Thursday, September 27, 2007

Iva Toguri - a hateful prosecution

Iva Toguri was an American citizen caught in Japan at the outbreak of World War II. She had graduated from UCLA with a degree in Zoology and had hoped to go to medical school. Her situation was made worse by the fact that not only was her Japanese extremely poor but she hated Japanese food. Despite her Japanese ancestry, she was an all-American girl and even born on the 4th of July. Ironic isn't it? So because she would not relinquish her American citizenship the Imperial Japanese government refused to provide her a food ration card and placed her on the domestic enemies list. Eventually she found work at a Japanese broadcasting station along with many other English speaking women who were collectively labeled - Tokyo Rose. At the end of the war, the US military deemed that her war-time radio broadcasts were not propaganda and saw absolutely no reason to prosecute her. However, due to residual anger over the war, she was nonetheless prosecuted for treason when she returned to the United States at the end of the war. It was a vicious and wrongful prosecution - plain and simple.

She then lost her very young child due to illness and then went to prison where she also lost her future. She was pardoned in 1977 yet, even today, the absurdity of her vilification by the US government is still sometimes propagated. Worse yet, her vilification occurred at the badgering of a member of the media. It is particularly disturbing when the institutions of a democracy are used by individuals or small groups for the purposes of vengence and vindictiveness.

My heart trembles greatest for those people who suffer the tide of civilization’s blind momentum and, through no fault of their own, have their dreams and aspirations ripped from them. Today is the anniversary of Iva Toguri’s death.
- Just a peasant
Iva Toguri (July 4th, 1916 - September 26th, 2006)