An activist who embraced the teachings of Mao Zedong and held up Osama bin Laden as a hero is being celebrated by the Biden White House as an example for American women.
The White House on Friday tweeted that it was honoring activist Yuri Kochiyama as part of Women’s History Month, saying that she “spoke out about oppressive institutions and injustice in the United States.”
Her radical views were likely sparked just after the 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor, when her ailing father was arrested as a potential national security threat, along with many with other people of Japanese descent. He was held without medical treatment and died shortly after his release. The surviving family members were interned with other Japanese-Americans for years in the south, where she observed Jim Crow segregation.
Later, while living in Harlem, she witnessed segregation and discrimination and became involved with the civil rights movement. There, she became acquainted with Malcolm X, who encouraged broaden her scope beyond racial integration issues and to develop an internationalist and anti-imperialist view, according to a biography on NPS.gov.
From that time, Kochiyama became an increasingly outspoken critic of America and its policies, but incongruously, she often voiced strong support for much harsher regimes in terms of violence, oppression and intolerance.
In a 2003 interview for the “Objector: A Magazine of Conscience and Resistance” available on LA IndyMedia she expressed her disdain for America and her affection for bin Laden.
“As for imperialism, which is a policy of extending power and control, and usually by military force and hegemony, the government of the United States is the best example. Imperialism, terrorism and war go hand in hand. But it begins with capitalism, private ownership and profit-making,” she said in the interview.Has the left turned its back on America?
“We learned about imperialism through the history of the colonization of Africa, Asia, South America, Australia, annexation of Hawaii, and the take-over of both the Caribbean Islands, and much of the Pacific. In all these instances of incursions and usurpations of other people’s territories, it was the epitome of white superiority,” she said then.
“Yes, there is certainly a relationship between imperialism and racism, and imperialism and white superiority. It was white superiority and racism that gave western people the impetus to rule over or control people of color as if people of color were inferior,” she said,
Kochiyama then gushed about bin Laden, two years after 9/11.
She said of bin Laden, “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 US government and those who held power in the US. I think all of them felt the US government and its spokesmen were all arrogant, racist, hypocritical, self-righteous, and power-hungry,” she said.
She also said that “freedom fighters all over the world, and not just in the Muslim world, don’t just support him; they revere him; they join him in battle. He is no ordinary leader or an ordinary Muslim. He may have once been surrounded with luxuries, but he adapted to the realities of a hunted ‘terrorist leader,’ living in caves and doing without modern commodities…He went through heaven and hell with his men…”
The woman held up for honor by the Biden White House then said, “I do not care what the US government or Americans feel–I think it’s shameful what this government has done from the beginning of its racist, loathsome history.”
“And today, when I think what the US military is doing, brazenly bombing country after country, to take oil resources, bringing about coups, assassinating leaders of other countries, and pitting neighbor nations against each other, and demonizing anyone who disagrees with US policy, and detaining and deporting countless immigrants from all over the world, I thank Islam for bin Laden,” she said.
“America’s greed, aggressiveness, and self-righteous arrogance must be stopped. War and weaponry must be abolished.”