“Goofy,” A Short Story Part 2 of 3

Author’s note: I originally wrote this story 2013 for a children’s book about the Japanese American World War II experience. I published it on 8Asians in 2014. However, with the recent events and rhetoric surrounding our presidential election, I started becoming worried that the events of this short story could happen again—not to Japanese American but to Muslim and Arab Americans.

I wanted to reimagine these events if they happened today to help make sure it doesn’t happen again. As I tell my four-year-old every day, we as decedents of people who were wrongly incarcerated in camps have a moral responsibility to make sure it never happens again. Here is my way of reminding us of our past so we don’t repeat it again.

Civil Exclusion order

Previously… 
Part 1“>Part 1

Goofy (Pt. 2)

Moe’s parents were born in Syria, but he was born in America and was therefore a citizen. Because he had never visited his parent’s homeland and since he could only speak a few word of Arabic, he always felt more American than Syrian.

But when others saw Moe, they saw the enemy. At school, the other kids wouldn’t let him play baseball during recess and the teachers stopped calling on him in class. They all blamed him for what the terrorist had done. It was the first time Moe felt more Syrian than American.

Not everyone stopped being friends with Moe. Julia told him. “Now you have more time for me.”

Goofy barked, which was his way of saying, “Don’t forget about me too!”

A month after Mr. Hassan was taken away, the family finally got a letter from him. Mr. Hassan told them that he was safe, but he couldn’t say where he was.

 

In late March 2017, Moe was playing catch with Goofy and Julia when one of their old Syrian neighbors walked past them in tears.

“They are sending us away,” she told them.

Moe wanted to know more, so Julia, Goofy, and Moe went online. On the CNN website, there was an article and in it President Trump had signed an executive order that had called for the incarceration of all Muslim and Arab Americans. In the picture next to the president was a big poster with the words, “Instructions to Muslims…”

Moe didn’t understand the article so he asked Julia to explain it to him, “It says that you have to leave your homes and move away.”

“When?”

“In a week.”

“But how will Dad find us?” Moe later asked his mom.

“I guess we’ll have to write him a letter and tell him where we are.”

Moe knew his mom was sad. He wanted to say something to make her feel better, but didn’t know what he could say. So he said nothing.

To be continued…

Follow me at @ksakai1.

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Author: Koji Steven Sakai

Writer/Producer Koji Steven Sakai is the founder of Little Nalu Pictures LLC and the CEO of CHOPSO (www.CHOPSO.com), the first Asian English streaming video service. He has written five feature films that have been produced, including the indie hit, The People I’ve Slept With. He also produced three feature films, a one hour comedy special currently on Netflix, and Comedy InvAsian, a live and filmed series featuring the nation’s top Asian American comedians. Koji’s debut novel, Romeo & Juliet Vs. Zombies, was released in paperback in 2015 and in audiobook in 2016 and his graphic novel, 442, was released in 2017. In addition, he is currently an adjunct professor in screenwriting at International Technological University in San Jose.