a day to eat lousy food in a noisy mess hall. And at school, we began every school day with the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag. I could see the barb wire fence and the sentry towers right outside my schoolhouse window as I recited the words “with liberty and justice for all,” an innocent child unaware of the irony.

Takei is the co-author of a new graphic novel about his imprisonment as a child, titled They Called Us Enemy. We talk with him about the book and his perspective on migrant children in U.S. custody now.

Produced by Kathryn Fink.

GUESTS

George Takei, Actor, “Star Trek”; co-author, “They Called Us Enemy”; @GeorgeTakei

For more, visit https://the1a.org.

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