Open e-letter (copy forwarded to some individuals in the Filipino community)
Dear Mr. Rubin,
I would like to request that you explain your statement about "captured Filipinos" in Alcatraz prison. I am pasting below the book review.
I just went thru the names of 750 inmates in Alcatraz Prison & have difficulty finding any Filipino names. Please explain where, when, why & how did the Filipinos ended in Alcatraz prison.
Although it is true that there were American soldiers who had deserted to the Filipino cause during the Philippine American War and were subsequently sent to Alcatraz as inmates, however to call them captured Filipinos would not be factual at all. I have a passing knowledge of that episode in U.S. Philippine history since 2nd Lt Thomas Embry, my grandfather served in the aforementioned war.
Most important, because of the negative connotations I would request that explanation should be rendered accordingly to a rather substantial Filipino community in SF Bay Area who dearly treasure their heritage.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Maria Elizabeth Embry
Antioch Ca 94509
Antioch Ca 94509
' Alcatraz ,' by David Ward
Friday, May 22, 2009
By David Ward with Gene Kassebaum
( University of California Press ; 548 pages; $34.95)
To tell San Franciscans who see the island daily (fog permitting) to read a book all about Alcatraz might seem the height of chutzpah, but this one is so exhaustive as history and analysis that it is well worthwhile. Of course, Alcatraz is a name that resonates nationally, even globally, as a symbol of doing hard time, of isolation - a true island fortress. The authors, two emeritus professors of sociology, know a good description when they see it and so they begin their introduction with words from one of those incomparable BBC broadcast "Letters From America" by Alastair Cooke:
"In the middle of San Francisco Bay there rises an island that looks like a battleship ... and when it has not been armed as such, first by the Spaniards and then by the United States Army, it has been a prison of one kind or another. First it was a so-called disciplinary barracks for renegade Indian scouts. Then for captured Filipinos. And always for army traitors. The Spanish lieutenant who discovered it in 1775 might well have called it the Alcazar if he had not been struck by clouds of pelicans that floated around it. So he called it after the bird itself - Alcatraz ."