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Over 80 people gathered in the Bowl Room of Houston Hall last night to view two films that dealt with the effects of racism during times of war, followed by a panel discussion with some of the films' producers. The first film, Family Gathering, dealt with the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. Lise Yasui, the film's writer and producer, said that the film chronicled her family's experiences during the war. "[I wanted to] show how these rather large events in history trickle down and affect people on a day to day level," Yasui said. "I had learned about [the internment] through facts and figures." Yasui said that the film was intended to "personalize a rather obscure portion of American history." Voices in Exile: Immigrants and the First Amendment was about seven Arabs living in Los Angeles who were accused of terrorism by the Federal Bureau of Investigation after they distributed information about Palestinians living in the West Bank. "The main focus is whether immigrants have the right to free speech," said Laura Hayes, who produced the film after following the case for several years. After the films were shown, Yasui, Hayes and attorney Khaled Abu El-Fadl fielded questions from the audience. El-Fadl said that there has been a recent "upsurge in cases" of discrimination against Arabs because of the Persian Gulf war. The panel also discussed a contingency plan for fighting terrorism, developed in 1986 by a government task force that included then-Vice President George Bush, which called for the internment of Arabs. Panel members pointed to the plan as an example of racist attitudes during war. Audience members said they were impressed with the films. "I thought it was very informative," said Philadelphia resident Sandy Clory. "There's a lot of confusion going on." She added that she was disappointed that only the problem of racism, and not a solution to it, was discussed. And student who attended the forum said they felt that the films raised issues that are sometimes swept under the rug in wartime. "I think this is an important point that was overlooked in discussions about the war," said Annenberg graduate student Bill Mikulak. "I think racism in any war affects all people," added College senior Amy Hsi, who helped plan the program. "Just in building this program we were able to reach a greater understanding of each others cultures," said Scott Kurashige, a member of the Asian-American Students Alliance. "I was happy both because of the attendance and because of the quality of the films, which were up to the standards we were looking for," said Fine Arts graduate student Yasir Sakr, one of the event's organizers.

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