Friday, December 31, 2004

I Hinemhom

Gi i mas homhom na patten i puengi
I nana-ta yan I tata-ta siha, manmapuno'
Man ma amot hit
Sina un hungok i mililak i hagan-niha
Gi guinaifin i manglo'
Sina ta hungok i chalek-niha
Gi i pineddong i ichan
I mengmong i korason-niha
Poddong taiguihi i estreyas ginnen i langhet
I puengi yan i halom tano', sagan-niha pa'go
Guihi gi i hale yan i hagon siha ni' muna'chochocho i anti-ta
Ni' ma o'oppe I finaisen-ta siha put i tano'
Kueston-ta put hayi hit? yan Ginnen manu hit magi?
Si nana-ta yan tata-ta na gaige siha gi respuesta
Siha umaladu i edda', ma tanom i trengko siha, mameska i tasi
Siha muna'i hit ni' i haga' ni' malalgo kulang saddok siha gi halom i tahtaotao-ta siha
Ginnen i mas homhom na patten i puenge yan i tano'
Manonoghe siha, kesnuda yan manmana'atan gi entre i trengko siha
Huyong giya Hita
Sina un li'e i langun-niha gi i kinalamten i tasi
I kinekuyong i tasi

Wednesday, December 29, 2004


Despensa na apmam desde pumost yu' guini. Estaba gaige yu' giya Hawaii para Krismas, ya put i bumabakashon-hu, sigi' ha' maleffa yu' pumost. Lao esta matto yu' ta'lo giya San Diego, pues bei tutuhun ta'lo.

Lao para pa'go, este ha' sa' tumunok yu' ginnen i batkon aire gof taftaf gi i egga'an, ya mampos yayas yu'.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Agent Orange

I was just surfing the net, and I googled "michael moore" and "Guam," and the first thing that popped up was a anti-Michael Moore website message board, which have this link, describing the places outside of Vietnam where Agent Orange was used.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Abstract from Easter Island Conference

Rapa Nui and the Marianas: Approaches to a Comparative Analysis.
Steve Pagel, Martin Luther Universitaat

Clarence Darrow once said that history repeats itself, and that this is just one of its failings. Taking up this hypothesis, this paper will contrast the current language contact on Rapa Nui with a simliar historical situation at the opposite end of the Pacific: the Marianas. In 1898 an era of spanish hegemony came to an end on these islands that had lastet nearly three centuries, a timespan in which the intensive contact with the colonial power left its profound marks on both the islands' culture and language. Rogers (1995), for instance, states a hybrid culture for the major island Guam at the end of the 19th century which had entirely absorbed the indigenous population, the Chamoru, and thus it may not seem surprising that the language of these "Neo-Chamoru" has long become an essential part of the language-contact debate (cf. Albalá Hernández/Rodríguez-Ponga 1986; Rodríguez-Ponga 1995; Stolz 1998, 2004; Pagel/Pfänder 2001; Pagel 2003). In fact, especially the typological status of modern Chamoru is controversial: loans from Spanish have found their way into every field of the language to various degrees, but the hispanity of the chamoran morphosyntaxis in particular seems to be crucial regarding a classification of the language (cf. Topping 1973; Pagel 2003; Stolz 2004).

A comparison with the actual contact-situation Rapanui-Spanish is therefore rewarding in many respects: the conditions and circumstances on both ends of the Pacific are considerably similar, be it the opposition of a language from the austronesian language-phylum to the same indoeuropean language or the certain geographical isolation; and similar active processes of language change can be observed in both contact situations. One fundamental question of this presentation will therefore be, whether such factors as bilingualism, borrowing and interference as described for Rapa Nui (cfr. Makihara 1999, 2001, 2004) already prepared the ground for a development similar to that of the language of the Marinas — another question will deal with factors counteracting this process, and whether this "mistake" of history as described by Darrow could not be avoided.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Guinife-hu, silly ha' lao i guinife-hu ha'

Miget: Hey, hafa lai. Mamaolek ha' todus giya Hamyo?

Jose: Hunggan lai, maolek todu.

Jesus: Hu'u nai.

Miget: Hey, kao en egga' ayu na nuebu na mubi ginnen Si Shah Rukh Khan?

Jose: Manu ayu?

Jesus: Kao kumuekuentos hao put ayu yan Si Pretty Kinta? Hafa ma a'gang ayu?

Jose: Veer Zaara lai.

Jesus: Hunggan nai, kao ayu?

Miget: Ahe' ahe'. Guaha ni' mas nuebu. Mafana'an gui' Swades.

Jose: Hafa kumekeilek-na Swades?

Miget: Gi fino' Chamorro, kumekeilek-na "Taotao."

Jesus: Ke ya hafa? Esta un egga'? Kao ya-mu?

Miget: Ahe' tribiha, agupa' para u mana'huyong giya San Diego, pues bei egga'.

Jose: Pues sangani yu' hafa hinasso-mu put Guiya. Ya-hu Si Shah Rukh, gof fotte na petsona.

Jesus: Ya bunitu lokkue. Hehehe. Fihu i famalao'an ma cheflayi gui', nai humalom gui' gi i screen.

Miget: Magahet hamyo, lao para Guahu, esta o'sun yu' nu ayu na petsona ni' sigi ha' ha play. Ga'na-ku an pau chagi nuebu. Sa' sesso pretty boy ma ayeki gui'.

Jose: Hunggan, guse'na flop este Swades siempre linemlem hao.

Jesus: Nu Guahu, i mas bunitu na lahi Si Hritik, yan i mas bunita na palao'an, Si Mahdri Dixit.

Miget: No way palau, todu matungo' na Si Rani Mukerjee i mas sinexy no palao'an gi i kachidon Hindi.

Jose: Manatmario hamyo na dos, Si Malaika siempre!

Kao sina magahet este na guinife? Kontat ki na ti meggai na taotao sina fumino' Chamorro, ahe'.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

A dash of Hindi

For anyone who wants to bust out some Hindi on an unsuspecting someone... after describing how something sucks, but you've gotta do it, or it must be done, repeat the following phrase.

Sab Ganda hai
Par Sab Danda hai

Here is an example of how its used in conversation:

Jose: Lana prim, kao un hongge' i taimamahlao-na este na maga'lahi pa'go?

Jesus: Ahe' lai, baba este. Batbarias todu.

Jose: Lao hafa sina ta cho'gue? Taya'...sab ganda hai, par sab danda hai

Friday, December 17, 2004

inafa'maolek part 2

There are two parts of our consciousness on Guam which must be gotten rid of. 1. That we are isolated. 2. That we are too small.

While most people will state this things as if they are detatched unquestionable facts, the acceptance of these things feeds forcefully into the limiting ways we see ourselves on Guam.

These two points come from centuries of colonization by at least three imperial powers, Spain, Japan and the United States.

The by product of most colonial missions, is the indoctrination of the colonized with not just feelings of inferiority, but crucial needs and desires to depend on the colonizer. So on Guam, we see ourselves as being very very small, very very far away, therefore the only real way that we see ourselves connected with the rest of the world, is through the United States.

But because this relationship, this connection isn't innocent, but instead part of our colonial and colonizing relationship, it helps us see this connectedness in very specific and narrow ways. So the military? HUNGGAN! Connected, firmly and proudly!

But what about the fact that the United States is the largest polluting country in the world and is leading the industrial world's efforts to globally warm the world? Global warming is leading to the slow by steady melting of the earth's icecaps, which puts places like Guam and other islands (in particular atolls) in serious danger.

All the talk about dependency on the military, the desperate need for it, conjures up conversations about Guam's survival. Isn't this issue just as pertinent? Isn't this about Guam's survival too? We aren't, however supposed to see this. As a colony, we are socialized to perceive ourselves in relation to the colonizer in certain ways, and while we can react and resist, few people on Guam today seem willing too.

But then in another way, the fact that human beings can separate the possible social and environmental consequences of their actions from its economic bounty is just another testiment to the power of modernity!

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Tuck in your shirt handsome...

I just had a moment of cultural clarity the other day.

While trying on some new pants that my ex-girlfriend had bought me, I tucked my shirt in to see what it would look like. Normally unless someone demands that I tuck it in, I never tuck my shirt it. When I was modelling it, my ex remarked, "how whoa, nice pants. Now you look Chamorro."

Guana? Hu hasso na'ya put i sinangan-na. Kao magahet este? Pues hu hasso put fihu i trihin i Chamorro lahi, ya hu realisa na magahet, hunggan! Sesso ma tuck in i franelan-niha.

So, sporting my new "Chamorro" look I realized one of the many reasons why Chamorro girls never hit on me. I don't do tucked it, which means I'm hip hop, but then I don't dress hip hop and I don't act hip hop, so therefore, this combined with my painted clothes, that fact that I speak Chamorro and speak English weird means that I slip through all sorts of categories of attraction.

Will this epiphany lead me to para mo'na tuck in my shirt? I doubt it.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004


When Europeans created modernity, a centerpiece to its development was the doing away with the primitive and premodern idea that everything is and should be interrelated. The natural world and the human world must be isolated from each other, and only through their vigorous separate investigations can we find true "modern" knowledge.

We can see the effects of this is an infinite number of ways in which our lives and our existences become dependent upon keeping certain parts of ourselves separate from other parts.

Powerful interests are also at work in these demarcations. The development of the atomic bomb and other powerfully nasty and dangerous weapons depended on people only thinking that these things were being created for "scientific" purposes only, therefore not needing to question their human consequences.

On Guam today we see ourselves connected to the rest of the world in very narrow and specific ways. The most obvious and dominating connection is ours to the United States. This is what dictates what we can see as being connected or relevant to us, and more importantly what isn't supposed to be.

So what is good for the military is good for Guam. What is good for the US is good for Guam. These are connections which are so supported by Guam's media and so many everyday conversations they don't require any proof or articulation whatsoever.

But the hypervisibility and limited ways in which we are a part of this world, keeps us from seeing other less patriotic ways. Therein lies the need to look beyond America, to step outside of and beyond it.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Water privatization giya Guahan

This was published last month in the Guam Federation of Teachers magazine. Just thought I'd share it. Water privatization is something everyone on this planet should know more about, as it means turning over the basic needs of life, to an institution whose desire is to make money. Just think about health care, and then think about privatizing water. Na'ma'a'nao no? Hunggan gof na'ma'a'nao...

The goal of capitalism has always been to sustain profits, the purpose and goal of water has been to sustain life. If some of our political and business leaders have their way and privatize our island’s water utilities, the purpose of water on Guam will soon be to sustain profits.

In 2002 the United Nations finally got around to formalizing what every indigenous culture has known since ever since, when it consecrated water and access to water as a sacred right, a human right. But while the nations of the world met to designate water as something which must be used for the public good, campaigns to privatize this resource were wreaking havoc, physical and cultural destruction around the world.

From India to the Philippines to Argentina to South Africa to Puerto Rico, people are suffering and dying because governments have handed over the water of their communities to corporations and then let them make profits off of peoples' needs and suffering. In India, hundreds of thousands of indigenous people are being cleared from their lands to make way for dams which irrigate less land than they submerge. In Africa, corporations have cut off water to millions causing epidemics, one such outbreak of cholera in South Africa infected 250,000 people, killing 300. In Bolivia, water prices skyrocketed so out of control that the people actually revolted, force the president from power.

After reading this list of horrors, there must be temptation to just blame it all on these countries being impoverished third world basket cases. One letter to the editor of the Pacific Daily News from last year made such an excuse, claiming that such travesties would never take place on Guam because we bask in the glorious protection of the United States Constitution. Rather then criticize him on his apparent lack of knowledge about Guam's political status and our so-called "constitutional" protection, I would like to challenge him on his statement that the United States Constitution protects against this type of abuse.

The fact of the matter is, this type of abuse is taking place all over the United States as well, and not just with water, but also with health care, electricity and other basic services. Reports by the Public Citizen, a national non-profit public interest organization reveal that around the country the privatization of water has often led to worse service and skyrocketing bills.

The predatory capitalist framework that drives these efforts, sees human beings and the needs of human beings as thing which can be exploited and used to make money. The right to life and the pursuit of happiness, which is supposedly guaranteed by the Constitution is only guaranteed so long as you can afford to create profits for corporations and insurance companies. The tragedies that other communities around the world are experiencing now, exist on smaller scales in the United States today, and will continue to intensify. The rights of the market or the corporation it seems, have become more important and more secure than the rights of humans.

On Guam, most of our leaders seem in a great hurry to give away our water as quickly as they can, and all of them have different reasons and serve different interests. Some see this move as the only way the military will dramatically increase its presence on island. Others see it as means by which they can line their own pockets. Others see it as some ideological ploy to weaken an already weak government, because of their fanatical love of the private sector. All of these things have merit, depending on how much you make each year and who you are really looking out for, but in terms of long term planning, none of these motivations take into account the interests of the people of Guam.

As a community we have to take a stand on this issue. Although Guam’s water system has serious problems, bringing in an outside company only interested in using the people of Guam to make more money cannot be considered in the best interests of the island. So long as the water is publicly distributed and publicly owned, then we, the people of Guam will control it.

For those who struggle regularly with little to no water, it is easy to think that handing it over to the private sector or to anyone but GovGuam would be a good idea. But if you really think about that for a moment, you will see how risky that idea is. Regardless of who controls our water, the same problems will exist and have to be fixed. So we can have the government work at it, at less cost, and although it may seem like it, things are slowly improving (often times water shortages result not because of GWA, but because the Navy limits the amount of water we receive). Or we can hand over our water to a private corporation who will also fix the problems but in the process make a profit, which will be added onto each of our bills. Considering the already high cost of living on Guam, this fact should make everyone very concerned. What if our water rates were to increase by 204% as they did in Pekin, Illinois? Or become 1/5 of our income as they did in Bolivia? Or what if privatization failed and we were left with our infrastructure in worse condition and a bill for $8 million, as the residents of Lee Country, Florida were?

Water is essential for human life, and to let a company only interested in profits control our access to it is a very dangerous proposition. The leaders of our island who are pushing for privatization are treating this sacred and vital resource as if it was just another commodity to be traded on the stock exchange of our lives. But what they are really proposing and pushing for is the selling of our island’s future to the highest bidder.

On Guam we are somewhat fortunate to live in a democracy, but one mistake that people make is confusing elections for democracy, they are not one and the same. Elections often just mean substituting one rich/powerful person for another rich/powerful person, all of whom claim to represent “the people” yet go about it in surprisingly opportunistic and self-centered ways. Democracy however means people having and exercising power, which means although a vote has some value, it doesn’t mean anything alone. Democracy means putting constant pressure on those who have been voted in, and making sure they remember in whom the real power is supposed to reside. It means that if we want our water protected then we have to fight for it, and come together as a community and recognize that what we are not just in danger of losing control of our water, but control of our future as well.

Sunday, December 12, 2004


Wondering how to take down Bush? (metaphorically)

One important point to attack is the commonplace notion amongst those within the military and outside of it that Republicans support the troops more, or that Bush, because he is manly and talks like he was lobotomized by a broomstick, is the man who really loves our troops in a manly, ass pat, gang rape kind of way.

This and using 9/11 are big parts of what gives Bush power. Note that he may not actually have any affection for the troops or they may have no real loyalty towards him, but the perception is more important than actually loyalty in this instance.

This is why I am very excited to hear more and more about soldiers resisting indoctrination, and soldiers resisting being sent to war. CBS news recently reported that more than 5,000 troops have deserted since the war in Iraq began. Several months ago, a group from Mississippi, just flat out refused a mission because they weren't properly supplied and were certain that the mission was for nothing. Rumsfeld took a pounding earlier in the week from soldiers who demanded to know why they aren't being properly armed for this war, if the administration is on a "war-footing."

It is only because the soldiers do not speak out that Bush's appearance of power is maintained.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Rethinking the Chamorro Place in the American Empire

I wrote this last year in Minagahet to commemorate the 62nd year since the United States started a world war and ended up killing hundreds of Chamorros because of it. The issues haven't really changed, so I thought I'd reprint it here. You can find the original here,

Happy US Imperialism Day! Rethinking the Chamorro Place in the American Empire

by Michael Lujan Bevacqua

This December 8th will be the 62nd anniversary of the Japanese invasion of Guam, and coming next year in July, will be the 60th anniversary of the “liberation” of Guam. But before we unpack our American flags, or start practicing Uncle Sam won’t you please come back to Guam again, it is time for Chamorros to really rethink about what they are celebrating, which is far from a liberation, or reoccupation, or patriotism, but in actuality war, imperialism and militarism.

But how could this not be expected, really? Considering that our, and therefore Guam’s value to the US has always been military in nature. And the most influential and jarring event in Guam’s recent history was the second world war, and the Tiempon Chapones. And even after the war, the military became a ticket off the island, or a paycheck to find that better life, after so many lands were stolen/taken and even more livelihoods disrupted. Today, the idea of war is much closer to your average Chamorro, than it is to your average American, for three reasons; one: the impact of the sufferings of I manamko’ lives on in our daily discourse through regular constructions like “before the war” and “after the war.” Two: The fact that 1/3 of the island is held by the US military. Three: That every Chamorro has several relatives who are members of the armed forces. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the military is a big part of Chamorro culture.

When the United States was mobilizing for the “war” in Iraq, hundreds of thousands of men and women around the country shouted and protested “no!” Around the world, millions more echoed the same. On Guam however, while many may of felt that the war was wrong, there was no organized dissent, no shouts for "no war for oil" and so on (I only remember one protest, and it was small, organized by some UOG professors and mostly Academy girls). The loudest voices and the ones which ended up in the PDN or on KUAM all said it was our patriotic duty to support our troops, or that this was good news, because it would surely help our economy.

One of those arguments doesn’t make sense, and the other says the wrong things. “Support our troops?” I have always been of the mind that the best way to support our troops is to bring them home, and most people not standing underneath an American flag or attending a NRA meeting would feel the same way. What really scares me is the economic excitement over war that we all, not just Chamorros tend to get on Guam when we hear more troops are coming in, or maybe a ship will home port here. Are the hundreds of thousands of deaths in the Middle East, as well as the hundreds of US and Coalition deaths worth the construction contracts Black Construction gets for new hangars or readiness centers? Most people would say yes probably, as long as the war was just, or necessary or in the interests of our defense.

Good wars or just wars?

Most American justifications for wars or interventions in other countries come from their romantic memories of wars such as the American Revolution which was fought against colonialism. Or the Civil War which was fought to end slavery. Or the Second World War, which was fought to stop Hitler and save the Jews from the Holocaust. And besides, America's not bad, they only jumped in after they were attacked at Pearl Harbor. I guess if these justifications were all true, then Americans would have the moral high ground in terms of war, all the wars they fought were good ones, because they were for good reasons. But this couldn’t be further from the truth, and on Guam, the real nature of these wars and war in general is a vital distinction that we need to digest.

The Revolutionary War didn’t save the world from colonialism, as Guam and many others are still very much American colonies. The Civil War wasn’t fought to end slavery, as Lincoln very clearly said that if he could save the Union without freeing any slaves he would do so, and the racism that drove the slave trade, now ensures that some minorities and African Americans remain underclasses. And World War II? This is where Guam fits into the American picture, and this is the point with which we must begin.

Pearl Harbor is thought of as an unprovoked attack on the United States. And the US because of blatant Japanese aggression is brought into the war. At the same time Japanese planes from Saipan attacked Guam, bombing Hagatna and Sumay. A few days later the Japanese invaded and the occupation began. The US saves the world from the brutality of the German, Italians and the Japanese, and starts a new world order in which idea of freedom, liberty, capitalism and democracy are spread through the world, like the gospel. With press like that, it would be hard to imagine that war is a bad thing. In fact, it is because of this overwhelming propaganda effort that the US media has termed the Second World War, “the good war,” and refer to its soldiers who served overseas and helped keep the economy alive at home as the “greatest generation.”

Since the war has played such a large role in shaping our people to this very day, it is vital that we look at it with clear eyes and heads, and not become consumed by the patriotic propaganda. Because if we are to actually look back at the beginning of the war, with Pearl Harbor, and reread what unfortunately became our history, when we accepted the red, white and blue, we can see very clearly that the Untied States not only expected war, but actually forced Japan into war.

Books such as President Roosevelt and the Coming of War published in 1941 and more recently Day of Deceit by Robert Stinnett chronicle the steps that the White House and President Roosevelt took to force Japan, and therefore America into the world war. One step was the imposing of economic sanctions on Japan, others were ultimatums and demands to the Japanese that they rescind their treaties with Germany and Italy and pull out of China and Indo-China. In other words, capitulate to American economic and political dominance and stop your imperialistic activities. The Japanese unofficial response was classic. We’ll stop our imperial activities as soon as you do; we’ll pull out of China, when you pull out of Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. Faced with an uncompromising imperial power such as the US, the Japanese were either to surrender or go to war (in the face of resource shortages, such as oil, they decided to go to war)

In his text Dreaming War, Gore Vidal discussed at length the intentions of Roosevelt in bringing about the war. For instance, if Roosevelt had actually wanted peace, he had plenty of chances to pursue that route. In the year before war, there was a Peace Party in Japan, led by Prince Konoye, who repeatedly asked President Roosevelt that they meet and discuss a plan for peace. Roosevelt however, continually postponed their planned meetings, all the while meeting with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and preparing for the upcoming war.

As for the idea that the United States was taken surprise by the attack, it most certainly wasn’t. By November 1941, the US had broken the Japanese diplomatic codes, but also most of their naval codes. And on November 15th, 1941, General Marshall, the US Army Chief of Staff called in several Washington newspaper bureau chief, and informed them that the Japanese attack would come in the first ten days of December.

Even the stories of America valiantly saving Europe from Hitler’s grasp, or of the US rushing in to save the Jewish people needs to be rethought. Hitler was a monster yes, but much like Saddam Hussein, he was allowed to be a monster by other industrial nations. Men such as Churchill and Roosevelt (like California’s current governor, ARNOLD) admired Hitler for his skills in re-energizing Germany’s economy, and for whipping his country into shape, at a time when much of the world was hurting from the Great Depression. They did nothing to stop his preparations for war, did little initially when he began expanding his empire, and despite reports of atrocities against Jews for years before Pearl Harbor, the US did nothing, as American businessmen were too busy making money off his war mongering.

What does all this mean for Chamorros? First of all, our ideas about Pearl Harbor and the war need to be rethought with this information. If the United States people were set up to go to war, because of the agenda of the President, then that means that the Chamorros on Guam, were set up as well. And in actuality we have known this for a long time, but never really acknowledged it.

The idea that the US abandoned Guam was never really given the credence it needed, because Chamorros were so happy to be “rescued” in 1944, but it is something that we should always remember, especially at the most patriotic times of the year, such as now. Chamorros then knew it, even if they didn’t openly discuss it, or talk about it. Nowadays you will find it spoken of, mostly by younger Chamorros, but occasionally by I manamko’ who still can’t understand how “the greatest country in the world” would just abandon and leave people to die like that?
Let’s acknowledge this year what this anniversary truly represents. Yes, it is the day the Japanese invaded and attacked, but it is also the day the American’s left, and the day many Chamorros learned that to America they meant nothing. And although the roaring wave of patriotism of the last half century has washed away most of this dissent and discomfort (at least consciously), the old questions still persist. Why didn’t the US defend Guam? Why didn’t they tell us? Why didn’t they prepare us? If they evacuated their families, why did they not evacuate us? I was in the Navy, why didn’t they evacuate my wife, or my kids? These are all valid questions, from people who suffered so much, and unfortunately they can only be answered in a rough and difficult way, and that is that the US interest here have always had to do with the military and nothing else. The Chamorros on Guam were considered expendable during World War II, they were considered expendable during the Cold War (in case of a nuclear attack), and we are probably considered expendable today in case of any North Korean aggression or terrorist attack from Indonesia or the Philippines.

All nations become imperial nations and empire when they become large enough and the United States is no different. The US has dozens of army bases around the world, in Guam, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Great Britain, Japan, Germany (and now in Iraq and Afghanistan) and more. It has colonies in Guam, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Virgin Islands and others. Through the CIA and other interventions it has installed or supported loyal dictators and puppet regimes in Congo, Indonesia, Chile, Venezuela, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Brazil, Haiti, Greece, Italy, Iran, Iraq, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, South Vietnam and others. The United States is a global empire, and we on Guam are just a piece of that puzzle, nothing more. In broad and general terms, we are a pawn on the imperial chessboard, and to prove that we should think of these two things: first, if another island had a bigger harbor than Guam in 1898, the US would of taken that. Second, the US “liberated” Saipan first, which was a Japanese colony, rather than save their loyal subjects at Guam. Pieces on the board, nothing more.
The forcing of Japan into the Second World War shows that the interests of nations and empires go beyond mere human concerns. They are governed by other less rational concerns like hegemony, geo-political theories about dominos and rogue states and so on. The United States stopped Japan, because it was forming an empire in Asia and the Pacific, similar to the one the US had in the Americas. The United States unofficially endorsed Hitler’s economic expansion and empire building, because of the economic benefits it brought, however they were forced to remove him, when it became apparent that he couldn’t be contained.

These are the true natures of war and of empires and governments. They care nothing for people, most especially people who don’t pay direct federal income tax, or have votes in Congress. And it is with this in mind that we must negotiate our place in America or our place outside of America. It is with this in mind that we must move forward into our future, not relying on the goodwill of a country that didn’t give us Constitutional protections because Chamorros were dark and spoke a different language, or won’t make us an equal part of the US because we are too small? But rather knowing full and well our history, and the fact that it is a colonial history and not one based on equality or altruism, but one based on exploitation and racism.

These are all things that you should remember the next time you wave that flag high. Happy US Imperialism Day!

Friday, December 10, 2004

Happy US Imperialism Day!

Time to once again celebrate how important U.S. Imperialism is to us on Guam!

While so many on Guam are celebrating the feast day of Santa Maria Kamalen, let's not forget that 63 years ago, the Chamorro people of Guam were abandoned by the United States military, left to fight against the Japanese, in a war the United States helped to start.

Thinking back to that day, we should remember that we, as a people weren't of any value to the US military then, and we shouldn't feel that we are any more valuable now.

This is what drives me nuts everyday. Why do Chamorros have so much love for the military? Liberation Day is the usual answer (as well as 'we can't survive without them!'), But my answer to that is, US Imperialism Day. When will we have a parade to celebrate our abandonment or our being treated as expendable?

When will the ghosts of those tortured or killed during the war on Guam ever rest? Don't we see how we dance across their deaths keeping them from peace with our mindless patriotism and loyalty?

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Bill Moyers

This week the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School presented its fourth annual Global Environment Citizen Award to Bill Moyers. In presenting the award, Meryl Streep, a member of the Center board, said, "Through resourceful, intrepid reportage and perceptive voices from the forward edge of the debate, Moyers has examined an environment under siege with the aim of engaging citizens." Here is the text of his response to Ms. Streep's presentation of the award:

I accept this award on behalf of all the people behind the camera whom you never see. And for all those scientists, advocates, activists, and just plain citizens whose stories we have covered in reporting on how environmental change affects our daily lives. We journalists are simply beachcombers on the shores of other people's knowledge, other people's experience, and other people's wisdom. We tell their stories.

The journalist who truly deserves this award is my friend, Bill McKibben. He enjoys the most conspicuous place in my own pantheon of journalistic heroes for his pioneer work in writing about the environment. His bestseller The End of Nature carried on where Rachel Carson's Silent Spring left off.

Writing in Mother Jones recently, Bill described how the problems we journalists routinely cover - conventional, manageable programs like budget shortfalls and pollution - may be about to convert to chaotic, unpredictable, unmanageable situations. The most unmanageable of all, he writes, could be the accelerating deterioration of the environment, creating perils with huge momentum like the greenhouse effect that is causing the melt of the arctic to release so much freshwater into the North Atlantic that even the Pentagon is growing alarmed that a weakening gulf stream could yield abrupt and overwhelming changes, the kind of changes that could radically alter civilizations.

That's one challenge we journalists face - how to tell such a story without coming across as Cassandras, without turning off the people we most want to understand what's happening, who must act on what they read and hear.

As difficult as it is, however, for journalists to fashion a readable narrative for complex issues without depressing our readers and viewers, there is an even harder challenge - to pierce the ideology that governs official policy today. One of the biggest changes in politics in my lifetime is that the delusional is no longer marginal. It has come in from the fringe, to sit in the seat of power in the oval office and in Congress. For the first time in our history, ideology and theology hold a monopoly of power in Washington. Theology asserts propositions that cannot be proven true; ideologues hold stoutly to a world view despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality. When ideology and theology couple, their offspring are not always bad but they are always blind. And there is the danger: voters and politicians alike, oblivious to the facts.
Remember James Watt, President Reagan's first Secretary of the Interior? My favorite online environmental journal, the ever engaging Grist, reminded us recently of how James Watt told the U.S. Congress that protecting natural resources was unimportant in light of the imminent return of Jesus Christ. In public testimony he said, 'after the last tree is felled, Christ will come back.'

Beltway elites snickered. The press corps didn't know what he was talking about. But James Watt was serious. So were his compatriots out across the country. They are the people who believe the Bible is literally true - one-third of the American electorate, if a recent Gallup poll is accurate. In this past election several million good and decent citizens went to the polls believing in the rapture index. That's right - the rapture index. Google it and you will find that the best-selling books in America today are the twelve volumes of the left-behind series written by the Christian fundamentalist and religious right warrior, Timothy LaHaye. These true believers subscribe to a fantastical theology concocted in the 19th century by a couple of immigrant preachers who took disparate passages from the Bible and wove them into a narrative that has captivated the imagination of millions of Americans.

Its outline is rather simple, if bizarre (the British writer George Monbiot recently did a brilliant dissection of it and I am indebted to him for adding to my own understanding): once Israel has occupied the rest of its 'biblical lands,' legions of the anti-Christ will attack it, triggering a final showdown in the valley of Armageddon. As the Jews who have not been converted are burned, the messiah will return for the rapture. True believers will be lifted out of their clothes and transported to heaven, where, seated next to the right hand of God, they will watch their political and religious opponents suffer plagues of boils, sores, locusts, and frogs during the several years of tribulation that follow.

I'm not making this up. Like Monbiot, I've read the literature. I've reported on these people, following some of them from Texas to the West Bank. They are sincere, serious, and polite as they tell you they feel called to help bring the rapture on as fulfillment of biblical prophecy. That's why they have declared solidarity with Israel and the Jewish settlements and backed up their support with money and volunteers. It's why the invasion of Iraq for them was a warm-up act, predicted in the Book of Revelation where four angels 'which are bound in the great river Euphrates will be released to slay the third part of man.' A war with Islam in the Middle East is not something to be feared but welcomed - an essential conflagration on the road to redemption. The last time I Googled it, the rapture index stood at 144-just one point below the critical threshold when the whole thing will blow, the son of God will return, the righteous will enter heaven, and sinners will be condemned to eternal hellfire.

So what does this mean for public policy and the environment? Go to Grist to read a remarkable work of reporting by the journalist, Glenn Scherer - 'the road to environmental apocalypse. Read it and you will see how millions of Christian fundamentalists may believe that environmental destruction is not only to be disregarded but actually welcomed - even hastened - as a sign of the coming apocalypse.

As Grist makes clear, we're not talking about a handful of fringe lawmakers who hold or are beholden to these beliefs. Nearly half the U.S. Congress before the recent election - 231 legislators in total - more since the election - are backed by the religious right. Forty-five senators and 186 members of the 108th congress earned 80 to 100 percent approval ratings from the three most influential Christian right advocacy groups. They include Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Assistant Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Conference Chair Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, Policy Chair Jon Kyl of Arizona, House Speaker Dennis Hastert, and Majority Whip Roy Blunt. The only Democrat to score 100 percent with the Christian coalition was Senator Zell Miller of Georgia, who recently quoted from the biblical book of Amos on the senate floor: "the days will come, sayeth the Lord God, that i will send a famine in the land.' He seemed to be relishing the thought.

And why not? There's a constituency for it. A 2002 TIME/CNN poll found that 59 percent of Americans believe that the prophecies found in the Book of Revelation are going to come true. Nearly one-quarter think the Bible predicted the 9/11 attacks. Drive across the country with your radio tuned to the more than 1,600 Christian radio stations or in the motel turn some of the 250 Christian TV stations and you can hear some of this end-time gospel. And you will come to understand why people under the spell of such potent prophecies cannot be expected, as Grist puts it, "to worry about the environment. Why care about the earth when the droughts, floods, famine and pestilence brought by ecological collapse are signs of the apocalypse foretold in the Bible? Why care about global climate change when you and yours will be rescued in the rapture? And why care about converting from oil to solar when the same God who performed the miracle of the loaves and fishes can whip up a few billion barrels of light crude with a word?"
Because these people believe that until Christ does return, the lord will provide. One of their texts is a high school history book, America's Providential History. You'll find there these words: "the secular or socialist has a limited resource mentality and views the world as a pie…that needs to be cut up so everyone can get a piece.' however, "[t]he Christian knows that the potential in God is unlimited and that there is no shortage of resources in God's earth……while many secularists view the world as overpopulated, Christians know that God has made the earth sufficiently large with plenty of resources to accommodate all of the people." No wonder Karl Rove goes around the White House whistling that militant hymn, "Onward Christian Soldiers." He turned out millions of the foot soldiers on November 2, including many who have made the apocalypse a powerful driving force in modern American politics.

I can see in the look on your faces just how had it is for the journalist to report a story like this with any credibility. So let me put it on a personal level. I myself don't know how to be in this world without expecting a confident future and getting up every morning to do what I can to bring it about. So I have always been an optimist. Now, however, I think of my friend on Wall Street whom I once asked: "What do you think of the market?" "I'm optimistic," he answered. "Then why do you look so worried?" And he answered: "Because I am not sure my optimism is justified."

I'm not, either. Once upon a time I agreed with Eric Chivian and the Center for Health and the Global Environment that people will protect the natural environment when they realize its importance to their health and to the health and lives of their children. Now I am not so sure. It's not that I don't want to believe that - it's just that I read the news and connect the dots:
I read that the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has declared the election a mandate for President Bush on the environment. This for an administration that wants to rewrite the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act protecting rare plant and animal species and their habitats, as well as the National Environmental Policy Act that requires the government to judge beforehand if actions might damage natural resources.

That wants to relax pollution limits for ozone; eliminate vehicle tailpipe inspections; and ease pollution standards for cars, sports utility vehicles and diesel-powered big trucks and heavy equipment.

That wants a new international audit law to allow corporations to keep certain information about environmental problems secret from the public.

That wants to drop all its new-source review suits against polluting coal-fired power plans and weaken consent decrees reached earlier with coal companies.

That wants to open the arctic wildlife refuge to drilling and increase drilling in Padre Island National Seashore, the longest stretch of undeveloped barrier island in the world and the last great coastal wild land in America.

I read the news just this week and learned how the Environmental Protection Agency had planned to spend nine million dollars - $2 million of it from the administration's friends at the American Chemistry Council - to pay poor families to continue to use pesticides in their homes. These pesticides have been linked to neurological damage in children, but instead of ordering an end to their use, the government and the industry were going to offer the families $970 each, as well as a camcorder and children's clothing, to serve as guinea pigs for the study.

I read all this in the news.

I read the news just last night and learned that the administration's friends at the international policy network, which is supported by ExxonMobil and others of like mind, have issued a new report that climate change is 'a myth, sea levels are not rising, scientists who believe catastrophe is possible are 'an embarrassment.

I not only read the news but the fine print of the recent appropriations bill passed by Congress, with the obscure (and obscene) riders attached to it: a clause removing all endangered species protections from pesticides; language prohibiting judicial review for a forest in Oregon; a waiver of environmental review for grazing permits on public lands; a rider pressed by developers to weaken protection for crucial habitats in California.

I read all this and look up at the pictures on my desk, next to the computer - pictures of my grandchildren: Henry, age 12; of Thomas, age 10; of Nancy, 7; Jassie, 3; Sara Jane, nine months. I see the future looking back at me from those photographs and I say, 'Father, forgive us, for we know not what we do.' And then I am stopped short by the thought: 'That's not right. We do know what we are doing. We are stealing their future. Betraying their trust. Despoiling their world.'

And I ask myself: Why? Is it because we don't care? Because we are greedy? Because we have lost our capacity for outrage, our ability to sustain indignation at injustice?

What has happened to out moral imagination?

On the heath Lear asks Gloucester: 'How do you see the world?" And Gloucester, who is blind, answers: "I see it feelingly.'"

I see it feelingly.

The news is not good these days. I can tell you, though, that as a journalist, I know the news is never the end of the story. The news can be the truth that sets us free - not only to feel but to fight for the future we want. And the will to fight is the antidote to despair, the cure for cynicism, and the answer to those faces looking back at me from those photographs on my desk. What we need to match the science of human health is what the ancient Israelites called 'hocma' - the science of the heart…..the capacity to see….to feel….and then to act…as if the future depended on you.

Believe me, it does.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004


I'm sitting in the library at UCSD pouring through the entire run of Pacific History. Lana, ti hu hongge este na manapa'ka siha. The things they write about us! Did they think we would never learn how to read? Or never see it?

But I should be careful though, and not make it seem like you can only find this stuff in dusty, cob webbed, graduate student filled libraries. You can find it on the pages of the PDN, or in press releases from the Department of Interior, or from just talking to a politicians in Washington D.C. about the future of Guam.

If we don't start talking about ourselves, then we are gonna end up being ruled by the ways others see us. One can already see this happened in how decolonization is discussed or how the govermnet of Guam is discussed. Think about what we take to be common sense on Guam, chances are if we were to step back from it, we can see ourselves just parroting Joe Murphy.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

finakpo' i quarter

Chatsaga' yu' gi i finakpo'n i quarter-hu pues mappot para bei post esta ki munhayan todu.

Despensa yu'...lao mungga chathinasso, bulala' ha' na malago yu' sumangan...hehehehe.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Na'tufok i kannai-ta
Faniente na sumiha

Na'dana i kannai-ta
Na'unu i mengmong-ta


Na'inos i kannai-ta
Na'fitme na humita


Thursday, December 02, 2004

Fina'sahnge part 1

The seperations in our lives have to be re-thought.

I'm currently in a Ph.D. program, and nearly everyone in my group thinks and acts based on assumptions that our lives must be divided, most specifically whatever is learned in school or from books, must stay in that context and not seep into their "real" lives.

For me personally, I don't see how anyone can really believe this. The ways our lives are divided up aren't natural, but rather constructed based on specific histories and elevation of certain ideas about how humans are supposed to live. This division between our "work" and our "play" is one clear example, and although to most people it might seem like a very "real" division, in what ways are we limited if we subscribe to this idea?

First of all, it allows us to see how stuff created in universities, probably just stays there. This might be true in some ways, but it keeps us from seeing the powerful role universities and scholars play in shaping the world outside of the academy. Manifest Destiny was a clear example of how knowledge created in universities, can weave its way into the world outside and push racist agendas across borders and into different cultures. Scholars have incredible power over the "real" world, and to think that they are merely up there in their ivory towers, lets those who create racist, unsituated and uncritical knowledge off the hook, but also excuses those of us in positions to do something about it, from doing something about it!

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Taimanu sina ta goggue i Inetnon Demokratik?

A few ways the Democrats in the US can be saved, courtesy of Joe Trippi, Howard Dean's former campaign manager.

Democrats can't keep ignoring their base. Running to the middle and then asking our base to make sure to vote isn't a plan. And to those who say talking to your base doesn't work -- Read the Rove 2004 playbook!

Democrats must reconnect with the energy of our grass roots. One of the failures of the DLC was that its ideas never helped us build a grass-roots donor base. As a result, Democrats held a lead over Republicans in only one fundraising category before this election cycle: contributions over one million dollars. That shows how far the party had strayed from grassroots fundraising before the Dean campaign. We must build a base of at least seven million small donors by 2006. With the Internet it's possible. But it can't just be about the money, it also has to be about ideas.

The one thing we learned in the Dean campaign was that the 30 people in Burlington weren't as smart as the 650,000 Americans who were part of our campaign. Instead of a DLC in D.C., Democrats should be holding Democratic Grassroots Councils in every county. Democratic National Committee members in each state, along with the state party, should host and moderate these meetings to develop ideas that come from the people, instead of the experts in D.C.

A party that ignores the needs of state and local parties is doomed. We must begin to invest aggressively in states we continually write off in national elections. If we don't, the decline of the party in these states will continue until we're non-existent. Look at the south.

In a world in which companies like Wal-Mart pay substandard wages with no real benefits, our party has got to find innovative ways to support organized labor's growth. A declining union membership is not good for the country, it's not good for working people, and it certainly isn't good for the Democratic Party.

The Democratic Party has to be the vehicle that empowers the American people to change our failed political system. We all know the damn thing is broken. Democrats should lead the way by placing stricter money restrictions on candidates than the toothless Federal Election Commission does. A party funded by contributions from the people can do this. A corrupted and corroded party cannot. The Democratic Party shouldn't wait for campaign-finance reform -- it should be campaign-finance reform.

Finally, what is the purpose the party strives for today? What are our goals for the nation? You couldn't tell from the election. Very few good ideas come from the middle, and they tend to be mediocre. Consultants have become adept at keeping candidates in that safe zone. But the time has come to develop bold ideas and challenge people to sacrifice for the common good. Experts will tell you that you can't ask the American people to sacrifice individually for the common good. Those experts are wrong -- it's just been so long since anyone has asked them.


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