Glenn Kumekawa was 14 years old when he and his family were given two weeks to leave their home in San Francisco. They ended up behind barbed wire at Camp Topaz in Utah, where they lived for three years. After his release, Kumekawa attended Bates College in Maine, where his classmates included a 16-year-old pre-law student named William Stringfellow, who later became a well-known theologian and author.
Kumekawa is now director of the Intergovernmental Policy Analysis program and a professor emeritus at the University of Rhode Island. He is also president of the Nisei Student Relocation Commemorative Fund that provides scholarship aid to students from Southeast Asian immigrant families in the United States. He was interviewed by associate editor Rose Marie Berger in January 2006.
Sojourners: What similarities and differences do you see between the U.S. military detention camp at Guantánamo, Camp Delta, and the U.S. internment camps of Japanese-American citizens in the 1940s?
Glenn Kumekawa: I am not a historian or legal scholar, but from a historical view, I think we need to keep in mind a fundamental difference between the 10 internment camps of World War II and the Guantánamo prison camp.