Volume 4 Issue 4 - October 16, 2006 http://www.geocities.com/freeguahan minagahet@hotmail.com

 

Hafa Adai, yan welcome to i bente ocho na Minagahet

This issue I am incredibly proud to present the testimonies from our brave Chamorros who recently testified before the Decolonization Committee at the United Nations.

Read them carefully because they are full of both horrifying historical and contemporary facts and statistics that you should but probably don’t know, but also in their spirit and their creativity they can only fill those of us who want a better future for Guam , with hope.

Although, me personally I have little hope for the United Nations unless a huge shift in global power (and not just opinion, sa’ esta matulaika este) takes place, the importance in this trip to New York , should not be limited only to their testimony. Fine’nina, given the age of those who testified, we are seeing the trial by fire training of the next generation of Chamorro activists up close. Para Guahu, fihu kalang linemlem yu’ nu este, sa’ estague i fine’nina biahi na sinientete-ku na bihu yu’ put che’cho’ activism!

Mina’dos, by meeting with representatives at the United Nations and more importantly meeting with other social justice and activist organizations during their time in New York , they are actively contesting the visibility of Guam .

I know that we are accustomed to think of Guam as invisible. The country that we are supposed to love to death, barely knows we exist, so many of us think that the natural state of the Chamorro is dipotsi nao’ao, transparent. Throughout the world Guam is either completely unknown or thought of as a military appendage to the United States . But here is the point, to those who do know, Guam is not just visible, but hypervisible. Guam and the military don’t just umaya bunita, but kana’ umacha, almost become one. Nearly everyone in the military knows something about Guam, just as surprisingly they know something about Diego Garc ia Island .

But this also extends to those outside of the United States and to the rest of the world. I found it very interesting recently when I was reviewing every single international media piece I could find on the announced plan to flood Guam with Okinawa’s Marines and battalions from South Korea , that Guam itself is never discussed, only mentioned. Despite Guam’s ambiguous political status, and the fact that these are reporters for whom Guam is not their colony, they nonetheless feel that the natural state of existence for Guam is to receive and accommodate the United States military. And the difference between this media and some American media and Guam’s media, is that they assume this without any reference or knowledge of the liberation complex that continues to strangle Guam .

It is vitally important that there are people contesting this representation, pushing to re-work the way Guam is seen so that people understand it not simply as a site where the United States stations troops and projects its power, but as a place which has indigenous people, and where people are actively struggling against colonialism and militarism, as well as patriotically welcoming it. For most anti-war and leftist or liberal groups in the United States, Guam lies beneath their radar or simply in another universe, despite the fact that Guam has served more than a century as a pivotal link in projecting and defending American Empire, they either no nothing about it, or don’t see it as having anything to do with their activism. Take for instance Chalmers Johnson’s incredible book The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy and the End of the Republic which is an eye-opening political economy treatise on the material existence of America ’s current and historical empire. Guam only makes an appearance in this book within a series of equivalences, or to put it another way, as something only mentioned in a group, but which has no meaning apart from that chain of equivalences. The most famous example of this I call 1898, Philippines , Puerto Rico , Cuba , Guam, Samoa . In books dealing with American Empire you will constantly find reference to this chain of equivalences, but rarely ever will it be accompanied with anything specifically dealing with Guam.

These testimonies articulate important links between continuing colonialisms, struggles for sovereignty and battles against mercantilism and economic neocolonialism that are taking place in Guam and around the world. Through interventions such as this we can reshape the way Guam is understood around the world and in the United States, and break away from the perception of Guam as a subservient pathological dependency of the United States, and assert it instead as a place where peace and justice are loved and fought for because we were, not long ago, an island embroiled in the agony of an unjust war.

Otro fino'-ta, Famoksaiyan is moving along wonderfully, although still very informally. We are working now on putting together a book comprised of the papers presented at the first conference in April, as well as a number of consciousness pieces written by young Chamorros who are struggling to reconnect to their roots and want to do so in a progressive and critical way. There will also be a Famoksaiyan Southern California meeting on November 19th at the Guam Communications Network office in Long Beach. Please get in touch with me if you would like more information, or sign up for the listserv or our myspace page

More than 400 individuals and organizations have signed Peace and Justice for Guam Petition, and it was recently presented at the United Nations. If you are worried about the recent nuclear tests in North Korea , please sign this petition so we can help push elected officials both in Guam and Washington D.C. away from the antagonism that has made America a “rogue state” around the world, and Guam an easy 212 square mile target in the Western Pacific. For more information on United States militarization in the Pacific and around the world, head to the petition’s blog Decolonize Guam.

Achokka' sigi ha' mati i message board FANAHGUE'YAN, la'la'la' ha' iyo-ku blog No Rest for the Awake - Minagahet Chamorro

Sahuma Minagahet yan Na'suha Dinagi

Sahuma

 

ARTICLES

PEACE AND JUSTICE FOR GUAM PETITION

Ginnen I Nasion Chamoru yan The Guahan Indigenous Collective

Breaking the Cycle of Colonialism

Sinangan Si Fanai Castro

Ginnen I Chamoru Cultural Development and Research Institute (CCDRI)

 

"Our administering power, the U.S. , has promised this international body that the self-determination of our people will not be denied. We have come here today because through the unity of nations, this international body holds the power of voice to break the cycle of colonialism."

Chamoru Self Determination Pa'go!

Sinangan Si Hope Alvarez Cristobal

Ginnen I Organization of People for Indigenous Rights (OPI-R)

 

"Your Excellencies, the freedom to run our local government, to make laws for ourselves in our homeland, to elect a non-voting US paid delegate to US Congress does not equate political freedom. And neither is writing a constitution as defined under the sovereignty of the US."

 

The Gravity of Militarization

 

Sinangan Si Julian Aguon

ginnen I Nasion Chamoru

 

"As I speak, the indigenous people of the longest colonized island in the Pacific Ocean are bracing our selves against a storm of military buildup so volatile in nature, so irreversible in consequence, and set to begin next year."

The Legacies of War...

Sinangan Si Victoria Leon Guerrero

ginnen The Guahan Indigenous Collective

 

"The legacy of World War II has led to the toxic pollution of our land and surrounding waters from nuclear and other carcinogenic waste and has increased the amounts of cancers and deaths among Chamoru people. And the legacy of World War II has meant that our Chamoru sons and daughters are forced to leave Guahan, their homeland, because the United States has limited our economic resources to tourism and military spending."

 

The Poisons of Powerlessness

 

Sinangan Si Sabina Flores Perez

Ginnen The International Peoples' Coalition Against Military Pollution (IPCAMP)

 

"The U.S. military buildup will transform our island home into a forward base with the planned expansion of runways, construction of wharf storage facilities, the establishment of a Global Strike Force, development of a live-firing range.  It will put our people in harm’s way through the potential targeting by current adversaries of the U.S.A. rather than providing stability."

Diasporas and Sacred Centers

Sinangan Si Tiffany Naputi Lacsado

Ginnen The National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum (NAPAWF)

"The sum effect of U.S. cultural hegemony and militarism is to permanently deny Chamoru people our long and uphill struggle for self-determination. The military buildup we speak of today, and the scheduled relocation of tens of thousands of additional US military personnel, is the latest act of negligence and abuse on the part of the US as the official Administering Power of Guam."

 

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 minagahet@yahoo.com or kopbla_amerika@hotmail.com