Muslim children reading letters from WWII says a lot about the modern world

After the bombing of Pearl Harbour in 1941, the US rounded up Japanese Americans - the vast majority of them citizens or permanent residents - into internment camps.

As children in San Diego were being carted onto trains, a librarian called Clara Estelle Breed handed out self-addressed and stamped postcards to the kids she'd got to know at the library, making them promise to write to her.

They did. Breed received hundreds of letters before the end of WWII, describing life in the camps and hopes of a better future, which are now owned by the Smithsonian and Japanese American National Museums.

The letters are very moving. But they have taken on a new poignancy thanks to the work of filmmaker Frank Chi, who has got elderly survivors as well as Muslim American children to read them out loud in a powerful commentary on Islamophobia and the face of modern racism called From the Camps.

Dear Miss Breed, thank you ever so much for your lovely card... I hope you had a nice Thanksgiving, even though the world is in such turmoil.

Now there is a fence all around this camp. I hope very soon this fence will be torn down.

But I’m sure when this war is over, there will be no racial discrimination, and we won’t have to doubt for a minute the great principles of democracy.

Hate crime and discrimination against Muslims is on the rise acrossthewesternworld - and of course, presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump has suggested that all Muslims be banned from entering the US on the grounds of security reasons.

Speaking to the Huffington Post, Chi said he wanted as many people as possible to watch and think about the film's message of hope and love over fear and hate:

For Muslim children, who’re afraid that who they are will get them hurt... For Japanese Americans, who want to memorialise the experience of their families. Even for those who are inclined to vilify or hate. I hope this video reminds us that we are all human beings trying to do the best for our families.

Hate is making a comeback in America. It’s more important now than ever that we respond to that hate with love. Making ‘Letters from Camp’ was my act of love. I hope it can move others to do the same in their own way.

You can check it out below:

Keep reading...Show less
Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)