Dream of the Water Children: The Black Pacific

GENERATION NEXUS – Reflections

 

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The Generation Nexus: Peace in the Post War Era event is ongoing through spring of 2014.  The facilities are beautiful.  Approaching the building, the Golden Gate Bridge, Crissy Field, and the waters can be seen, amidst the beautiful hills that are a huge part of the Presidio area in which the Building 640 has been built.

The exhibit itself is worth the visit.  It is a beautiful honor for the Japanese-Americans who participated in the US war efforts in relation to Japanese-American communities, and their role, arguably, in successful American colonization of Japan as well as having a role, along with the Soviet Union (Russia), in stopping the World War in the Pacific.

The Artists’ Panel was inspiring and powerful, with Native-American elders and scholar-artists, as well as Japanese-American artists, participating.  The panelists, as a whole, were well-balanced.  I thank Betty Kano and Roz Tanahashi for a beautiful event.  Betty Kano chose the artists’ panel participants well.  Since the theme was on postwar and peace, the talks were thoughtful and full of the power of grief, memory, and healing, from varying perspectives and histories.

Of course, I have my critiques of ‘military intelligence’ work, and the entire way in which the ‘Asia-Pacific War’ is taught, and therefore thought of, and remembered by most.  The complexity of positions, cultures, and nations involved in various ways to the Asia-Pacific War, weighs heavily in the way the generation of that period relates themselves to memory, forgetting, resentments, rage, repressions, and ways of healing. These, of course, show up in the way we raise our children or how our emotions, worldviews, and proximities to strength, fear, and aggression are shaped in our lives, whether we like it or not.

The Asia-Pacific War began at the dawns of history, way before the US entered.  The US shaped the Pacific strongly, as well as the histories of Japanese, Chinese, Indian subcontinental, Southeast Asian, Pacific Islander, Korean Penninsular, European colonial and white militarism’s techno-power.

In this, I spoke of the role of conceiving a ‘Black Pacific.’  It is only a concept, of course, as are all labels and identities, to point to the histories and legacies that shape us.  The invisibility of dark/white, yellow-red-black-brown-white dynamics, the role of the concept of progress and the extinction of all that is not progress, and our internalization of a dominant value crushed into us through globalization via colonization, is something we have yet to face.  So I spoke.  I was surprised to find that my talk dovetailed strongly with my Native American elders who spoke there.

For me, the highlight was the opening.  Native American blessings and Okinawan musicians, opened our day. It was truly moving, powerful, profound, and for me, important and memorable.

The exhibit is open through April 2014, and events are held most weekends until then.  If you get the chance, please visit the exhibit.  It is truly worth it.

 

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