Huerfano County, Colorado
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THE NATIVES TODAY
Sgt. David H. Allen, Jr. whose home is in Virginia, and Cpl. Armando Santangelo of Morristown, New Jersey, have worked as supervisors of crews of native laborers. These men have worked in our squadron area for about two months now, getting the area straightened out, little rock fences built--an activity at which they are particularly adept, and other such jobs which relieve military personnel for more urgent work. I had a long talk with Dave and Chick not so long ago about these natives, and what they told me provided the skeleton for this chapter.
During the invasion many of the civilians sought refuge from shell fire and bombs by hiding in caves. In this they were not alone for many Jap soldiers did the same. As a result the Americans had no alternative but to throw grenades and fire into the caves. No doubt this mix-up of civilians and enemy soldiers accounts for the death of many natives. It was known, for instance, that the native population of Tinian before the invasion was some 14,000. After the battle, 3000 were missing or dead. Of Saipan's 23,800 people (1936 census) some 14,000 are today interned in Camp Susupe.
It is possible that many of these fatalities resulted not only from our gunfire and grenades, but from Japanese weapons as well. It is also believed that many of them were self-inflicted, in other words suicide in one form or another. We have already touched on this in our account of the fighting on the Marianas, and I know you have read a great deal about this. Despite our familiarity with such bloody tales and the question--"do the suicides on Saipan mean that the whole Japanese race will choose death before surrender?"--which they pose, I think it will be worthwhile to look into this matter of Jap fanaticism and suicide a little more closely.
"They (the Japanese) believe in what they are fighting for. They believe in Japan's divine right to rule the world. They are tough fighters.
"Before the war, we were inclined to laugh at the Japanese as a fighting man. He was too small. He had more teeth than his mouth could hold. He did not eat bacon and eggs for breakfast; he even liked rice. He jabbered in a
silly language. He was a copy-cat, and never had an original idea in his head. He was a push-over.
"Then he began to win battles, to sweep down through the southwest Pacific. And the stories changed. He was a super-man. He could live for days on that handful of rice. He was a marvel of patience, and could sit in a tree for weeks on the off-chance of getting in a single shot at his foe. He could march fifty miles without a break. He was unbeatable at jungle warfare. He couldn't be licked.
"American fighting men and their Allies have discovered the truth. The Jap soldier is a tough, cagey soldier. But he has been beaten more and more frequently in recent months. He has plenty of stamina. But he has never learned how to use his mind as an individual. That is the fatal weakness of fascism--just as our free minds are the great strength of democracy. In the long run, the tough soldier who can't do his own thinking will always lose out to the tough soldier who knows his own mind." (Is this what John Steinbeck meant in THE MOON IS DOWN written in 1942 when he said, "Hard men win the battles, but free men win the wars?")
“The Japanese soldier is due to be licked. But he will take a lot of convincing before he realizes that. By the millions, he is strongly entrenched in his conquered territories. (Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Saipan, Iwo Jima and
Okinawa are the rule in Jap defense, not the exception!) Within that fortress, his whole background, his training, his kind of life, his tradition of victory and success, his will to win, his desperate belief that defeat means annihilation all tend to make him hard to convince.”
In reply to the question, "What is Shintoism?” we read: "Until 1868 it was a minor faith competing for converts with Buddhism, Confucianism, and Christianity. But in that year, the loaders decided to give Shintoism the No. 1 priority because it stressed worship of the Emperor as the Son of Heaven. By the standards of all other religions, Shinto is an empty faith. It has no code of morals no idea of right and wrong. It is not much more than worship of the Emperor and the past. It demands that every patriotic Japanese bow-down to Hirohito, and to the spirits of the dead warrior heroes. That is all there is to Shinto.
"Bushido was dreamed up by the Japanese leaders comparatively recently. The word didn't appear in any Japanese or other dictionary until 1900. It is 'the way of the Warrior,' the feudal code of the Japanese mercenary soldier, the samurai, streamlined for conscript army. Its cardinal principle is loyalty--loyalty above one's self, above the idea of right or wrong, above truth, family, everything. Bushido teaches that death is better than dishonor and that surrender is dishonorable. Jap soldiers, in the Bushido tradition, often celebrate their own funerals before leaving home. Sometimes their wives, also in the Bushido tradition, slit their own throats so that the soldier-husbands won't have any lingering desire to keep on living and to return home. Bushido is one
reason why the Japanese have sometimes fought beyond hope, and then committed suicide.
"As for hari-kari, before 1853 Japan was ruled under the Mikado, by a number of overlords, called shoguns. When a shogun was offended by his followers, he gave those of higher caste the privilege of killing themselves rather than being executed. It wasn't an original idea. It thrived in ancient Greece, and the Roman Emperors used it. But Japan never grew out of it. The warriors of old Japan were, known as samurai. They regarded, this privilege of executing themselves as a mark of high distinction and, probably to keep it in their own select circle, they worked out a painful and repulsive method: they killed themselves, when they had to, by running a keen-bladed short sword into the left side of their bellies, ripping it across to the right-hand yanking it upward. This was hari-kari. You can place your own value on the kind of mind that admires it. In modern Japan this savage resort to escape by self-destruction has been kept alive in the code of Bushido and, spread through the social
structure of Japan, it dominates the sickly, subservient soul of the Japanese people. Every Jap soldier is taught from boyhood to consider himself a samurai, with the privilege of disembowelling himself if he lets his Emperor down. As a result, when the Japanese is faced by a tough proposition, his impulse is to throw in the sponge--but in his own morbid way--by killing himself, or running into our gunfire."
Today, "March 16th, I was given a half-day off, and since Cpl. Vincent J. Cuddy of Chicago also had the day off, we decided to visit his brother Joe, a Yeoman in the Military Government Labor Office in the civilian camp, on this island, We went down in time to have dinner with Joe, my first meal in a Navy Mess Hall. Except for the noisy music--via loudspeaker, I must confess it was very much like any Army Mess Hall I've been in. One novelty, to be sure, was the big platter from which I ate my dinner of fried luncheon neat (always misnamed Spam), peas, gravy, potatoes, apricots, and brownies. The drink was ice water.
During the meal and afterward during our walk, I waked Joe many questions concerning the natives who live in this camp. The bulk of my information in this chapter comes from this source.
As a sort of introduction to the camp Joe prepared a statement for me which I think ought to be included in any description of the civilians. Joe is 19, has been in the Navy something over a year now, and except for two months in boot training at Farragut, Idaho, has been in the Pacific Ocean Area most of his time in the service. He wrote: "This camp is the first and only Military Government Japanese and Korean Refugee Camp. Its population is roughly 11,000.
The camp is divided into settlements, one side being for the Japanese, the other for the Koreans. The Japanese number about 9845, and except for 4 Chinese, the remainder are Koreans. The Chinese, by the way, were brought here by the Japs before the invasion.
"To me the people meaning the Japanese and the Koreans seem simple, modest, and educated to a certain extent. They seem friendly to all American personnel, and want to imitate our ways. This morning while walking through the camp I met one of the Jap policemen. He greeted me with a smiling, “Ohio" (hello). Many of these people are trying to learn to speak English, and they attend class five evenings a week.
“The people live in small tin shacks . . . The people do not cook their own chow. There are four kitchens in the camp, three for Japanese, one for Koreans. These people each have small toilets for a family. The older people usually bathe together, regardless of sex or marital status.
"Work for these people is looked on just like it is back in the States. So-called skilled laborers receive 50 cents a day, the others are not so fortunate and only are paid 35 cents a day."
Now for what I saw and learned as Joe and Vince and I walked through the camp. It was no doubt illegal on our part, as far as compliance with rules is concerned, but it happens that photography is practiced to a large extent anyway. One of the first things we did was to stop near a cross-roads and wait for Vince to snap a picture of a native riding in a rude, bull-drawn cart. When the native spied Vince, he immediately tore off his straw hat, ran his hand over his tousled black hair, and turned on a wide, teethy smile. It was funny, but as a general rule, Joe says, the people are camera shy. The black bull was probably more water buffalo than bull, and certainly he did not seen to mind standing still, though he refused to cease chewing his cud.
But the policeman down the road was not so co-operative. When Vince focused the camera on him, the policeman threw up his hands and ran up to us crying, "No! No! No!" He wore black horn-rimmed spectacles in typical Hollywood fashion. In a sense he impressed me as being comic too, but we respected his desire. He let us by to visit the school.
As we walked to the school buildings we passed near some of the shacks in which the people have their living quarters. These houses are rudely erected structures of whatever materials the natives could salvage from the ruins of the town or their farmhouses. Over wooden frames corrugated tins are placed. Here and there a loose tin squeaks and flaps in the wind. Many times when I had ridden by the camp the breeze wafted a dreadful odor usually associated with privies and extreme filth. Yet it isn't exactly like that either. When you try to determine just what it is, you are stumped. It is a stupid thing to attribute it to laziness or downright filthy habits of living on the part of the natives. I noticed today at closer range what I had already observed in my trips by the camp: the place is far from unkempt and unclean. The grounds are neat and very clean, as though more than being raked they are swept. On almost every hand you see women washing their laundry over scrub boards. They are dressed in clean gingham dresses, and even the children are kept clean despite the close quarters and cramped playgrounds. Some of these tots wandered around nude, but far from being repulsive they are attractive and amusing as all little boys and girls are. We saw one woman washing her little brood, and, as she scrubbed the ears of one of her boys he reacted exactly as my little brother used to when Mom would get after the dirt in his ears. The only time I noticed the odor at all was when we passed near the row of out-door latrines. In this respect these people are not at all different from us, much less inferior. If it were not for passing inspections, 90% of us American soldiers, despite our high education--would breed maggots and rats. We have yet to clean up for sanitation or hygienic purposes. For some reason American men look upon house-cleaning as sissy stuff. Evidence: a barracks on a Sunday morning!
As we drew near the school area we noticed many children at play. The boys were engaged in softball, and the girls were huddled in little groups or playing hop-scotch. Vince tried to take a picture of some girls, but one of them saw him, gave a shriek and fled, and instantly all the others followed suit. They are not afraid, Joe assured us, just shy. Every time Vince focused his camera the same thing happened, and I got the impression the girls were doing it because they thought it funny. The boys were much better as subjects. Without even a second glance at us they went on with their ball game. Joe told me that altogether there were a couple thousand students enrolled in this school. Dave Allen had explained that the school on this island is elementary, and that once weekly older pupils attend high school on another island. Here in grade school the curriculum consists of reading, arithmetic, science, English, Japanese, and Korean. Teachers are native civilians and are taught English by Japanese-Americans (Nesei). All the children I saw impressed me as being every bit as bright and interested in this small world around them as any group of children of like age in Walsenburg, Williamsburg, or Fredericksburg. One young native stopped and talked with Joe, addressing him as "Mr. Cuddy. I'm sure he felt a sense of accomplishment in being able to converse in English, and it provided me with a feeling of gratitude in seeing evidence of the fact that man is essentially unclassifiable in simple terms like superior, inferior, dull, bright, etc., that in a compensating sense, every man has much to offer and much to learn from every other man.
One young man told Dave Allen about his desire to study “chemistry someday at Columbia University in America." Another youth, Joe told us, spoke to him of his ambition to study in "some university in the United States." One gets the impression, Joe says, from the educated people among these natives that education was always taken seriously among them, and that the discipline and the standards were far more severe and exacting than those of our schools. These people appreciate all that our Military Government is trying to do for them, and they are eager to learn the things which will bring them abreast of the times. They are beginning to realize how untrue was the propaganda handed them by Jap military men regarding our savagery. While no special
indoctrination, is given them concerning the "American way of life," democracy, etc., they are learning much just from observing American soldiers. The smile an American chap shows a little Jap boy does not go unnoticed by his elders who are accustomed to seeing Jap soldiers strut by with a "dedicated air."
In all fairness to these people, to the scientists and intellectuals of Japan, I think our approach to them--and to Germans as well--should be along lines of re-education.
To me the greatest thing about man is his ability to
learn. He is born a helpless animal, with no sense of good or evil, no tradition, with nothing other than the potentiality to develop into a human being. He is human only when he makes use of that which distinguishes him from the less developed animals, his reason. When man becomes lax in his thinking, or when he abandons reason to his emotions, passion, appetites, he ceases to be man; he is not then a human being. When we can discipline ourselves through the knowledge we gain by study and thought to the point where we can control
ourselves, then will we be able to influence our own destiny, and by example that of all mankind. We must teach the Japanese, we must make them aware of the suffering and the evil of their culture, based as it is on their blind
faith in inherent racial superiority and in their divine mission for world conquest. We must educate them to the worth of such concepts as "the rationality of man," the infinite value of the individual and of his right to peace,
security, and happiness, in which respect all men are surely equal. The gravest danger facing us--all the United Nations--is that in defeating Japan and Germany we are likely to permit ourselves to become tainted with the blood spattered on out hands. I wonder if we ought not feel some shame in our own depravity on the fighting front, and if out of this sense of abandoning our professed principles we cannot resolve to cut this vile cancer of war from mankind's life for ever. Wilson, we are told, died with the belief that perhaps it was just as well that America did not enter the League of Nation, that if she had the chances for its success were slim because the people did not care, nor believe that it could work. The same can apply today. You cannot legislate against war. You only get it if the people want it, Pearl Harbors notwithstanding. If the people want peace badly enough, if they will look up from the dusty path to which they keep their eyes and views glued, they will have it. It is entirely possible, if men would only learn that their first allegiance is to the world and not to their country, for us to achieve a one and free world in our time, just as it is possible to obliterate the human race with a World War III. We will get what we want, if we want it bad enough. Tomorrow is up to us, not the Big Three. Surely it
should be obvious to everyone that we cannot afford to win this war by defeating fascism abroad only to succumb to its subtle poisons at home in the guise of racial prejudice, legislation for a privileged few with no regard for the welfare of all, blind worship and sacrifice of ourselves and our children to our national gods, proud isolation, and sacred sovereignty. Here is an example of the clouds we can begin to distinguish now that the sunrise of victory is at hand.
“Walter White, executive secretary of the national Association for advancement of Colored People, went to Europe to see for himself how Negroes were faring in the U. S. Army. He went forewarned. He knew he would "find some things good--some understanding officers and men, some enlightened leadership (General Eisenhower), an awakening consciousness among a few men that racism was what they and their Negro comrades were fighting. But he also knew he would find mostly things bad. He knew he would find--and he found--not only the same bigotry which preyed upon Negroes back home but also, tragically, the transplanting of those prejudices to Europe and North Africa. . . . America, the land of equality, is, through the prejudices of her many officers and officials, imposing the practice of inequality in Europe and North Africa. English people are amazed and bewildered. They want to treat our Negro soldiers with courteous generosity because they like them and respect them; but in case after case they are significantly admonished not to do so. The irony of it is that while fighting a master-race theory made in Germany, we import a similar theory made-in-America. . . . 'Since before the days of the Saracens,' writes Mr. White in his book entitled The Rising Wing, 'North Africa has been a melting pot in which the blood of all races has mingled. But now attempts were being made to teach the natives that skin color made a difference in human relations. In Casablanca, Algiers, Tunis, and other North African cities segregation had been established.' White remind' his readers that not only the Negroes of the USA have aspirations, but also all the colored races and that the colonials in this war are not dying to remain in fetters. . . . 'America,' he writes recounting an enlightening discussion on race relations with American soldiers, 'is losing the greatest opportunity it ever had to re-educate ten millions or more of its men and women in social, understanding. I do not mean that they should be propagandized. Timidity characterizes virtually every approach. Fear of criticism from unintelligent and reactionary members of Congress or from the press and organizations of like character had dominated government action on these issues. '"
Needless to remark, this is a frightfully black cloud to grace our victory. It is a glaring indication that our aims and purposes for waging this war which we talked about and wrote during those bitter hours at Stalingrad and Anzio and Guadalcanal, have since then, as Mrs. Miniver feared, become somehow forgotten or consciously, conveniently, in the flush of victory and in war-weariness. We're already tired, and we want to call it quits.
". . . If we are to have a durable peace after the war, if out of the wreckage of the present, a new kind of cooperative life is to be built on a global scale, the part that science and advancing knowledge will play must not be overlooked. For although wars and economic rivalries may for longer or shorter periods isolate nations and split them up into separate units, the process is never complete because the intellectual life of the world, as far as science and learning are concerned, is definitely internationalized, and whether we wish it or not an indelible pattern of unity has been woven into the society of mankind.
“There is not an area of activity in which this cannot be illustrated. An American soldier, wounded on a battlefield in the Far East, owes his life to the Japanese scientist, Kitasato, who isolated the bacillus of tetanus. A Russian soldier, saved by a blood transfusion, is indebted to Landsteiner, an Austrian. A German soldier is shielded from typhoid fever with the help of a Russian, Metchnikoff. A Dutch marine in the East Indies is protected from malaria because of the experiments of an Italian, Grassi; while a British aviator in North Africa escapes death from surgical infection because a Frenchman, Pasteur, and a German, Koch, elaborated a new technique.
"In peace, as in war, we are all of us the beneficiaries of contributions to knowledge made by every nation in the world. Our children are guarded from diphtheria by what a Japanese and a German did, they are protected from smallpox by an Englishman's work; they are saved from rabies because of a Frenchman; they are cured of pellagra through the researches of an Austrian. From birth to death they are surrounded by an invisible host--the spirits of men who never thought in terms of flags or boundary lines and who never served a lesser loyalty than the welfare of mankind. The best that every individual or group has produced anywhere in the world has always been available to serve the race of men, regardless of nation or color.
"What is true of the medical sciences is true of the other sciences. Whether it is mathematics or chemistry, whether it is bridges or automobiles or a new device for making cotton cloth or a cyclotron for studying atomic structure, ideas cannot be hedged in behind geographical barriers. Thought cannot be nationalized. The fundamental unity of civilization is the unity of its intellectual life.
"There is a real sense, therefore, in which the things that divide us are trivial as compared with the things that unite us. The foundations of a cooperative world have already been laid. It is not as if we are starting from the beginning. For at least three hundred years, the process has been at work, until today the cornerstones of society are the common interests that relate to the welfare of all men everywhere."
"A WIND IS RISING THROUGH THE WORLD OF FREE MEN EVERYWHERE, AND THEY WILL NOT BE KEPT IN BONDAGE." — Thomas Wolfe. Let us cease clinging to old barriers, nor . . . erect new ones in the face of this wind.
We left the school area and made our way back to the main gate; from there we walked down the road to the little farm area worked by the natives under the direction and guidance of farm-experts within Military Government jurisdiction. Like labor all over the island, the natives work here on a voluntary basis, and both men and women take part.
“The March 9th issue of Yank contained this little paragraph: "GI truck farms covering more than 10,000 acres of Guam, Saipan, and Tinian have netted 5,000,000 pounds of fresh vegetables in three months. Crops included cucumbers, watermelons, corn, cantaloupes, radishes, lettuce, cabbage, and tomatoes. Turnips were not sown because nobody particularly cared for turnips. Irish potatoes proved unsuccessful, and spinach, peas, and string beans were left out of the program because they were too much trouble to cook. A full-sized dairy has been proposed for Guam to supply fresh milk for hospital cases, and a small soap factory may be set up to make use of the local supply of dried coconut meat."
Last Sunday we had fresh corn on the cob for dinner. Although some men said it lacked the full flavor of corn back in the states, it is considered a great treat nonetheless.
When it comes to picking corn, cucumbers, and so on, we noticed that women do most of this work. In one hut we saw a tiny woman, smaller than Mrs. Thornberry, splitting a certain kind of Japanese watermelon lengthwise with a huge machete. She was a little shy about posing with the knife stuck half way through a melon, but Cox, Joe's buddy, who works on this farm project and who acted as our guide, managed to get a native blacksmith to pose with her. She laughed gayly, revealing several gold teeth. As I watched her at work it seemed incredible that so small a body was capable of so much energy and strength.
“Farther down the road we came upon a group of women hacking squashes into little pieces. Cox didn't let us watch them long because he wanted to be sure to see his pet rabbits. They were beautiful albinoes, as nice as any that John Tomsic used to have, and that's going some for those rabbits were really something to see as a result of Johnny's attention and care. Cox told us he feeds his pets lettuce and greens. "You'd be surprised at the amount of stuff they have eaten in the last few days," he said. Vince and I noticed that he had no container for water in the narrow pens. "Water?" he asked, surprised that we would even mention it, "hell no! They don't like water." Just to prove it he asked an old man's advice. The native came closer and shook his head gravely, "No, no," he said in faltering English, "no water, water no good." That settled it as far as Cox was concerned. "See there, what did I tell ya?" Maybe that's the way rabbits grow in Missouri, but I remember Johnny spending a lot of time on hot summer days changing the water in his pens to make sure the rabbits would have plenty of cool, fresh water. Oh, well, guess the Marianas better be unique in at least this one respect.
Incidentally, none of the natives is permitted to enter our mess halls nor are they allowed to come into contact with any foodstuffs served us. Medical authorities report that fecal tests show almost all the adults shelter the parasite, endamoeba hystolytica. I want it clearly understood that I include this information here, not with any design to insult these natives. For many years these people, having no fertilizer for their fields, resorted to the use of their town waste matter for this purpose. Because this parasite probably began with a few individuals, it was transferred to the ground, taken up by growing plants, and ultimately spread to the rest of the people. It is presumed that all edible plants contain this parasite; and hence vegetables are treated by the medics prior to cooking and consumption.
As we strolled back toward the camp we passed by two plots of ground "Civilian Cemetery." I had wondered about this, where the civilians bury their dead, and how. I have not learned the details, but the cemetery, despite the people's backwardness, is very much like our own. Little mounds designate the graves, and a board driven at the head contains a few characters in Japanese writing evidently identifying the deceased. Flowering shrubs are planted on almost every grave. While Shintoism and Bushido are not permitted to be practiced in the camp, I would guess that Buddhism is the chief religion among the Japanese. The Koreans are Protestant Christians.
Back inside the fence, we walked down a road and paused to glance over the bulletin board set up near the Housing Office. Somewhere in that vicinity is the jail-house. Here law-breakers are confined if they have committed a serious offense against Military Government or the people's law. On the Bulletin Board are many notices written in both English and in Japanese, and prominently displayed on a few of these was the signature of Admiral Nimitz. Almost all of them were directives and regulations for the government of the camp and its operation. On one, for example, I read that all men over the age of 16 will report to the labor office each morning to work. Joe explained to me that work is not compulsory, that anyone who does work is paid the standard wage. The money comes from regular appropriations to the Army and the Navy.
The labor detail which used to work in our area one day a week, devoted other days with other squadrons. The policy governing this states that civilian labor is to be employed on labor projects whenever possible and when available to relieve military personnel for more important tasks. . . . It is not to be employed in digging of individual fox holes, or in any connection with personnel galleys, sculleries, or mess halls.” An armed supervisor is in charge of each such labor detail. Perhaps you wonder why he must be armed, and why these natives are interned in camps. As ironical as it sounds, it is for their own protection. The danger from “trigger happy" Americans is diminishing, but that it still exists no one will deny. The Jap soldiers at large create a danger for the natives, for in your gun-sight you can't very well distinguish between them. When an outfit secures a labor detail for a day, it becomes responsible for the natives' noon meal, and must see to it that an ample supply of drinking
water is available. Workers are given fifteen-minute breaks in mid-morning and again in mid-afternoon. They commence work at 0700, and work until 1600, and must be back in their camp by 1600. After that hour, all
Japanese outside the camp limits are targets for gunfire, for it is one sure way to tell the difference between interned civilian and loose soldier. The noon meals are usually delivered from the camp. The menu consists almost invariably of fish cakes, a ball of rice about the size of a softball sometimes coated with beans, and a kind of tomato sauce. The men use chopsticks which they bring with themselves, or which they fashion from a couple of twigs.
I wondered about their food and clothing in the camp. The diet of these people consists chiefly of rice, beans, tomatoes, pork, fish, squash, melons, and so on. One woman I saw coming out of a building which seemed to be a kitchen was dressed in spotless white. Incidentally, these camps are considered temporary. With the capture of these islands, the United States automatically assumed responsibility for the people on them. As a result, a basic food ration is allotted each person. Cigarettes, candy, gum, and other such luxuries are also rationed without charge. They purchase the materials for their clothing from Military Government dry goods, shops, chiefly dungaree goods. The Red Cross donates some of the clothing. The money in payment for the goods comes from their earnings on the labor details and on the farms.
Blacksmith, tailor, cobbler, sandal (wooden clogs made of 2 x 4 lumber), and other such shops are scattered about the camp. The hospital is located at one end and it is housed in Quonset huts. Although I did not visit it, I was told that it is an excellent establishment, with some native doctors and nurses on its staff.
Lest you misunderstand Military Government policy concerning the welfare of these natives, I would like to draw your attention to this statement: 'The Marianas have to import certain foods and other supplies from bases thousands of miles away. We are responsible, not only for our own welfare, also for the welfare of the civilian population. If we are to take food other stores from the civilians, we would strain our own supply system and
increase the danger to ourselves. Food shortages heighten the chances of an epidemic. Our forces--including you--might be hit badly if there were an outbreak of disease in the Marianas. Don't take food away from the civilians. Don't waste your own food." (Meet the Marianas, p. 14).
Every day a crew of some five or six enlisted men (seamen) and some four natives set out on a fishing expedition. They start about dawn and return around mid-afternoon. Their vessels include four or five 24-foot boats, and they have smaller ones at their disposal. The average haul is 163 pounds, and this includes tuna, dolphins, wahoo, lobsters, bass, and other kinds of fish. Most of the catch is turned over to the kitchens in the native camp, but about twice a week Joe says he enjoys fish in his mess hall, "and you might add it's very good."
Recreation for the natives appears to be something of a problem. The children manage to find ways and means for play. I wonder what the little kid who asked us for a pencil intended to do with it? In the school area there is an outdoor theatre where movies are shown twice a week, and films are selected from the ones shown us. The children get a big bang out of these, Joe says, and the adults flock to these shows sometimes four or five thousand strong. They are charged an admission price of 2¢. The money is turned over to the "suiji fund." When the schools were opened, children were served but two meals a day. Now the "suiji fund" makes possible a noon snack. What is not spent in this way will be used to purchase recreation equipment such as baseballs, footballs, volleyballs, bats, gloves, and so on.
The camp on Saipan is called Susupe, and internment there is still compulsory, as it is in Camp Churo on Tinian. There are three camps on Guam, Agat, Anigua, and Talofofo. Internment here is not compulsory, and only some 5000 natives are still living in them. The rest have returned to their farmhouses, villages, and towns, and are at liberty to work where they choose. We must bear in mind that Guam differs from Tinian and Saipan, in that most of its natives are Chamorros who in forty-five years under the U. S. have more or less grown accustomed to work at something other than farms.
What does the future hold for these people? When you stop to realize they are men, women, and children whose whole way of life has been up-rooted and apparently gone forever, it stirs up not only sympathy, but hope that under our guidance they will somehow come upon the awareness of how backward and evil was their old faith, how blighting it was to themselves as well as others, and that only in a more human faith lies survival and maturity. Don't get me wrong. Punish the war lords, financiers, war criminals, henchmen. But with regards to the average Japanese, the peasant farmer, I think re-education will depend on whether or not we approach them with the realization that while they believe fanatically in the tightness of their cause, and while they supported it with everything they had, unlike the Germans, they knew no better, they could not possibly be expected to do otherwise, for they are the victims of their overlords and centuries-old culture. It's the warlords we'd better deal roughly with. While the evil a blind man does is wrong, it is also true that the man who, having been exposed to education, can see commits a far greater evil with his every wrong deed. How much greater, then, is the least sin of a righteous man than the gravest transgression of an uneducated or miseducated man?
"So far, there is no very good answer as to what is to be done with (these people). Almost all are dependent, at least indirectly, on the now-vanished sugar industry. If the Japanese are to remain, the industry must be revived or a substitute for it must be found.
No provision has yet been made for the peacetime disposal of the Japanese now in camps on Saipan and Tinian. For the duration, they will be largely workers for the American war effort.
''Governing officers report most of them co-operative now, and there has been no recorded case of sabotage. Japanese fishing under guard offshore brought eight tons of fish for the camp's use during last November. Others form a camp police force.
"None of this means that they are loyal to America by any stretch of the imagination. A cheer goes up from the civilian camps when Japanese bombers appear over Saipan, and small Shinto shrines still receive offerings in many tents. Some still hide in the hills, where patrols pick them up in twos and threes from time to time. Nobody knows exactly what these enemy civilians think--or what America officially thinks about them."
A fitting conclusion to this chapter is encompassed in this excerpt from an article in a recent issue of FREE WORLD: "Miklukha-Maklai is an outstanding example of the spirit of humanism in Russian science. On September 7, 1871, he landed on the shores of New Guinea and settled among the Papuans, whose profound love and trust he won by his forth-right and humane attitude. It is significant to recall the circumstances of his first visit to a Papuan village. He came to them unable to speak their tongue and 'armed' only with notebook and pencil. Women and children hid from him in fear. Armed men surrounded the lone traveler. They were ready to rush him but Miklukha-Maklai noticed a mat near one of the huts, took it, spread it under the shade of a tree and settled himself for sleep, first removing his boots for greater comfort.
"The warlike Papuans stood amazed at this display of confidence in them. With half-closed eyes he saw that the Papuan who had just been menacing him with a spear was now examining his boots curiously. About two hours later Miklukha awoke to find himself surrounded by a ring of Papuans, this time unarmed and devoid of all hostile intentions. Miklukha's first visit to Papua lasted more than a year and this first-hand experience convinced him that mankind knows no inferior races incapable of development. He proved that far more humaneness was found among so-called savages than among those colonizers who brought with them whisky, gun powder and brutal slavery.
"To Miklukha, Leo Tolstoy wrote: 'You are the first who has proved through objective experience that man remains man everywhere, and that he is essentially a well intentioned, sociable being who should be approached with kindness and truth and not with guns and vodka. Moreover, it was only by a feat of real courage that you were able to prove this. I cannot judge the data you collected from the standpoint of your scientific specialty, but the experience of your peaceful intercourse with savages is epoch making in the science which I serve: the science of how people should live together. Write that story, and you will do mankind a great service!”
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© Karen Mitchell