She endured Japanese American internment during World War II and later helped convince the government to apologize and repay the victims, she opposed U.S. involvement in Vietnam and befriended Malcolm X – all before she said she “admired” Osama bin Laden following the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.
As police departments around the country report increasing hate crimes against Asian Americans, New York City’s Lincoln Center hosted a pop-up performance to honor the civil rights activist Yuri Kochiyama on what would have been her 100th birthday this week during Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
The California native spent most of her adult life in the Big Apple. But even though she adopted New York as her home, in a 2003 interview with The Objector magazine, she praised the man responsible for a horrific attack that killed 2,606 of her unsuspecting neighbors on a sunny Tuesday morning.
“I’m glad that you are curious why I consider Osama Bin Laden as one of the people that I admire,” she told the interviewer. “To me, he is in the category of Malcolm X, Che Guevara, Patrice Lumumba, Fidel Castro, all leaders that I admire. They had much in common. Besides being strong leaders who brought consciousness to their people, they all had severe dislike for the U.S. government and those who held power in the U.S.”
So critics, some center employees among them, blasted the move to honor her in New York City’s leading performing arts venue – just months before 20 years will have passed since the terror attack. (Navy SEALs finally caught up with him 10 years ago this month.)
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