Comment from Carolyn Cole, San Pablo, CA (after viewing at a home screening)

I was uplifted in watching your documentary masterpiece in that this positive side comes through. What these families endured was an unconscionable breach of what our country is supposed to represent: freedom for all. Fear and ignorance – and small-minded folk – prevailed at a time of national panic and a tendency to racism that, damnably, runs through our many cultures on this earth. “America” was supposed to be better than this, to rise above such ignorance – but it did not, and does not. So, we have this major stain on our nationhood, and major damage inflicted on huge numbers of our best citizens.

Given this, you provided a true view of what ‘the arts’ can do: uplift, sustain, enlarge our worlds, even in a prison environment. I don’t know why, but all my life I’ve strategized in my “monkey mind” how I might cope with internment. I KNOW that music, creativity, arts of all kinds, friendships, deep conversations, solitude, dutiful work – all sustain. That’s how I would get through such times. I loved your portrayal of those who managed to thrive in such difficulty. It is uplifting and life-affirming. Those who were shattered by this, the mature men and women who lost so much – too much – and could not cope with the loss, this I also understand. Being raised in a country where we give vast lip-service to individual freedom forms our expectations. When that is taken away, it can shatter our souls. We know this, and understand how devastating internment, and all that led up to it, and all that followed, ruined the lives of vast numbers of good people. However, this was not your main-line story, because you chose to tell about those who soared, or at least remained steady – through art. It is a profound statement, and I thank you.

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