EAST WIND: The Narrative — A Rant with Haiku

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By MIYA IWATAKI 

Shots pierce through the mall

6 Asian women are dead

Shooter in Georgia

I’m struggling to wade through a rising torrent of feelings. Rage. Fear. Frustration. Grief. And yes, Hate – I am drowning in it, trying to tread water, breathe oxygen into lungs filling up with hate for white racist supremacists. Malcolm X called them White Devils. That term echoes, banging against the walls of my stomach – I read about, hear about, think about the racist, sexist, hate-filled murders on March 16 at 3 Asian spas in Georgia. 6 Asian women dead.

Immediately after the arrest of the shooter Robert Aaron Long 21, who is white, Cherokee County Sheriff Frank Reynolds and Captain Jay Baker, also white – lay out “the Narrative.” The investigation is still in the early stages, and the “suspect” does not appear to be “motivated by racial bias.

Six Asian women are dead. The three targeted spas were Asian. The killer drove over 25 miles to get to next Asian spa. Could motivation and premeditation be more clear?! An act of pure evil. White Devil.

Robert Long confessed to the killings. His excuse was that he had a “sexual addiction” and wanted to get rid of the temptation. Captain Jay Baker continued to push “the Narrative” saying the spas (which Long had frequented) appeared to be “a temptation” that he wanted to eliminate.

“These locations, he sees them as an outlet for him – something that he shouldn’t be doing, an issue with porn – and that he was attempting to take out that temptation,” Baker said. “He was pretty much fed up and at the end of his rope,” he continued, evidently sympathetic to the suspected killer. “Yesterday was a really bad day for him, and this is what he did.” WTF!

So the initial narrative is being put out by a police captain who wears T-shirts that read, “COVID 19 — Imported Virus from Chy-na” — echoing Trump’s anti-China rhetoric; while he boasts on his Facebook, “Love my shirt. Get them while they last.”

SAY THEIR NAMES

Days go by and still — the Narrative is about the shooter, and his sex addiction.

But six Asian women are dead. Invisible under the shroud of mainstream media that perpetuates the invisibility of the AAPI communities. Then finally! On Day 5:

The next Narrative will be written by us. At demonstrations, protests, vigils; in acts of solidarity and resistance by everyday folks; by artists, writers and musicians leaving a cultural stamp of truth on history; through frank conversations within and between communities; in long-needed anti-Asian hate and violence legislation; and in virtual organizing, educational and healing spaces.

This will be our narrative, our truth, our stamp on history; and to pay our last respects to six Asian women: Soon Chung Park, Hyun Jung Grant, Sun Cha Kim, Yong Ae Yue, Xiaojie Tan, Dauyou Feng.

Say their names, their names

No longer invisible

Say all of their names 

GAMBARE!

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Miya Iwataki has been an advocate for communities of color for many years, from the JACS Asian Involvement Office in Little Tokyo in the ’70s, through the JA redress/reparations struggle with NCRR while working for Congressman Mervyn Dymally, to statewide health rights advocacy. She also worked in public media at KCET-TV, then KPFK Pacifica Radio as host for a weekly radio program, “East Wind.” She can be reached at [email protected] Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.

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