White House Celebrates Life of Activist Who Supported bin Laden

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WHIAANHPI…That is not on the page because something fell on the keyboard, that is the tag for a program in the Biden administration. The White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (WHIAANHPI) recently posted about a celebration that they had because of Women’s History Month. They gathered to honor Yuri Kochiyama, an activist who was a Japanese-American. 

She is famous for her embrace of communism and racial equality in the 20th century. And she is infamous for publicly admiring the terrorist Usama bin Laden. 

Kochiyama, it should go without saying, was a controversial activist that caused great turmoil for many. She was certainly a victim of significant discrimination in the United States, and she became a strong voice for racial unity. But she was also a strong proponent of Chairman Mao and spoke positively about certain terrorists. 

Kochiyama pubicly declared after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, “I consider Usama 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. I thank Islam for bin Laden. America’s greed, aggressiveness, and self-righteous arrogance must be stopped. War and weaponry must be abolished.”

Let me say again, the WHAANHPI honored Kochiyama’s “political and civil rights” work. At this celebration, nothing was said about her support for bin Laden. 

After she made the comments above, she went further saying that bin Laden has fought against U.S. dominance and he was fighting for Islam and all people who believe in Islam. 

Some of Kochiyama’s vitriol came because she was placed in an internment camp during the outbreak of World War II. President Franklin Roosevelt gave Executive Order 9066 which gathered and imprisoned U.S. citizens and non-citizens of Japanese descent. This is certainly one of the most regrettable violations of human rights in the history of America. It seems to have radicalized Kochiyama. She spend the rest of her life following in the path of leaders like Malcolm X, and she converted to Islam in the latter part of her life. In fact, there was a photo of Kochiyama in Life magazine showing her cradling the head of Malcolm X just moments after he was shot. 

The WHIAANHPI declared in their celebration of her, “For fifty years, Kochiyama spoke out about oppressive institutions and injustice in the United States. Her activism supported the liberation and empowerment of African Americans, Asian Americans, and Puerto Ricans.”

This woman not only supported bin Laden, but she was also a vocal supporter of the Shining Path movement. This was led by the former philosophy professor Abimael Guzmán. He was also a Maoist terrorist. Shining Path killed about 24,000 people over 12 years. It led to a campaign to overthrow the Peruvian government in a communist revolution.

Kochiyama said that what was taking place in both Peru and the United States was a serious campaign to discredit Guzmán and the Shining Path movement. She said that America was “tainting” them as terrorists and making their struggle more difficult through lies. She went further and said that leaders in the United States were int

Imitating anyone who supported them. 

Yuri Kochiyama died of natural causes at her home in Berkeley, California on June 1, 2014. She was 93 years old. 

It is understandable why this woman might have had reason to fight against injustice and racial discrimination. It is understood why this woman might have held hatred in her heart for America. What is not understandable is why a White House administration felt that it was OK to celebrate and honor her life.