English 111 FJW21
22 February 2015
Farewell to Manzanar: Injustice
A democracy is more than just a set of specific government rules, it rests upon a well-understood group of values, attitudes, and practices all of which may take different forms and expressions among cultures and societies around the world but stand as one. America abandoned principles when they forced Japanese citizens out of their homes and to run down and unsafe camps with false promises surrounded by strangers and barbed wire. Imagine, waking up one day and being told that you must remove yourself from your residence is a huge injustice to the innocent Japanese families that were forced to attend Manzanar one of the ten internment camps built to contain the Japanese immigrants because of suspicion. According to “Farewell to Manzanar”, Jeanne describes her gruesome memories of her rights being taking from her as well as her father’s freedom. In order to maintain a democracy one must have a choice as well as a voice and in this case they were forced to live in unsanitary housing for years based off of suspicion.
Also, the government was wrong to have held these citizens because the Japanese families were scared and were manipulated into believing they were being protected. Though, the government used social order by enforcing the law upon these families by exercising sovereignty over its territory. These internees were sent to camp without any valid reason and all social structures were broken. Instead, referring to “Farewell to Manazar,” Jeanne describes the terrible camp conditions such as holes in the floor with sand coming through them and no privacy when using the restroom, forced to live with over a 100 strangers in each building, and sometimes over 200 a building. Also, families were beginning to separate in order to remain sane and live a normal life within the camp, the author referred to these activities as mess halls where they cooked in the cafeteria, played baseball, and other social events making the situation the best they could. There were many who volunteered to do daily jobs in hopes of keeping the camp together, they worked hard and received a very low wage; from sewing, to cooking classes, to caring for the sick they did what they could for each other. In order to survive, they had to form these as an escape to the world the once lived in.
Surprisingly, many Internees didn’t understand what was going on originally, all they knew was that you have one week to be packed up and ready to go. Some of the internees ordered to go to the camps actually didn’t know exactly where, or why they had to leave, they just knew that