Monday, September 24, 2007

One good Marine; or how the ethnic media doesn't know its own stories

Twice today I've heard stories on National Public Radio criticizing the lack of mention of Latino soldiers in the new Ken Burns documentary about WWII. The first was on Morning Edition by Richard Gonzales, and the second was by Adolfo Guzman Lopez on KPCC (local Pasadena college radio).

The interview some living WW2 latino vets, talk about some guys who died both in Europe and the Pacific, and then talk about the contribution made by the ethnic group, with the strong implication being that their ethnic group is being slighted by being left out of the movie. Which is fair enough. Burns ought to have mentioned them, if only to mention the one guy that neither Gonzales nor Guzman Lopez mentioned, and who is arguably the biggest hero of the PTO - Guy Gabaldon.

I think that there is some irony in that in neither reporter appears to know the history. Gabaldon was personally responsible for taking over 1,000 Japanese prisoners on Saipan, many of them soldiers but some also women and children. Which means he saved all those lives, as well as the (literally) uncountable lives of US Marines who would have had to fight against those Japanese soldiers if they had not been persuaded by Gabaldon to surrender.

To add a little bitterness to the irony of these Latino trying to build a little racism into a scenario where it was part of the circumstance of the time, Gabaldon's case was one of pure racism. Here is a guy who rescues himself from a very bad situation, and uses his own skills of language and social engineering to save at least a thousand people. And he does this against the orders of his commanders, but with his buddies who also go against orders because they see the benefit to everybody. And then when a higher officer nominated Gabaldon for the MoH, an officer above him refused - and that refusal was purely out of racism.

That is the story that Ken Burns should have told to include a Latino; and that is the story that Gonzales and Guzman Lopez should have told also.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Solar Power Conference 2007

Going to Solar Power Conference 2007 in Long Beach on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of next week. My hoped-for itinerary is here. Am trying to see talks that are relevant to managing a business in the solar industry.