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Google Honors Activist Who Deemed U.S. Government World’s ‘Main Terrorist’

Search engine celebrates Yuri Kochiyama, who once expressed admiration for Osama bin Laden

Yuri Kochiyama
Yuri Kochiyama / AP
• May 19, 2016 1:10 pm

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Google on Thursday honored the late Yuri Kochiyama, a prominent Asian-American activist who during her life protested bitterly against the U.S. government and the American military’s war on terror.

The search engine recognized Kochiyama’s 95th birthday with a "Google Doodle" of the human rights activist on its home page. Announcing the move, Google celebrated Kochiyama for her legacy of advocacy "for peace, U.S. political prisoners, nuclear disarmament, and reparations for Japanese Americans interned during the war."

Kochiyama, a survivor of the World War II Japanese internment camps in the United States, is known for her friendship with Malcolm X and her participation in the Puerto Rican and black liberation movements as well as other causes.

She is less often recognized, however, for demonizing the United States as the world’s "main terrorist" and enemy following the devastating September 11, 2001, terror attacks.

Kochiyama began speaking out about the "predictable escalation of U.S. military incursions" following the attacks perpetrated by al Qaeda, the book Heartbeat of a Struggle: The Revolutionary Life of Yuri Kochiyama details. She accused the United States of waging a war on terror in order to "[take] over the world."

"The United States has gained support for its wars by using media to whip up war hysteria. During World War II they demonized the Japanese; today they are demonizing Muslims and Arabs. And just as the war against Japan … resulted in the racial profiling and internment of Japanese in America, the ‘war on terrorism’ has resulted in the racial profiling and detainment of Arabs, Muslims, South Asians, and all people of color living in the U.S. today," Kochiyama said in an interview with the War Times.

She also sought to offer context for the "U.S. government’s fanatical targeting of an Osama bin Laden or a Saddam Hussein," according to the book.

"It’s important that we all understand that the main terrorist and the main enemy of the world’s people is the U.S. government," Kochiyama said following the attacks. "Racism has been a weakness of this country from the beginning. Throughout history, all people of color, and all people who don’t see eye-to-eye with the U.S. government have been subjected to American terror."

In an interview published about two years after the attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center, Kochiyama further lambasted the "aggressive" U.S. military and expressed admiration for Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda who American officials believe to be responsible for several acts of terror, including the 9/11 attacks.

"I consider Osama bin Laden as one of the people that I admire. To me, he is in the category of Malcolm X, Che Guevara, Patrice Lumumba, Fidel Castro, all leaders that I admire," Kochiyama said.

Kochiyama stated, according to a 2003 interview with Los Angeles Indymedia, when asked about her support for the al Qaeda leader killed by U.S. Navy SEALs in a raid years later.

"Besides being strong leaders who brought consciousness to their people, they all had severe dislike for the U.S. government and those who held power in the U.S. I think all of them felt the U.S. government and its spokesmen were all arrogant, racist, hypocritical, self-righteous, and power hungry," she continued.

Kochiyama then appeared to endorse "freedom fighters" who "revere" bin Laden and "join him in battle."

"I do not care what the U.S. government or Americans feel—I think it’s shameful what this government has done from the beginning of its racist, loathsome history," she stated later.

"When I think what the U.S. 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 U.S. 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."

Google’s announcement does not acknowledge Kochiyama’s controversial statements about the U.S. government and bin Laden.

"Today's doodle by Alyssa Winans features Kochiyama taking a stand at one of her many protests and rallies. Kochiyama left a legacy of advocacy: for peace, U.S. political prisoners, nuclear disarmament, and reparations for Japanese Americans interned during the war," the search engine wrote Thursday. "She was known for her tireless intensity and compassion, and remained committed to speaking out, consciousness-raising, and taking action until her death."

Representatives for Google did not respond by press time to an inquiry about the company’s decision to honor Kochiyama given her past statements.

Kochiyama, who was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2005, died in June 2014 at the age of 93.

Published under: Google