Right to Resist: From 9066 to 2017
There were resistors. 75 years after Executive Order 9066, which called upon the military to administer concentration camps for Japanese Americans, it is critical to remember that there were those who refused to show up for mass incarceration, there were those who spoke out against the conditions of their detention, there were those who demanded redress, and there were those who furiously said “never again.”
In 2017, “never again” is not just a slogan for future generations, but a warning for the current one. Today, it is insufficient to just note the uncanny parallels between the past and present. History must not only remind us of atrocity, but also remind us that there are precedents for defying hysteria, misdirection, and the belief that certain ethnic groups can and should have their legal rights stripped from them in the name of national defense.
In that spirit, we present “Right to Resist: From 9066 to 2017,” a day of documentaries and short films that chronicle resistance, from Fred Korematsu’s acts of disobedience to contemporary outrage against post-9/11 internment and racism targeting Muslim Americans and those of South Asian and Middle Eastern descent. Collectively, these works take the Japanese American incarceration and the recent racially-tinged paranoia not as discrete eras, but as a continuum of hate, heartbreak, and distress that has mired our nation from its founding, but that has also inspired its victims to consider more purposefully and imaginatively the paths of resistance that are just as foundational to the nation’s ideals of liberty.
Pardis Parker / Right to Resist: From 9066 to 2017 / Canada / 2008 / comedy / 12 minsAfter finding "Go home Arab" spray-painted on their car, two filmmakers decide to respond the only way they know: through comedy.
Precedes: THE CATS OF MIRIKITANI
THE CATS OF MIRIKITANI
Linda Hattendorf / Right to Resist: From 9066 to 2017 / USA / 2006 / documentary / 74 minsArtist Jimmy Mirikitani spent WWII in Tule Lake, an indeterminate number of years on the streets of New York City, and the post-9/11 months finding renewed purpose and opportunity. That’s when he befriended filmmaker Linda Hattendorf, who asked questions about Jimmy’s art, his family, and his relationship to a country that turned its back on him.
Konrad Aderer / Right to Resist: From 9066 to 2017 / USA / 2011 / documentary / 82 minsAfter 9/11, human rights activist Farouk Abdel-Muhti was one amongst thousands of Muslim immigrants imprisoned in detention centers by the US government. Unwilling to accept that he was a suspect because of his beliefs, Farouk organized a hunger strike and became a symbol of resistance against Homeland Security’s racialized dragnet targeting brown-skinned Americans.
Preceded by: SPEAKING OUT!
LETTERS FROM CAMP
Frank Chin / Right to Resist: From 9066 to 2017 / USA / 2016 / documentary / 3 minsMuslim American youth read letters written by Japanese Americans in the incarceration camps.
Precedes: OF CIVIL WRONGS AND RIGHTS: THE FRED KOREMATSU STORY
OF CIVIL WRONGS AND RIGHTS: THE FRED KOREMATSU STORY
Eric Paul Fournier / Right to Resist: From 9066 to 2017 / USA / 2000 / documentary / 60 minsIn 1942, Fred Korematsu refused to show up to the camps. Over the next 40 years, he took his case to the highest courts in the land, seeking an acknowledgment from the government of what he and thousands of other Japanese Americans knew: that their constitutional rights were violated the moment they were rounded up.
Preceded by: LETTERS FROM CAMP
RESISTANCE AT TULE LAKE
Konrad Aderer / Right to Resist: From 9066 to 2017 / USA / 2017 / documentary / 79 minsTule Lake is where the troublemakers were held. These were the incarcerees who spat at the government’s loyalty questionnaires, who sought a collective voice against injustice, and who questioned the flag that cast a torturous shadow over their families. This is the untold story of courage, controversy, and anger in a “jail within a jail.”
Steve Nagano / Right to Resist: From 9066 to 2017 / USA / 2013 / documentary / 6 minsIn this incredible footage from 1981 government hearings, Japanese American incarcerees refuse to be silenced.
Precedes: ENEMY ALIEN
Robin D'Oench / Right to Resist: From 9066 to 2017 / USA / 2015 / drama / 15 minsAfter the end of WWII, a Japanese American family struggles to restart their lives.
Precedes: THE CATS OF MIRIKITANI