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On Ken Burns “The War “ Documentary

by JFAV-LA Thursday, Dec. 06, 2007 at 5:30 PM
jfav _causa@yahoo.com 213-241-0906 1610 Beverly Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90026

On December 7,2007 will be the 61st anniversary of the Second World War for the United States. It is just fitting and proper that a TV documentary series by Ken Burns, The War- was made for this event. December 7 was called “ the day that will live in infamy “ by US President Franklin D. Roosevelt. It was the day the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. The Japanese surprise attack crippled the US Asiatic fleet and almost decimated the American fleet in the Pacific. Until now, for 61 years, the Equity bill is still languishing in the US Congress. Because of Republican Party bitter opposition, the Equity bills both in the Congress and the Senate is in limbo and the veterans are denied of what should be rightfully theirs

Article on the 61st Anniversary of World War II

On Ken Burns “The War “ Documentary

By Arturo P. Garcia
Justice for Filipino American Veterans (JFAV)


Los Angeles-- On December 7,2007 will be the 61st anniversary of the Second World War for the United States. It is just fitting and proper that a TV documentary series by Ken Burns, The War- was made for this event.

December 7 was called “ the day that will live in infamy “ by US President Franklin D. Roosevelt. It was the day the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. The Japanese surprise attack crippled the US Asiatic fleet and almost decimated the American fleet in the Pacific.

Few people know that the war started in the Philippines, because it was an American colony on December 8,1941. It was the feast of the Immaculate Conception and bombs rained on major Philippine cities like Manila,Baguio.Davao and major American military installalations like Clark, Fort McKinley, Camp Crame and Sangley point.

Several days later, the Japanese forces invaded the Philippines landing in Aparri,Cagayan, Vigan, Ilocos Sur and in Lingayen,Pangasinan and Agoo, La Union. It was a smooth military operation well planned in advance and had enough forces allotted for job.

General Critique of the Film

The documentary The War speaks of the world war in Europe and the entry of America into the world war by the sneak attack on the Pacific fleet. It detailed the Japanese incursions into China as early as 1932 and the war preparations since 1940.

The War specifically featured ordinary Americans and the role they played during the war. They picked up ordinary Americans and let them tell about efforts during the war. Basically paying tribute to “those also served while they stand and wait.”

The documentary commented that they do want glorify war. Basically it featured the horrors of the war and its effects on the human persona particularly the witnesses and the persons who participated in it. It was most heart rending and personal. And the film
really appealed to emotions.

To some observers the supposed tribute to American greatest generation was supposed to be propaganda to support the military in its war effort in the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. But it will be still a good debate to attribute the documentary as such.


A Filipino Point of View

We in the Filipino- American community are happy about the documentary because it featured the life of the Americans in the concentration camps. They concentrated on the life of an American family from Sacramento, California in the UST detention camp in
Manila.

They also featured the life of the prisoners of war in Camp O Donnel in Capas. Tarlac after the Bataan Death March but in reality spend his war years in a prisoner of war camp in Japan until he was freed after the twin bombings Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

What is good in the documentary was that the Bataan defeat – the Death March was highlighted. There is a silent conspiracy to obscure this historical fact after 61 years after the war.

The American defeat in the Philippines was so devastating that most historians choose to be silent about this. The fact that a small nation likes Japan, an Asian country defeated the Americans was so much for some historian to bear. So much so to explain. The fact that more than 90,000 Filipino and American soldier surrendered to 50,000 Japanese after two weeks of continuous assault is a military debacle

The only negative part of the documentary is its silence on the sacrifices of the Filipinos on the battlefront and the mention of the Filipino resistance movement during the three years of Japanese occupation.

More than 30,000 Filipino- American soldiers died during that forced march from Bataan to Tarlac. It was a direct anti-thesis to the patriotic endeavor of the Japanese-American soldier’s heroism featured in The War in Europe.

More Comments

The War painfully showed the destruction of Manila during the World War II and the death of more than 200.000 Filipinos during its liberation. It was the same level as it shown the Nazi pogroms in Europe – the extermination of the Jews.

The same is denying the fact that more than 250,000 Filipinos served in the US military during the war as well as the sad truth that more than one million Filipinos died during the war.

The United States Congress denied the Filipino World War II veterans their right and privileges as American veterans until today. On February 18,1946, the 79th US Congress passed the infamous Rescission Act stripping their rights to be American veterans.

Until now, for 61 years, the Equity bill is still languishing in the US Congress. Because of Republican Party bitter opposition, the Equity bills both in the Congress and the Senate is in limbo and the veterans are denied of what should be rightfully theirs

As The War reechoes, the allied victory was the victory of democracy over fascism. They say was a good war contrary to what some historian say that there was never had a bad peace and a good war.But inequities still exist. Filipino World War II veterans are still marginalized.

Equity and justice still has to be achieved through hard struggle.

***************
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