Comparing Manzanar to a concentration camp is not disgusting ("Letter to the Editor: It was not the same," May 9). Some people assume that all concentration camps are also death camps because the terms are often used interchangeably when speaking of the Nazi camps. But the term concentration camp also refers to a guarded compound for the detention or imprisonment of aliens, members of ethnic minorities, political opponents, etc. That is an accurate description of Manzanar.
Over a year ago I went to Manzanar on a trip organized by the Levan Center at Bakersfield College. The most disturbing and disgusting part of the trip was discovering that even babies and young children of Japanese ancestry were rounded up from orphanages and foster homes by the military and imprisoned in an orphanage at the site. If that is not a concentration camp, what is? It is to the great credit of Japanese American civil rights groups that they were among the first to show solidarity with Muslims in America when that group became the targets of attacks, bans and other discriminatory acts. Their community's experience in concentration camps in this country has made them particularly wary of such scapegoating.
We will not learn from history if we refuse to confront our past honestly and if we take offense when someone calls a concentration camp a concentration camp.
Mona Sidhu, Bakersfield