Just 4 months after the “limited airstrike with no boots on the ground” attack on Pearl Harbor over 100,000 people (more than two thirds were American citizens and half of them were children) would be incarcerated and shipped to concentration camps all over the US, solely on the basis of their ethnicity. Sad to say this wasn’t the first nor last time the US government would use such tactics, but it was the first time they openly condemned an opposing government of doing the same, at the same time.
In the US these camps were labeled “internment” camps. Defined as confined as a prisoner, especially for political or military reasons.
On the opposing side they were labeled as “concentration camps”, Defined as a place where large numbers of people, especially political prisoners or members of persecuted minorities, are deliberately imprisoned in a relatively small area with inadequate facilities, sometimes to provide forced labor or to await mass execution.
But whats the real difference? None. Through carefully crafted propaganda and cultural programming these definitions took hold and the separation helped justify the practice on one side and demonize it on the other.
There were four camps in New Mexico, with sites at Fort Stanton, Old Raton Ranch, Lordsburg and an 80-acre site in Santa Fe.
In Santa Fe, now connected to a dog park, sits a stone memorial to humanities worst examples of fear driven political policies. A memorial to hate, extremism, and discrimination. There is some disagreement to how many actual inmates were held in the camp with ranges of 2,100 to a reported 4,500 prisoners between March 1942 and April 1946.
So why was Santa Fe New Mexico the ideal place for a US run concentration camp? It wasn’t, but the New Mexican government requested the prisoners as farm workers. The land in New Mexico is tough and rocky and breaking it would require hard labor. Using prisoners as slaves is written into the Constitution, so most people support it without knowing. Follow this link and look for the word “except” in the Amendment, the wording after that allows slavery on a limited user basis.
Much like today’s work prisons where inmates can earn substantially less than minimum wage for their labor, there are reports that few camps allowed the inmates a choice to work in the fields.
The world we live in has a pretty dark history and the scars of inhumanity still haunt this earth. The memorials to mans indescribable brutality to one another are sickening and if society’s celebrations of conquest, murder, and greed are the milestones to which we measure our progress I feel we are developing to a state that will bring our own destruction.