The Asian reporter. (Portland, Or.) 1991-current, February 03, 2014, Page Page 6, Image 6

Below is the OCR text representation for this newspapers page. It is also available as plain text as well as XML.

February 3, 2014
Volume 24 Number 3
February 3, 2014
ISSN: 1094-9453
The Asian Reporter is published on
the first and third Monday each month.
Please send all correspondence to: The Asian Reporter
922 N Killingsworth Street, Suite 1A, Portland, OR 97217
Phone: (503) 283-4440, Fax: (503) 283-4445
News Department e-mail:
Advertising Department e-mail:
General e-mail:
Please send reader feedback, Asian-related press releases, and
community interest ideas/stories to the addresses listed above.
Please include a contact phone number.
Advertising information available upon request.
Publisher Jaime Lim
Contributing Editors
Ronault L.S. Catalani (Polo), Jeff Wenger
Ian Blazina, Josephine Bridges, Pamela Ellgen, Maileen Hamto,
Edward J. Han, A.P. Kryza, Marie Lo, Simeon Mamaril,
Julie Stegeman, Toni Tabora-Roberts, Allison Voigts
Illustrator Jonathan Hill
News Service Associated Press/Newsfinder
Copyright 2014. Opinions expressed in this newspaper are
those of the authors and not necessarily those of this publication.
Associated Press/Newsfinder
Asian American Journalists Association
Better Business Bureau
Pacific Northwest Minority Publishers (PNMP)
Philippine American Chamber of Commerce of Oregon
The Asian Reporter welcomes reader response and participation.
Please send all correspondence to:
Mail: 922 N Killingsworth, Suite 1A, Portland, OR 97217-2220
Phone: (503) 283-4440 ** Fax: (503) 283-4445
News Department e-mail:
General e-mail:
Individual subscription (sent bulk rate):
q Half year: $14
q Full year: $24
q Two years: $40
Individual subscription (sent first class mail):
q Half year: $24
q Full year: $40
q Two years: $72
Office subscription (5 copies to one address):
q Half year: $40
q Full year: $75
q Two years: $145
Institutional subscription (25 copies to one address):
q Half year: $100 q Full year: $180
q Two years: $280
Subscriber’s name:
Company name:
City, State, ZIP:
Mail with payment or Fax with credit card information to:
The Asian Reporter, Attn: Subscription Dept.,
922 N Killingsworth Street, Suite 1A, Portland, OR 97217-2220
Phone: (503) 283-4440 * Fax: (503) 283-4445
q q q
For VISA, Mastercard, or American Express payment only:
Name (as it appears on the card):
Type of card (circle):
Card number:
American Express
Security code:
Expiration date:
Address of card:
The last four issues of The Asian Reporter are available
for pick up free at our office 24 hours a day at
922 N Killingsworth, Suite 1A, Portland, Oregon.
Back issues of The Asian Reporter
may be ordered by mail at the following rates: First copy: $1.50
Additional copies ordered at the same time: $1.00 each
Send orders to: Asian Reporter Back Issues,
922 N. Killingsworth St., Suite 1A, Portland, OR 97217-2220
The Asian Reporter welcomes reader response and
participation. If you have a comment on a story
we have printed, or have an Asian-related personal
or community focus idea, please contact us.
Please include a contact name, address, and
phone number on all correspondence. Thank you.
n Marie Lo
Guantánomo Bay in
Asian-American history
n January 22, 2009, President Obama
issued an executive order declaring he
would shut down the detention camp at
Guantánomo Bay Naval Base in Cuba within a
year. That was more than five years ago, and as a
result of the stalemate in Washington, the prison
with 155 detainees remains open, quietly receding
from the public consciousness. Let this year, as
President Obama noted in last month’s State of the
Union address, be the year the prison at
Guantánomo Bay closes.
According to Human Rights Watch, only six of the
155 detainees face formal charges while the rest
continue to be held without charge and without
trial. Detained indefinitely without due process and
without the opportunity to respond to charges
against them, the men are essentially held under
the discretion of the government with little external
judicial review over the legality of the government’s
actions. According to many legal scholars and
human-rights activists, these actions violate U.S.
constitutional law as well as international law.
The justification for “indefinite detention” has
been the extraordinary events of September 11,
2001, which necessitated extreme measures to
preserve national security in the face of the new
global terror. But, I would suggest, what appears
“extreme” is not so extreme when one thinks about
the detention center in Guantánomo Bay in relation
to the other “camps” in American history, namely
the Japanese-American internment camps during
World War II and the Angel Island Immigration
Station, which operated between 1910 and 1940 in
San Francisco Bay. Set in this context, what may
appear to be an anomaly may, in fact, parallel other
earlier government responses to “foreign
invasions.” What connects them is the discourse of
Orientalism, in which a homogenized “east” is
persistently figured as both a threat to national
security and to the foundational values of western
During World War II, Japanese Americans were
forcibly removed from their homes and interned due
to the “security threat” they posed to the United
States. Despite the fact that many were U.S.
citizens, they were perceived as inescapably
foreign, unassimilable, and traitorous to the U.S.
Though their internment was justified as a military
necessity and was upheld by the Supreme Court at
the time, legal scholars and historians now note the
extent to which Japanese-American civil liberties
were violated — a fact the U.S. government also
acknowledged in its redress of internment survivors
in 1988.
The Angel Island Immigration Station operated
during the era of Asian exclusion when many
immigrants from Asia (with the exception of
immigrants from the Philippines, which had been
annexed by the United States) were not allowed to
immigrate. Established to enforce exclusion and
process immigrants arriving from across the Pacific
Ocean, Angel Island was a place where Asian
immigrants were detained, interrogated, and
deported based on the sole discretion of
immigration officials. The harsh treatment they
received and the prison-like conditions in which
many of them lived not only reflected the extent to
which they were treated like criminals upon
entering Angel Island, but also how they were
stripped of any rights or recourse to protest against
their treatment.
I’m not arguing that the experiences of these
people are comparable to the detainees at
Guantánomo. The detainees may or may not have
committed violent acts against the United States,
but since no charges have been filed, we cannot
Rather, I’m arguing that there is historical
precedent for human-rights violations and the
suspension of civil liberties based on fears of
“foreign invasion.” And more often than not, the
rights that are suspended belong to “Orientals,”
whose very presence threatens national secu-
Just as early Asian immigrants were perceived as
heathens and morally degenerate, incapable of
assimilating the ideals of democracy and freedom,
so too are these recent detainees, who have been
portrayed as so essentially evil and violent that they
are beyond the protection of our judicial system; to
allow them representation would somehow lead to
the destruction of western civilization.
What these camps also share is the language of
criminality that gave rise to their construction,
linking immigrants, criminals, and terrorists such
that that the terms become interchangeable. The
result is that Asians are not just “perpetual foreign-
ers,” but also potential invaders and criminals or, in
more contemporary terms, terrorists.
We need to only recall Capt. James Yee, a Muslim
chaplain who visited the detainees and was
imprisoned in solitary confinement on suspicion of
treason but was later freed and exonerated. By the
same token, when we think of a terrorist, we rarely
imagine that he or she could be white and American.
The terrorist is indelibly a racial other, possibly
inhuman, and thus not in need of human-rights
Continued on page 7
Opinions expressed in this newspaper are those of the authors and not necessarily those of this publication.