On Thursday Google unveiled an astonishingly controversial choice of Google doodle, the whimsical temporary alteration the homepage logo that hundreds of millions of people load each day. Go to Google’s homepage and you’ll see the funky horn-rimmed spectacles of Yuri Kochiyama, a Japanese-American activist who befriended Malcolm X and was iconically photographed cradling her dying friend after he was shot on February 21, 1965.
Then she joined the black separatist group known as the New Republic of Africa, advocated for the blood-soaked Peruvian Marxist terrorist movement known as Shining Path, defended multiple convicted cop-killers, and praised Osama bin Laden as “one of the people I admire… I thank Islam for bin Laden.”
Some of Kochiyama’s activism is fairly uncontroversial. The Civil Liberties Act of 1988, signed by Ronald Reagan, granted $20,000 compensation to each Japanese-American interned after Pearl Harbor. Kochiyama, who spent three years in an internment camp in Arkansas, was well known for her activism for compensation and recognition for the forced evacuees.
Defender of Terrorists
However, Kochiyama’s radicalism went far deeper than the “EQUALITY” sign Google’s artist placed behind her. Perhaps her most eye-catching protest occurred in 1977 when she and a group of Puerto Rican independence activists took the Statue of Liberty “hostage,” demanding the release from prison of four Puerto Rican nationalists convicted of attempted murder who in 1954 had shot up the House of Representatives, injuring five congressmen. (Kochiyama definitely had a soft spot for terrorists who attacked Capitol Hill—she later befriended Marilyn Buck, who was jailed for helping to plant a bomb in 1983 in the U.S. Senate. Kochiyama viewed Buck and her other friends as unjustly incarcerated “political prisoners.”)
Kochiyama saw herself as a defender of oppressed peoples, but the people of Puerto Rico have never voted for independence. In the status referendum of 2012, 94 percent of Puerto Ricans voted to remain part of the evil, oppressive United States. Ironically, Kochiyama later became an advocate for convicted terrorist Yu Kikumura, a member of the Japanese Red Army, a psychotically brutal terrorist gang best known for the Lod Airport massacre of 1972, when 17 Puerto Rican Christian pilgrims were gunned down in an Israeli airport. The international terrorist movement Kochiyama advocated for only brings suffering and death to its supposed beneficiaries.
Similarly, Kochiyama advocated for Abimael Guzman, the Marxist former philosophy professor and leader of the Shining Path, a group second only to the Khmer Rouge for its vicious insanity. Shining Path notoriously massacred the peasants (including women and children) on whose behalf they were supposed to be fighting. Kochiyama visited Peru with the Revolutionary Communist Party and carefully researched the civil war in Peru, but was unfazed by the gore, saying that “[t]he more I read, the more I came to completely support the revolution in Peru.”
Also, I Love Cop Killers
So it’s hardly a surprise that Kochiyama was one of the most high-profile supporters of Mumia Abu-Jamal, notoriously convicted of the murder of Philadelphia cop Daniel Faulkner, and Assata Shakur, who slayed New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foester. But even most Mumia activists pretend to think murder is wrong. Kochiyama was more honest. In 2003, interviewed by the radical newspaper “The Objector,” Kochiyama said, “I consider Osama bin Laden as one of the people that I admire” and that “freedom fighters all over the world, and not just in the Muslim world, don’t just support him; they revere him; they join him in battle. He is no ordinary leader or an ordinary Muslim.” (Kochiyama was herself a convert to Islam.)
So what was Google thinking? Google has courted controversy in the past with its choice of doodles. No one objects to quickly drawn Christmas trees or Beethoven’s 245th birthday, but back in 2013 more than a few eyebrows were raised when Google chose to honor Latino activist Cesar Chavez instead of Easter. Again in 2014 Google received blowback when, instead of a doodle of the D-Day landings, a Japanese Go player was featured. Stung by criticism, Google quickly replaced poor Honinbo Shusaku with photographs of the Normandy beaches.
It’s unlikely that Google as a company approves of terrorists who massacre children or cop killers, but its employees (and the employees of the other tech conglomerates) overwhelmingly share a rigidly progressive groupthink, one of whose features, unfortunately, is a deep naivety over left-wing violence. Kochiyama is “progressive anti-racist,” thus she is good. Conservatives and right-wingers are not good, so they are unworthy of being featured on the Google doodle or (as we have recently seen) Facebook’s and Twitter’s trending list.
Facebook, Twitter, and Google have accumulated vast power over Americans’ media consumption, and that means that conservatives have to watch out or our voices will get smothered.