Volume 4 Issue 3 - September 6, 2006 http://www.geocities.com/freeguahan email@example.com
Hafa Adai, yan welcome to i bente siete na Minagahet.
Several months ago a ridiculously redundant survey question appeared on the Pacific Daily News website, "Should Political Status Issues be Taught in Guam's High Schools?" My response is a ferocious hunggan, followed by a more expansive, lao debi di mas ki enao ha'.
The dominant perception of political status issues on Guam is that it is an axe which is grinded by a small number of occasionally okay and occasionally radical activists and malcontents. It is not an issue of importance for the majority of people on Guam, just those who as Joe Murphy put it, want to live in the care-free Chamorro days before K-Mart and terrorism. For Murphy and those like him, who are either self-professed defenders of the United States in Guam or just act out the fantasies of the United States in their daily lives, this issue is kalang ga'otgan, a bone stuck in the throat which cannot be removed. Their tireless defenses of the United States and its greatness rum right smack into the daily reality in Guam, which is all the more annoying because its slips into your everyday thought processes, causing the whole thing to malafunkshun even if momentarily. Take for example, the following exchange I had with someone on Guamchat after the Iraq invasion in 2003 (spelling has been fixed kosaki taitaiyon i tinige'n-mami).
GUAHU: "...what you're saying is that democracy starts at home?"
GUIYA: "Yes...we need to put on a good example for the Iraqis help them get that first step on the right track..."
GUAHU: "So then, Guam doesn't count as home for the United States right? Since the US doesn't export it here?"
GUIYA: "What?...There are other factors..."
GUAHU: "There are no other factors, if you say there are then you are just apologizing for the United States covering up its hypocrisy...if we are part of the United States, then democracy obviously doesn't start at home, and if we are not, then the whole system on Guam is f**ked up and COLONIAL...and why doesn't Bush start here since it would be easier then invading Iraq? We already call the military "liberators" here!"
The issues of Guam's continuing colonial status continues to smack all of us in the face in so many small and large ways, yet there exists an entire system of statements, holidays, historical figures, skewed genealogies and institutions meant to warp, twist and often reverse what lies right before us eyes. In my research I interviewed one Chamorro biha who had lost a number of relatives in Vietnam and spoke very chillingly about the importation and exportation of violence during that era in Guam. Fights would break out regularly between military and civilians in public schools and in bars and drug abuse skyrocketed as soldiers returned from Vietnam causing all sort of social havoc. After describing these scenes which obviously still burned in her memory I asked este na biha, if any of this trauma and pain ever made her question the relationship between Chamorros and the United States. The full weight of the ideological system I mentioned in passing above pressing down on her, this elderly Chamorro responded that sad as it might be this violence is necessary, "it is our sacrifice for being a part of the American family."
This system which we all known full and well, as we become enmeshed in it just by living, listening and learning on Guam is meant to defer/deter any questions of political status, or in another way, holidays such as Liberation Day or the push to rename Marine Drive "Marine Corps Drive" often exist to disconnect the issues we confront on Guam everyday from any understanding of Guam's political relationship to the United States. In the cases of the renaming of Marine Drive and Liberation Day, a clear-headed understanding of the United States not as Guam's Uncle or its savior, but as its colonizer (benevolent or not) is trampled to pieces beneath the parades and floods of cheap flags and even cheaper rhetoric, and replaced with themes of eternal debt and dependency, the constant need for liberation.
In the spirit of reconnecting our thinking to political status, I'll list below 6 points which because of the way they appear in Guam are directly linked to the way we (mis)understand our relationship to the United States:
1. The continuing colonial character of Guam's mainstream curriculum: (taya' Chimney giya Guahan fuera di ayu na ga'chong Si Pinocchio ni' apacha)
2. The almost pathological anti-Government of Guam perceptions: (puru ha' mambrodie, manggagu yan mamparientes i maga'pare')
3. What must be the path of Guam's economic development, in other words, following the free market example of the United States which it didn't use to build its economy and no sustainable modern economy has developed on: (yanggen maolek i free market para i Amerikanu, sen maolek siempre esta para Hita)
4. Whether Chamorro language will be revitalized, learned and be cherished or will just be discussed in reverent respectful phrases in English: (hu gof respetu i lenguahi-hu sa' Amerikanu yu', lao sa' ti Chamoru yu' ti bai hu chagi tumungo' gui', ya siempre ti bai hu na'fanungo' i famagu'on-hu i hafa dipotsi i lenguahin-niha).
5. The fact that even if everyone on Guam wrote the President of the United States, i ma'gas-na Si Cheney, i asagua-na Si Condi, yan i tentago'-na Si Rummy, asking in the most respectful tones that they please not send any more military to Guam, the United States can and would do it anyway: (Sam, Sam, kiridu-hu Sam Mungga hatme ta'lo Guam!)
6. War Reparations...(taya' fino' frihon guini, grabu na isao este na mannanagga ha' i manamko'-ta siha...)
Lastly, the links. Famoksaiyan is still moving along. A few weeks ago we had a meeting in Guam and have a few more planned in the next months throughout the West Coast. We are slowly picking up more members and also a clearer sense of what the issues are that Famoksaiyan must address. If you are interested in learning more please sign up at the listserv or our myspace page.
The Peace and Justice for Guam Petition is still circulating please click on the link to sign it or head to the Decolonize Guam blog for more information on the recent military increases in the Pacific that the petition is contesting. Despite returning to dialup during the last two months on Guam, I nonetheless kept up with posting on my blog No Rest for the Awake. Since I was on Guam over the summer, I ended up using more and more Chamorro in my posts, for example I posted an interview I did at KPRG last month called "Agondumana osino dependency taifinakpo'?" which discussed the history of separation and possible reunification of the Marianas Islands.
Ya ai na'ma'ase sa' mamatai ha' i message board FANAHGUE'YAN. Yanggen malago hao umayuda yu' muna'la'la' gui' ta'lo, put fabot email ha' yu'.
Sorry that this issue's intro is so long, but I'm in Osaka 1/4 way through a 12 hour layover, on my way away from the island I love.
Sahuma Minagahet yan Na'suha Dinagi
PEACE AND JUSTICE FOR GUAM PETITION
Ginnen I Nasion Chamoru yan The Guahan Indigenous Collective
What Can Be Saved?
Tinige' Si Julian Aguon,
pinagat nu I International Gathering of Human Rights Workers in the Asia-Pacific Region
Governor Must Remember Who He Represents
Tinige' Senadot Jesse Anderson Lujan, ginnen iyo-na column, Jesse's Corner
ginnen The Marianas Variety
Marines Blow Up Explosives in Tamuning
Tinige' As Mala'et
The Inner Beauty of I Trongkon Niyok
Tinige' Si Michael Lujan Bevacqua
Ginnen No Rest for the Awake - Minagahet Chamorro
Earthjustice Comments on the Air Force's DEIS
An environmental watchdog organization, Earthjustice requests that the United States Air Force substantially revise their Draft Environmental Impact Statement on the proposed military increases and construction at Anderson, citing glaring omissions in their report.
Chamoru Self-Determination: A Review of Free Association as a Model for Sovereignty
Tinige' as Nanan Atdao-Mami
Reflections on Independence Day
Tinige' as Hope Cristobal Jr., Psy.D.
Ten Things to Think About This July
Tinige' The Chamorro Information Activists
Simple Act of Decolonization #1
Ginnen Si Sahuma
By popular demand, a simple way to start the process of daily decolonization.
To continue the discussion please link here to our forum board
MINAGAHET is published by the Chamorro Information Activists, a non-profit, poorly funded, poorly staffed yan machalapon activist organization, created for the benefit of the people and the futures of Guam. Non-profit doesn't imply "non-profit status or anything" just that taya' suetdon-mami nu este. Pues an kala'u este, ti isao n-mami. Mismo i isaon i tinaigefsagan-mami. Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 MINAGAHET. All rights reserved. We aren't sure what that means, but we see it put at the bottom of other things, and the last thing we want to do is get in trouble for not telling people that all our rights are reserved as well. http://www.geocities.com/freeguahan firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com