Monday, March 24, 2014

Keeping conscience alive: LaborNet TV “Postwar era for US base workers”

INA Takahiro (left), who had worked at an ammunition depot of the US Military in Okinawa since he was nineteen, said on March 12, 2014 on a LaborNet TV program, “The majority of US base employees were women in their 40s and 50s. They managed to survive the ground war in Okinawa and lost their family members. We are fed up with war, but we had no choice but to work at a US base to produce ammunition or cooperate for war efforts in Vietnam. Although we had to survive, we also felt conflicted so much”. He continued, “However, women were great. They led a strike in 1963 by forming a union called Zengunro – All Okinawa Federation of Unions at US Bases”. ISONO Naoshi, a staff writer of Okinawa Times local paper, carefully summarized testimonies of 83 US base workers in his book “Working at Military Bases – Postwar Era for US Base Employees”, despite frequent refusal of some base workers to talk to him. Mr. Isono energetically said, “They survived the ground war in Okinawa and have kept conscience in poverty. I wanted to write about this. It is important to pass down the history to the future generation in order not to repeat war”. (M)
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「米軍基地で働いていたのは40~50代の女性が多かった。沖縄戦を生き残った人、家族を失った人たちだ。戦争はこりごり。しかし基地の仕事しかなく、砲弾をつくったりベトナム戦争に加担させられた。生活のためとはいえ、その葛藤は大きかった」。米軍弾薬庫で19歳から働いてきた稲隆博さん(左)は、12日の 「レイバーネットTV」で基地労働の実態を語った。「でもおばさんの力はすごかった。1963年には全軍労という労働組合をつくりストライキで闘ったが、その主力がこの女性たちだった」。基地労働者の話を丹念に掘り起こし『基地で働く―軍作業員の戦後』をまとめた沖縄タイムス記者・磯野直さん(右)は、「何度も取材拒否にあいながら83人の証言をまとめた。沖縄戦をくぐり貧困の中で良心を守ってきた一人ひとりのことを伝えたかった。戦争を繰り返さないためにも、歴史を残し受け継いでいくことが大事だ」と力をこめた。(M)

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