Hafa todus hamyo, ni' manmatto (yan manaitaitai)...
I guess as the first post I should write this in English so people can actually read it.
Why am I starting a blog? Several reasons, but first if you don't know me, let me introduce myself. My name is Michael Lujan Bevacqua, from the Bitot (Lujan) and Kabesa (Flores) families. I'm 24 years old, currently attending graduate school at the University of California, San Diego.
I started this blog, because there is so much that needs to be done for our culture, our island(s) and our people. And I feel that even such a small thing as this can help in both small and large ways. I have spent my life as a Chamorro in both Guam and California, and I have seen so many of the problems that are affecting our people, and I'm not the best person to deal with or solve any of them. But I do have a love of writing and expressing myself, and so perhaps through forums such as this, or through website and message boards, we can create not only networks of education and learning, but also networks through which actions can be planned and taken.
I've seen Chamorros who have made blogs, but being a Chamorro is never truly part of their efforts. The fact that they are Chamorros isn't easily apparent or even noticable. They create media such as this as Americans, and spice up their lives and provide color through inferences of their culture or ethnic history. I hope that this isn't the only blog out there which will write as a Chamorro first, and with the fire and passion that our people deserve.
If you are expecting a friendly blog, please be warned. I'm not one of those multi-cultural, be American first, and then live as a Chamorro on the weekends or Liberation Day. I am a Chamorro first, and whatever country owns my passport next. I have met so many Chamorros both in the states and on Guam who are at last proud to be what and who they are. They can admit proudly that they are Chamorro, and speak with such admiration and love of where they come from. I enjoy these conversations, because they didn't exist when I was a kid. At fiestas in San Diego as well as Santa Rita, nowadays I can discuss how our language is fading away, the culture is slowly being lost. It feels good that we are finally accepting these things, and begining to talk about how to slow or stop them.
But for me, whenever these discussions take place, my natural reaction is to criticize the United States. I do so because its historical presence on Guam has so much to do with the destruction of our language and our culture. Yet, whenever I take convesations in these directions, I get angry looks. I get rolled eyes. I get manamko ni' manlalalu, and tell me that I'm disrespectful. This is the limitation that has been placed around our thinking and our culture. We can't go against the United States, can't talk against it, can't critique it, can't see the way its presence and influence has hurt us so much, and continues to do so.
Our government sucks, well an important point to make, before the word "favoritism" even leaves your mouth, is that we didn't get to design our own government. Educational system sucks. Before you can even think Matt Rector's name, let me tell you that we were given an educational system, and didn't get to make our own, or create our own cirriculum. So much of the way the island is, was imported here directly, and so many problems are because of this.
The truth of life is, that while there are local problems yes, we spend far too much fixating on them in very meaningless ways. So many people complain about things such as the government, or health care, or the economy, while no one save for corporations eager to capitalize on people's needs (both real and created) are willing to do anything about it. One reason why we seem to be incapable of fixing anything on Guam, doesn't have as much to do with the pare' system or Chamorro culture as we seem to think. Its the larger systems and institutions on Guam that are causing serious damage, and because of so many peoples blind and faithful devotion to America, and what they perceive to be America, no one is willing to state these basic problems, with what America has given us, as well as forced upon us.
It is time for us to start thinking beyond America, and outside of it. We are not America, if we were American for reals, then maybe I would think differently. But when I see American flags all over the island, and someone tells me that they are to express our deep love of America and our profound patriotism, and to remind America that we are Americans too, I have to laugh and cry at the same time. The island is covered with flags all the time, not to remind America that we exist, but to remind us that we exist in America, because on a daily basis, people tend to think of themselves as seperate and different, and with good reason.
We think of ourselves as being seperate because the Supreme Court, the US Congress, the Federal Government, and most of the population when not listening to a Liberation Day speech, or sitting with a veteran of the campaign on Guam, think of people on Guam as being seperate, different, and not precisely or really American. Only when we can begin to consider ourselves in this way, then we can start to make basic changes to our island in terms of American influences, which are deep, invasive and serious.