Asian Americans On War & Peace edited by Russell C. Leong and Don T. Nakanishi [in AsianWeek]
The Aug.13 issue of USA Today reports that more than 150 books that deal with Sept. 11 have already been or are about to be published, making the event “the most documented and photographed event in war or peace.” Of the myriad of titles, Asian Americans On War & Peace will stand out. If you read just one of the post-Sept. 11 titles, read this. Edited by Russell C. Leong and Don T. Nakanishi, and published by the UCLA Asian American Studies Center Press, Asian Americans On War & Peace is the first – and perhaps the only – book to look at Sept. 11 from Asian Pacific American perspectives. It is a thoughtful, questioning collection of essays by 24 scholars, writers, and activists. It contains photos of people that look like us, which also means that some of the faces mistakenly resemble the so-called enemy. It is a book of mourning, of outrage, and, ultimately, of hope.
For APAs, especially those of South Asian descent, life after Sept. 11 has seen a sudden spike in anti-Asian violence. A report released in March by the National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium, aptly titled “Backlash: When America Turned on Its Own,” tracked 243 incidents of racially-motivated violence in the three months following the attacks, in contrast to a more typical number of approximately 400 over a full 12-month period. In the wake of the terrorist bombings, anyone who looks foreign is a possible target.
The post-Sept. 11 “you’re either with us or against us” rhetoric set forth by President Bush and his generals leaves little room for more than blind patriotism. To question is a potential act of national betrayal. But to question is an absolute must, as exemplified by the essays contained in this important volume. …[click here for more]