Volume 6 Issue 1 - January 22, 2008 minagahet@lists.riseup.net

 

Hafa Adai, yan welcome to i mina'trenta singko na Minagahet

Guam is no different than most places in the United States empire, in that it doesn't think kind about, or simply doesn't think about the United Nations. 

Although, people on Guam may think of themselves as the most American things in the world, and not see any real fundamental problems with how their island exists in relation to the United States, legally we are still a problem and we are still the United Nation's problem. People argue all the time about whether Guam's status as a colony is good or bad. And for those who find this unbelievable, I'm sad to say its not, I get emails or comments on my blog all the time, from people, Chamorro and non-Chamorro who argue that colonialism in the case of the Guam is actually a good thing! In everyday life, we hear this argument through "corruption talk." For my research on my dissertation I regularly search the internet for blogs that are from Guam or discuss or mention Guam. For non-local blogs from Guam, meaning blogs by military and evangelicals who are stationed on Guam, it seems like its a requirement that you have at least one post where you discuss just incredibly how decrepit and corrupt the island is. How everything is falling apart, how people are ruining things. For these people, it is precisely colonialism, a heavy presence and level of control which keeps all this corruption and destruction at bay. If not for colonialism, then it would wash over the island and wiping away all that is good that America has brought here. Sadly, people on Guam, who live on Guam and are from Guam tend to hold these same limiting ideas, in the way they link "decolonization" and "suicide," together to resist any fundamental change, because such actions might cause the island to explode and slide into the Marianas Trench. Para este siha, taya' mas na'ma'a'nao nu este na fina'pos. Destrosa todu, chule' todu i kuttura-hu, lenguahi-hu yan taotao-hu, lao mungga mapacha i inamerikanu giya Guahan! Manmatai hit todu sin enao!!!!

But whether you think colonialism is good or bad, it doesn't touch, doesn't tamper with, doesn't not affect, no matter how many fantastic things you say about American colonialism, the fact that Guam exists, in a very ordinary and regular way, a colony of the United States! "State-like" treatment is what Virgin Islands Congresswoman Donna Christensen called the way that Guam and the other territories of the United States are treated by the United States Congress. During the meetings she had with people on Guam last year, she invoked this phrase in order to put to rest fears that Guam was being mistreated or being abused by the Feds, the military or Congress. The image it creates is that everything is basically fine, your status isn't colonial, isn't disenfranchised, after all you are treated "just like states." This nice label, can be added to all the other nice labels that Guam is shouldered with, Guam, USA, Where America's Day Begins, America in Asia, Tip of the Spear, which all create feeling of Guam being part of the United States, but not really a part. 

In this gap between Guam being "a part" and "apart" of the United States, we find the obligation of the United Nations to helping assist Guam in getting out of the this ambiguous and semi-voiceless position. Yet on Guam, the United Nations is treated as if its just a little bit better than Al Qaeda or Gloria Estefan in terms of local hatred. But people on Guam actually know very little about the United Nations, as do people in the United States. Their reactions tend to be of the most primal nationalist/imperialist or in the case of Guam colonist character. It doesn't matter what the United Nations can do, might represent or what spirit or hopes for a better world it was born from, all that matter is that the United Nations in some exists as a challenge to the sovereignty of the United States, and dares to limit it power. The next step of this hatred for the UN could be termed "ego-imperial" because, not only is this disgust derived from the challenges to the "nation" of the United States and its sovereignty, but the UN is also a challenged to the imperial idea that so many American are invested in, that the only thing which can actually lead this world or make it better, is the United States.

Despite this stubborn resistance to see that America exists as a member of the world of nations, and not the king of such world, there are those who are still working with the promise of global justice, democracy and decolonization that the United Nations is supposed to represent. Gi este na espiritu, In 2007, Chamorros and their allies traveled twice to the United Nations to speak on behalf of Guam, and inform the world as to its political status and the resistance of the United States to the decolonization of their own colonies. This issue of Minagahet is comprised of the testimonies of these visits, the first which took place in June and addressed the United Nations Special Committee of 24 on Decolonization, and second in October which was to the Fourth Committee. 

I guinifen i mañainå-ta para ta fanmanlibre ta’lo, achokka’ mafñas, ti ma’pos. Gi i kinalamten este na manhoben siña ta li’e, siña ta pacha, ta siña ta na’la’la’ gui’ ta’lo.

And before I go, let me once again list all my blogs where you can find more info, Decolonize Guam BlogNo Rest for the Awake - Minagahet Chamorro, Voicing Indigeneity.

 

Sahuma Minagahet yan Na'suha Dinagi

Sahuma

 

PINAGAT SIHA

Histories of Apathy and Histories of Hope

Pinagat as Keith Lujan Camacho, Assistant Professor UCLA

 

"To date, neither the United States nor the United Nations has made any sustained attempt to prepare the Chamorro people of Guam toward "self-determination," as defined by United Nations Resolution 1541. In fact, the United States history of political relations with Guam can be best described as one of apathy, ignorance, racism and unilateralism."

Remnants of Colonialism, Recommendations for the Future

Pinagat as Hope Cristobal, Psychologist

 

"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."

 

Endangering Chamoru Self-Determination

 

Pinagat as Sabina Florez Perez, Economic and Environmental Activist

 

"In this time of great need for Chamorros and Guam, with the overwhelming burden of inequality accumulating, the expediting of the current US militarization, the huge conflicts of interest of those entrusted with preserving our human rights and their subsequent disregard for it, it is essential to ensure that all the accomplishments of our forebears on behalf of decolonization and self-determination be maintained."

An Island for Sale...

Pinagat as Victoria Leon Guerrero, The Guahån Coalition for Peace and Justice

 

"In August, the United States military control over Guåhan could be seen and felt everywhere. Bombers and jets crisscrossed and raced each other low in the sky above us, playing such wild games that one plane crashed into the ocean, and two others collided. Big ships were ever-present in the horizon. The clouds were dark and the air full of angst as our island played host to the biggest military exercises in the Pacific since the Vietnam War."

 

Protecting Our Roots

 

Pinagat as Rima Miles, Guahån Indigenous Collective

 

"I am here to testify in support of the Chamorro people's right to self-determination as a person who will not be eligible to vote and sees the dire need to support this right for the sake of my home, family and community. Many of us who have lived on the frontlines, the fencelines, have come to believe that the oppressive realities we survive daily are evidence of a militarized world that is threatening all humanity. The adverse effects of the US positioning itself to be engaged in war and continual military action have been long been visible to us, and are now beginning to shake more and more people awake from their comfort as they creep closer."

From the Waiting Room of History

Pinagat Si Michael Lujan Bevacqua, Famoksaiyan

"As the people of Guam patiently await and seek decolonization, they do so in a world where we hear far more about the failures of the recent decades of decolonization, rather than the hypocrisy and evil of contemporary and previous forms of colonization, domination and exploitation. As Guam sits, a fortunate political footnote to world’s largest self-described beacon of freedom and democracy, it seems to have learned the twisted lesson of American colonialism, which happens to be a reversal of an old decolonization slogan, namely that “self-government is no substitute for good government.'"

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Postcolonial Futures in a Not Yet-Postcolonial World

 

Call for Papers for a conference to take place March 5-7, 2008 at the University of California, San Diego, which will discuss the intersections of ethnic, indigenous and postcolonial studies, in particular places such as Guam and communities such as Guam, who find themselves trapped in a colonial existence in a world where colonialism is supposedly non-existent. 

 

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, 2007, 2008  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.  EMAIL minagahet@lists.riseup.net PARA UN TUNGO' MAS