Monday, February 28, 2005

Constantine and Guam

Saw the film Constatine last week. Enjoyed it very much. Whoever edited it did such a bad job, I really enjoyed it. Actually, when something is as choppy as that in terms of dialogue, comprehension, hanging scenes, then you have to wonder if the machalapon nature of the flick isn't intentional. But then again, if you read Hellblazer comics, from which Constatine is derived, then you see how schizophrenic they can be, not necessarily because of the subject matter, but more because of the dozens of people who have scrapped together a personality for John Constatine, as well as the mythology for his universe. (I mean, you put Alan Moore, Garth Ennis, Grant Morrison and others in a room, and you're gonna be bileng with bloody fish and chips).

One line in particular stayed with me after I walked out of the theater. It was of course, the only line from Keanu in the whole film which didn't make me snicker because this might be the only film in which I will say he acted worse than A Walk in the Clouds. The line was, "into the light I command thee." Pretty cool, at first I thought he had said, "into the light I commend thee." Which stuck with me for several minutes, making all that happened after it, kinda incongruent.

I want to use that line in a poem, I've already started writing it in my head, and on the back of receipts from Vons. I have this urge to try and excercise the demon in my head, which isn't my psychosis (nah, that dude pays rent, and helps me with my poetry and social life), but instead the ideological implants that I got from being socialized in Guam. We all have so many of these, wherever we come from, however one in particular demands to be written about.

I want to command into the light, the link between my thoughts and actions, the very discourse I create and the military industrial complex, the Project for the New American Century, the Pentagon, the Armed Forces Committee, the Department of the Interior and so on. I find myself, on a daily basis, even without knowing it sometimes, acting, thinking and speaking on behalf of men in suits, thousands of miles away, who want one thing for my island, that it remain a military colony of the US.

If somehow I can find a way to bring my own ideological demon within into the light of knowledge and cognizance, then maybe I can help others with it as well. Might be one of the few ways in which Guam could ever be decolonized.

Sunday, February 27, 2005


Excerpts from a terrifying article about Guam written in the 1960's. Notice how alot of these representations and images still haunt us today, and can be heard amongst Chamorros themselves, or haoles, Filipinos and sadly (but expectedly) from politicians in Washington D.C.

From the Guam Daily News, November 24, 1968...

Guam's Role in the Pacific Still Uncertain
by John Griffin, editorial page writer, the Honolulu Advertiser

...Guam, generally considered as a military outpost and one of Oceania's less exotic ports of call.

Such old impressions are less untrue than incomplete. Certainly this territory of the U.S. has been neither richly endowed by nature nor treated kindly by history....

...Marine Drive the business district which stretches for miles along the waterfront, is an unplanned disaster of alternating old and new stories...

....The result is not always an attractive reflection of the U.S. influence. However it does point up the increasingly thick layer of Americanization that covers a society where touches of Spanish social and political influences remain - making for a little Latinized Los Angeles at its worst.

Sigi' ha' kalamten

I got this email from a young Chamorro going to school out in the states. I get emails like this every once in a while, and they really help keep me going in my work and my life (if they can be seperated, I wonder about this far too much). Too often when you work in isolation, you tend to forget why you are doing things, and what impact you are making. Because of the way that we understand progress, action and activism we tend to view certain acts as being "real" while others are less real, productive or impactive. Although I know these hierarchies are often false or hardly secure, I sometimes fall prey to degrading my own activities because of them.

At the Chamorro Information Activists we are all spread out, meet every once in a while online and most of the time our work consists of responding to people's emails such as the one I'm going to post below. We get several dozen emails a week, usually from Chamorros in the states, usually in college who are interested in learning more, or doing more. Most of my work consists of giving these interested people as much help as I can, to try and push them in a critical direction (critical meaning "critiquing" as well as "vital and necessary").

Actually, in the past year, I've helped write more than a dozen college papers about Guam, written by Chamorros who wanted to learn more about their roots or culture. I've also assisted in the writing of three senior and master's thesises, responding sometimes for pages at a time to questions and pleas for help, input or feedback.

The point is however, that it is often easy to downgrade this type of work, because it is so rooted in virtual exchanges and the effects which they will have won't be seen until later. But emails such as this one, do help keep us going, by reminding us about the concrete changes which we can help bring about.

Here's the email...

Hafa Adai!

It's good to see that there are efforts to try and save our way of life as we know it! My friends and I are already collaborating on some things that might help. First off we need to get not just the Chamorro people interested in keeping our culture alive but the haolies that come to our island should also appreciate it. They seem to keep trying to change our way of life because they think their way of life is better. Well, I may not be able to change their view on that but at least I'll try to make them appreciate our culture. If we can some how come up with a better industry other than tourism we might be able to stabalize on our own with out relying on the USA for help. As it is they've made it quite impossible for us to function as a seperate unit.
If you guys have any ideas or thoughts on the matter I would be more than interested to know what is being done or trying to be done and I'll see if I can help out in any way possible. Right now I'm just trying to pay the rent but I hope to one day return home and still find it just as beautiful as when I left. I hope so...I really do.

Saturday, February 26, 2005


Estague un tinige' i ga'chong-hu. Ha tuge' este na kalang atdet i sinienten tinaiga'chong, kao annok?

Desde umayute' ham yan i hagas nobia-hu, hu nanangga taiguini. Ya kada na ha'ani hu diseseha mampos na u huyong un nuebu na guinaiya para Guahu. Ai lokkue.

Dream Lover
(sina) tinige' Naomi Cruz Sablan

There will come a time when things will fall into place
When the love will finally come and loneliness replaced
I long for the day when my dream of happiness comes true
But until then I await patiently for the love I crave from you

I don't know who you are or how you'll be
I know for sure I can feel if you're the one for me
And when that day comes, life will be bliss
with the warmth of your arms and your tender kiss

Dream love, ah, if only it wasn't just a dream
I wonder when will it happen or how long it will be
Will it be year's, months, days, or weeks?
I anxiously wait for that day we finally meet

Everywhere I go, everyone I see
All these people around are potentials to me
But I hesitate to look further, beyond what I see
For I know that one-day, love will find me

Friday, February 25, 2005

Play Si Pedro Onedera

Buenas Everyone:It is my pleasure to encourage and invite all of youto come and watch VULA, a play that captured myattention and heart last year at the 2004 9th Festivalof the Pacific Arts held in the Republic of Palau. Iwas a member of Guam's storytelling delegation and theVULA group was a part of New Zealand's storytellingdelegation.

Among my colleagues at the time, this was the play Iwas encouraging them to go and watch at the Koror HighSchool. From that performance, I decided to invitethe cast and crew to come and perform this play onGuam. That dream has now become a reality and theywill be here on Guam to perform VULA at the Universityof Guam Fieldhouse on Monday, March 7; Wednesday,March 9, and again on Friday, March 11. Curtain timesfor all performances will be at 7pm. Tickets will beon sale at the following ticket outlets: Framed, Etclocated next to Le Tasi Bistro in Anigua; Studio 2-11in the Micronesia Mall; Faith Book Store at theCompadres Mall, and Sam Choy's at the Outrigger Plaza.

Cost for the tickets is $20 for Monday, March 7; $10for both Wednesday and Friday's performances, March 9and 11 respectively. The Monday, March 7 performanceis the opening plenary of the 26th Annual College ofLiberal Arts and Social Sciences Research Conference. The conference workshops will be held the followingday, Tuesday, March 8 (all day) as part of theUniversity of Guam's annual Charter Day observance. Workshops are free and open to the general public.

I assure you that you will not be disappointed inVULA. This play is performed entirely on a shallowpool of water that will be set up on the floordirectly in front of the audience. The audience willbe seated on the bleachers on one side of thefieldhouse instead of the customary floor seatingfacing the elevated stage. VULA means the "full moon"in Fijian and it portrays the Pacific Island women'sstrong connection to the sea. In fact, it isperformed by four women who will bathe, wade, swim,splash and tell spell binding stories through mime,song, dance, dialogue, lighting illusion andcaptivating original music composed by well-known andaward-winning New Zealand composer Gareth Farr. Theplay itself was written by Nina Nawalowalo based onher personal experience of a 1994 trip to Fiji whereshe observed Fijian women wading out to the reef tofish and singing and frolicking on their way. Ninawas standing on the shores of the village beach andthis scene motivated her to write the play. Nina willalso accompany the cast and crew to Guam.In all the years of my watching theatricalperformances, not to mention performing in some otherproductions, this is the first I've ever watched aplay performed in such a fashion. As a localplaywright, this play is a feast for the soul and itwill warm, if not, touch your heart. It is a playabout women, by women, for women but, to me, itappeals to everyone men, women, and childrenespecially those who are indigenous. The matrilinealsystem is at play in this production and for many ofus who were born and lived on Guam all our lives,nostalgia grabs at you of days gone by in the villagesof Guam.If you wish to make reservations, call me and I willreserve tickets for you. My phone number is 477-4234(home) or at my office at the University of Guam at735-2802 or you can respond to this e-mail. Also,please feel free to forward this e-mail to whomeveryou want.

si Peter R. Onedera

Wednesday, February 23, 2005


Sigi ha' mahalang yu' put Guahan, mismo i tano'-hu. Ai adai, todu na lugat na humanao yu', chatguahu put este na siniente. Taimanu na sina hu na'homlo este na ti kabales giya Guahu?

Here's a list of my current chinatsaga' gi lagu.

I am struggling against the limits of invisibility (Chamorro, what is that? Guam,where is that?) and fending off rare moments of hypervisibility (Chamorro,patriotic semi-American! Guam, military base!) and doing my best to fightoff impossibility (You know Chamorro (language) sounds exactly likeSpanish...But you guys dress like Americans...So Chamorros are different than Hawaiians?...etc...)

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Tinige' Nana-hu

Letter to the editor of the PDN, written last year by Si Nana-hu, about the whole Marine Drive Renaming scandal.

On February 8, 2004 I was reading the Pacific Daily News online, and I was so excited to see so many letters from people who were interested in protecting Guam’s history. Unfortunately though, the only parts that these people wanted to promote or protect was Marine Drive and Liberation Day.

While I am so glad to see these people excited about Guam’s history and remembering important events, I always get very confused when I meet these people or read their letters, who care only about promoting or celebrating the parts of Guam’s history that have to do with the United States’ military. Implying that we don’t mean much without the United States or its military, which I believe is totally false.

But in the spirit of celebrating and remembering our past, I guess I’m wondering where are all the letters to the editor about how important it is to protect the Chamorro Land Trust? After all, isn’t that agency just a memorial or a historic reminder of how the US military stole almost the whole island after the war? Those land takings have just as much impact on Chamorro lives today, as Liberation Day. Our family was fortunate enough not to have our lands taken, but so many other families were not. Where is the memorial or the re-naming ceremonies for their children, that will explain to them why their families have no land?

If the past is to useful to us in helping us plan for the future, then we can’t just remember the patriotic parts, like the parts where American Marines unintentionally saved Chamorro lives. We also have to remember that for years after July 21, 1944, other military officers came and intentionally destroyed Chamorro lives by lying to them, by cheating them and by forcing them to give up their lands. .

I feel sick thinking about those days, when because of a war, the United States was allowed to destroy so many families, and handicap their futures. In one of my son’s Guam history textbooks, it tells the story of a Navy officer testifying before Congress about the land takings. When asked if the land takings had been legal, the officer replied that, no they weren’t, but then everything is legal in a time of war.

I feel more sick thinking about today, where the president of the United States often talks about America being at war, and calls himself a war-time president. While visiting my parents last year, I took part in a protest against the Navy’s needless killing of carabao at Fena Lake. For the military, they are always at war with something, and so for them carabao don’t mean much. The Navy must of felt like that about Chamorros after the war, taking their land, their lives, because they don’t mean much. And since the president says we’re at war now, who knows what they’ll do next?

Friday, February 18, 2005

Tinige' Zizek ta'lo


by Slavoj Zizek - from

The Iraqi elections appear to authenticate the statement George W. Bush made in his January inauguration speech: “America will not pretend that jailed dissidents prefer their chains or that women welcome humiliation and servitude.”

It is difficult to disagree with Bush here: He effectively did touch the Achilles’ heel of many Western progressives, who were often disarmed by the one good argument, repeatedly evoked by Christopher Hitchens, for the war against Iraq: The majority of Iraqis were Saddam’s victims, and they would be really glad to get rid of him. He was such a catastrophe for his country that an American occupation in whatever form would be preferable to them in terms of daily survival and much lower levels of fear. We are not talking here of “bringing Western democracy to Iraq,” but of simply getting rid of the nightmare called Saddam. To this majority, the caution expressed by Western liberals can only appear deeply hypocritical—do they really care about how the Iraqi people feel?

Why, then, does the old story repeat itself in Iraq? America brings new hope and democracy to people, but instead of hailing the U.S. Army, the ungrateful people do not want it. They look the proverbial gift horse in the mouth, and America then responds like a sullen child in reaction to the ingratitude of those it selflessly helped.

With the global American ideological offensive, the fundamental insight of Graham Greene’s The Quiet American is more relevant than ever: We witness the resurgence of the figure of the “quiet American,” a naive, benevolent agent who sincerely wants to bring democracy and Western freedom. It is just that his intentions totally misfire, or, as Greene put it: “I never knew a man who had better motives for all the trouble he caused.”

The underlying presupposition is that under our skin, if we scratch the surface, we are all Americans. That is our true desire—all that is needed is just to give people a chance, liberate them from their imposed constraints and they will join us in our ideological dream. It’s fitting that in February 2003 the right-wing journalist Stephen Schwartz used the phrase “capitalist revolution” to describe what Americans are now doing: exporting their revolution around the entire world. No wonder they moved from “containing” the enemy to a more aggressive stance.
It is the United States that is now, as the defunct USSR was decades ago, the subversive agent of a world revolution. When Bush said, “Freedom is not America’s gift to the world, it is the almighty God’s gift to every man and woman in the world,” his apparent modesty nonetheless concealed, in the best totalitarian fashion, its very opposite.

Recall the standard claim of a totalitarian leader that he himself is nothing at all—his strength is only the strength of the people who stand behind him, he only expresses their deepest strivings. The catch, of course, is that those who oppose the leader do not only oppose him, but also oppose the deepest and noblest strivings of the people. And does the same not hold for Bush’s claim? If freedom effectively were to be just America’s gift to other nations, things would have been much easier—those opposing U.S. policy would be doing just that, opposing the policy of the United States as a single nation state. However, if freedom is God’s gift to humanity (and—herein resides the hidden proviso—if the United States perceives itself as the chosen instrument for distributing this divine gift to all the nations of the world), then those who oppose U.S. policy are eo ipso rejecting the noblest gift of God to humanity. No wonder many authentic theologians are appalled by these kinds of statements from Bush, detecting in them a terrifying sacrilege. We therefore know now what “bringing democracy” means: The United States and its “willing partners” impose themselves as the ultimate judges who decide if a country is ripe for democracy.

Bush was again right in opposing the idea of exporting freedom, when he said: “Freedom, by its nature, must be chosen.” The hidden catch here is that precisely in the case of Iraq, this rule was violated. The choice was obviously a forced one, not only in the sense that freedom was imposed, but also in the sense that the allegedly benevolent imposer reserved for himself the right to define what freedom is. It is instructive to remember the case of Iran: not today’s, but the Shah’s. Did not Reza Pahlavi also want to impose Western modernization, with the paradoxical result of giving birth to a “fundamentalist” revolution? From this perspective, the “successful” elections did not change anything—the true test for the United States lies ahead. What if, sooner or later, the unfortunate Iraqis will “misuse” democracy and give majority rule, not necessarily to so-called “fundamentalists,” but to anti-Western and anti-Zionist pan-Arab nationalists?

When Bush celebrated the explosive and irrepressible thirst for freedom as a “fire in the minds of men,” the unintended irony was that he used a phrase from Dostoevsky’s The Possessed. Dostoevsky used the phrase to describe the ruthless activity of radical anarchists who burned a village: “The fire is in the minds of men, not on the roofs of houses.” Today, we already see—and smell—the smoke of this fire.

In her 1979 Commentary essay, “Dictators and Double Standards,” Jeanne Kirkpatrick elaborated the distinction between “authoritarian” and “totalitarian” regimes, which served to justify the U.S. policy of collaborating with rightist dictators, while treating Communist regimes much more harshly. Authoritarian dictators are pragmatic rulers who care about their power and wealth and are indifferent toward ideological issues, even if they pay lip service to some big cause; in contrast, totalitarian leaders are selfless fanatics who believe in their ideology and are ready to put everything at stake for their ideals. So while one can deal with authoritarian rulers who react rationally and predictably to material and military threats, totalitarian leaders are much more dangerous and have to be directly confronted.

The irony is that this distinction encapsulates perfectly what went wrong with the U.S. occupation of Iraq. Saddam was a corrupt authoritarian dictator striving for power and guided by brutal pragmatic considerations—a pragmatism that led him to collaborate with the United States throughout the ’80s. The ultimate proof of this secular nature is the ironic fact that, in the Iraqi elections of October 2002, in which Saddam Hussein got a 100 percent endorsement (and thus outdid the best Stalinist results of 99.95 percent), the campaign song played again and again on all the state media was none other than Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You.” One of the outcomes of the U.S. intervention is that it generated a much more uncompromising “fundamentalist” opposition that precludes any pragmatic compromises.

Recall the old story about a worker suspected of stealing: Every evening, when he was leaving the factory, the wheelbarrow he was rolling in front of him was carefully inspected, but the guards could not find anything, it was always empty—until, finally, they got the point. What the worker was stealing were the wheelbarrows themselves. This is the trick that those who claim “but the world is nonetheless better off without Saddam!” are trying to pull on us: They forget to include in their calculation the effects of the military intervention against Saddam. Yes, the world is better without Saddam—but is it better if we also include in the overall picture the ideological and political effects of this very occupation?

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Biba Ha'anin Guinaiya!

Estague un betsu na hu dedika para todu ni' manguaiya yan todu lokkue ni' tribia ma fakcha'i...


Abak yu’ gi I pakyo-mu
Chaochaochao lao suette yu’
Chubasko ya taifitme, Pat osino bei tekuni (hao)
Magof mafoyung-hu, hinalla ya sesso naofrågu (nene)
Måtmos yu’ ya mangge hao? Pinacha’ yu’ lao nao’ao (nene)
Hågu...I chi-hu
Hågu...I chi-hu

Taifinakpo’ I tasi, enkubukao-hu taiguini, (ombre)
Sesso un na’kilili, guaha na biahi nai un goggue (yu’)
Na’dafflok yu’ mangguaiya, na’klåru humitå-ta, (sångan)
Kao guahu I amti-mu? Pat Guahu I chetnot-mu? (Fehman)

Monday, February 14, 2005

The Contemporary Pacific

Bula na tiempo-ku hu na'lastima gi smursurfing i internet. Pot hemplo, sesso bai hu na'halom "chamoru" yan "blog" giya Google, ya bai hu li'e hayi i otro na Chamorro guenao gi hiyong i net ni' gaiblog (taiguini).

Gi painge', hu type halom "minagahet" ya hafa sinedda'-hu muna'lemlem yu'. Gi un issue The Contemporary Pacific, Si Kelly Marsh (pine'lo-ku na Si Kelly Kautz este) tumuge' put i zinen-mami, Minagahet,

Estague hafa mismo na tinige'-na, ya hu na'chetton i link guihi gi pappa'.

Though not much discussed, activist groups were busy this year. A Chamorro Information Activist bimonthly e-zine and forum board appeared, designed to promote alternative "ways and ideas of thinking" about Guam issues, to promote the Chamorro way of life, and to work toward the island's decolonization (<>).

Sen Magahet na Si Yu'us Ma'ase Kelly!

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Tinige' Naomi Klein put Irak

Getting the Purple Finger

By Naomi Klein

"The Iraqi people gave America the biggest 'thank you' in the best way we could have hoped for." Reading this election analysis from Betsy Hart, a columnist for the Scripps Howard News Service, I found myself thinking about my late grandmother. Half blind and a menace behind the wheel of her Chevrolet, she adamantly refused to surrender her car keys. She was convinced that everywhere she drove (flattening the house pets of Philadelphia along the way) people were waving and smiling at her. "They are so friendly!" We had to break the bad news. "They aren't waving with their whole hand, Grandma--just with their middle finger."

So it is with Betsy Hart and the other near-sighted election observers: They think the Iraqi people have finally sent America those long-awaited flowers and candies, when Iraq's voters just gave them the (purple) finger.

The election results are in: Iraqis voted overwhelmingly to throw out the US-installed government of Iyad Allawi, who refused to ask the United States to leave. A decisive majority voted for the United Iraqi Alliance; the second plank in the UIA platform calls for "a timetable for the withdrawal of the multinational forces from Iraq."

There are more single-digit messages embedded in the winning coalition's platform. Some highlights: "Adopting a social security system under which the state guarantees a job for every fit Iraqi...and offers facilities to citizens to build homes." The UIA also pledges "to write off Iraq's debts, cancel reparations and use the oil wealth for economic development projects." In short, Iraqis voted to repudiate the radical free-market policies imposed by former chief US envoy Paul Bremer and locked in by a recent agreement with the International Monetary Fund.

So will the people who got all choked up watching Iraqis flock to the polls support these democratically chosen demands? Please. "You don't set timetables," George W. Bush said four days after Iraqis voted for exactly that. Likewise, British Prime Minister Tony Blair called the elections "magnificent" but dismissed a firm timetable out of hand. The UIA's pledges to expand the public sector, keep the oil and drop the debt will likely suffer similar fates. At least if Adel Abd al-Mahdi gets his way--he's Iraq's finance minister and the man suddenly being touted as leader of Iraq's next government.

Al-Mahdi is the Bush Administration's Trojan horse in the UIA. (You didn't think they were going to put all their money on Allawi, did you?) In October he told a gathering of the American Enterprise Institute that he planned to "restructure and privatize [Iraq's] state-owned enterprises," and in December he made another trip to Washington to unveil plans for a new oil law "very promising to the American investors." It was al-Mahdi himself who oversaw the signing of a flurry of deals with Shell, BP and ChevronTexaco in the weeks before the elections, and it is he who negotiated the recent austerity deal with the IMF. On troop withdrawal, al-Mahdi sounds nothing like his party's platform and instead appears to be channeling Dick Cheney on Fox News: "When the Americans go will depend on when our own forces are ready and on how the resistance responds after the elections." But on Sharia law, we are told, he is very close to the clerics.

Iraq's elections were delayed time and time again, while the occupation and resistance grew ever more deadly. Now it seems that two years of bloodshed, bribery and backroom arm-twisting were leading up to this: a deal in which the ayatollahs get control over the family, Texaco gets the oil, and Washington gets its enduring military bases (call it the "oil for women program"). Everyone wins except the voters, who risked their lives to cast their ballots for a very different set of policies.

But never mind that. January 30, we are told, was not about what Iraqis were voting for--it was about the fact of their voting and, more important, how their plucky courage made Americans feel about their war. Apparently, the elections' true purpose was to prove to Americans that, as George Bush put it, "the Iraqi people value their own liberty." Stunningly, this appears to come as news. Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mark Brown said the vote was "the first clear sign that freedom really may mean something to the Iraqi people." On The Daily Show, CNN's Anderson Cooper described it as "the first time we've sort of had a gauge of whether or not they're willing to sort of step forward and do stuff."

This is some tough crowd. The Shiite uprising against Saddam in 1991 was clearly not enough to convince them that Iraqis were willing to "do stuff" to be free. Nor was the demonstration of 100,000 people held one year ago demanding immediate elections, or the spontaneous local elections organized by Iraqis in the early months of the occupation--both summarily shot down by Bremer. It turns out that on American TV, the entire occupation has been one long episode of Fear Factor, in which Iraqis overcome ever-more-challenging obstacles to demonstrate the depths of their desire to win their country back. Having their cities leveled, being tortured in Abu Ghraib, getting shot at checkpoints, having their journalists censored and their water and electricity cut off--all of it was just a prelude to the ultimate endurance test: dodging bombs and bullets to get to the polling station. At last, Americans were persuaded that Iraqis really, really want to be free.

So what's the prize? An end to occupation, as the voters demanded? Don't be silly--the US government won't submit to any "artificial timetable." Jobs for everyone, as the UIA promised? You can't vote for socialist nonsense like that. No, they get Geraldo Rivera's tears ("I felt like such a sap"), Laura Bush's motherly pride ("It was so moving for the President and me to watch people come out with purple fingers") and Betsy Hart's sincere apology for ever doubting them ("Wow--do I stand corrected").

And that should be enough. Because if it weren't for the invasion, Iraqis would not even have the freedom to vote for their liberation, and then to have that vote completely ignored. And that's the real prize: the freedom to be occupied. Wow--do I stand corrected.

Naomi Klein is the author of No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies (Picador) and, most recently, Fences and Windows: Dispatches From the Front Lines of the Globalization Debate (Picador).

© 2005 The Nation

Thursday, February 10, 2005

CO status

Sa' bula Chamorro ni' gaifamilia ni' sumaonao i setbisisu, put fabot chek out fan este na website. Bula na infotmasion put i sindalu ni' massa' nu gumegera, mamumuno' yan otro na kosas gera na gof baba yan atdet. To meggai na sindalu tumungo' put taimanu sina ma eskapayi i setbisisu, yan suhayi i gera.

Jon Anderson should apologize


Tinige' Senator Jesse Anderson Lujan ginnen i Marianas Variety

JON Anderson, on his talk show on the K57 radio station, a statesider-owned radio station on Guam, responded to my article in this paper that the stateside-owned media on Guam is biased against Filipino and Chamorro citizens of our community. It is my opinion that the stateside owned media on Guam are more lenient towards the malfeasance and misfeasance of stateside public servants, politicians and businesses and fail or refuse to criticize them for similar actions for which they energetically and consistently criticize non-statesiders.In part of his response to this criticism of statesider media bias, Anderson lobbed a personal insult my way saying I must be dreaming when I write this column. Given the context of the comment, Anderson clearly intended it as a personal insult. He did not intend it in the good sense of the word dreaming, as I along with many of our other residents of all colors dream of creating a better community.First, there should be no room in our community for public figures to lob personal insults at each other. Secondly, doing so is the first sign of a weak argument. As strongly as Anderson disagrees with me, and me with him, we should not allow this discourse to degenerate into a name calling session. Thirdly, this kind of response should be beneath a journalist like Anderson who holds himself in such high regard and wants the rest of us in the community to do so as well. Anderson owes me a public apology.Anderson also took issue with my labeling his radio station a statesider-owned media outlet. His defense is that he and his radio station should be considered "local" given that he owns a house here and has lived here for decades. Defined as a "locally- owned" radio station Anderson reasons, should make him and his radio station immune from my criticism of statesider bias. He misses the point. It does not matter to me, nor should it to anyone else in our community, who owns any media source on Guam. What does matter is if they are biased in their reporting or criticism based on color, national origin or religion. It is clear to me, and many others in our community, that K57 has a strong statesider bias even if its owners want to consider themselves "local".Anderson also argues he has many non-statesider employees and does not restrict their reporting implying they cannot be biased as I have stated. What he does not address is the culture of statesider bias on K57's talk shows that seems to permeate his organization. This business culture as in sports is what gives cues to employees as to what is considered acceptable conduct from them by top management. For instance, in a sports stadium no one instructs the fans to cheer at the same time. Yet they do.Even as an occasional listener of Anderson's talk show, it is obvious to me that he gives stateside callers, of whom I am aware, a delightful and much cheerier reception than some Chamorro and Filipino callers who are struggling with strongly accented English as a second language to make a point. Anderson sometimes loses patience and cuts these callers off while he is infinitely patient with his statesider friends. This attitude and culture, probably prevalent in other aspect of his organization, is what instructs his reporters on what is an acceptable reporting posture.Additionally, Anderson coddles stateside-owned businesses like Continental Micronesia Airlines on his talk show and radio station. Time after time Continental is given free reign on his station as he pitches them what appears to be well rehearsed soft balls that they hit with what appears to be well rehearsed answers.Anderson's aim, it seems, is to convince us that this Federally protected monopoly that overcharges us to the tune of $50 million dollars per year is really acting in our best interest. If any Chamorro or Filipino or non-white business were doing the same thing as Continental, Anderson and his cohorts would waste no time mercilessly crucifying them and the government entity giving them the monopoly right to do it.Thank God we have KUAM and Marianas Variety to get a true picture out to our people.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Tinige' Zizek

from an interesting article by Slavoj Zizek

"Today, Iraq. Tomorrow...Democracy?"

The one good argument for war against Iraq is evoked by Christopher Hitchens: The majority of Iraqis are Saddam’s victims, and they would be really glad to be rid of him. He is such a catastrophe for his country that an American occupation in whatever form is a much brighter prospect for Iraqi citizens. We are not talking here of “bringing Western democracy to Iraq,” but of just getting rid of the nightmare called Saddam. To this majority, the caution expressed by Western liberals cannot but appear deeply hypocritical. Do they really care about how the Iraqi people feel?

In the same vein, I remember dozens of Western leftists in the early ‘90s who proudly crowed that “Yugoslavia still exists,” and reproached me for betraying the unique chance of maintaining Milosevic’s Yugoslavia—to which I always answered that I am not yet ready to lead my life so that it will not disappoint Western leftist dreams. Few attitudes are more crassly ideological than a tenured Western academic arrogantly dismissing (or, even worse, “understanding”) an Eastern European from an ex-communist country who longs for Western liberal democracy and some consumer goods.

However, it is all too easy to slip from this recognition to the notion that “under their skin, Iraqis are just like us, and really want the same as we do.” All we need to do is just give people a chance, liberate them from their imposed constraints, and they will join us in our ideological dream. No wonder an American official used the term “capitalist revolution” to describe what Americans are now doing: exporting their revolution all around the world. They have moved from “containing” the enemy to a more aggressive stance. Like the defunct Soviet Union decades ago, the United States is now the country subversively fomenting world revolution. Bush recently declared: “The liberty we prize is not America’s gift to the world, it is God’s gift to humanity.” Indeed, and the United States just happens to be the chosen instrument for distributing this gift.

Abstract pacifism is intellectually stupid and morally wrong—one has to stand up against a threat. Of course the fall of Saddam would be a relief to a large majority of Iraqi people, and a whiff of liberal hypocrisy does taint many of the stated reasons against war. But the impending invasion and occupation of Iraq is still wrong—because who is leading it makes it wrong. This is not a question of war or peace in the short term, but of the “gut feeling” that something is terribly wrong with this war, that something will irretrievably change with it.

One of Jacques Lacan’s more outrageous statements is that, even if what a jealous husband claims about his unfaithful wife is all true, his jealousy is still pathological. The same should be said today about the claim that “Saddam has weapons of mass destruction!” Even if this claim is true (and it probably is, at least to some degree), it is still false with regard to the position from which it is enunciated. Everyone knows that this war is about more than weapons of mass destruction. But it is about more than oil, too. As ardent hawks William Kristol and Lawrence F. Kaplan write in their recent The War Over Iraq, the impending occupation “is about more even than the future of the Middle East and the war on terror. It is about what sort of role the United States intends to play in the twenty-first century.”

One cannot but agree: The future of the international community is at stake now—the new rules that will regulate it, what the new world order will be. We are in the midst of a “silent revolution,” in which the unwritten rules that determine the most elementary international logic are changing. Washington scolded German Prime Minister Gerhard Schröder, a democratically elected leader, for maintaining an anti-war stance supported by the large majority of Germans. In Turkey, according to opinion polls, 94 percent of the people are opposed to allowing U.S. troops in their country for the war. Where is democracy here? Those who pose as global defenders of democracy are the ones who are effectively undermining it.

It is crucial to remember that the present regime in Iraq is ultimately a secular nationalist one, out of touch with Muslim fundamentalist populism. Obviously, Saddam only superficially flirts with pan-Arab Muslim sentiment. As his past clearly demonstrates, he is a pragmatic ruler striving for power, who shifts alliances when it fits his purposes—first against Iran to grab their oil fields, then against Kuwait for the same reason, bringing against himself a pan-Arab coalition allied with the United States. Saddam is not a fundamentalist obsessed with the “Great Satan,” ready to blow the world apart just to get him. What can emerge as a result of U.S. occupation, however, is a truly fundamentalist Muslim, anti-American movement, directly linked to such movements in other Muslim countries.

Direct American occupation of a large and key Arab country—how could this not generate a reaction of universal hatred? One can already imagine thousands of young people dreaming of becoming suicide bombers, and how that will force the U.S. government to impose a permanent high-alert emergency state. At this point, one cannot resist a slightly paranoid temptation: What if the people around Bush know this, what if this “collateral damage” is the true aim of the entire operation? What if the true target of the “war on terror” is American society itself—the disciplining of its emancipatory excesses?

On March 5, MSNBC’s Buchanan & Press show displayed a photo of the recently captured Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the “third man of al-Qaeda”—a mean visage, in an unspecified nightgown prison-dress, half opened and with something like bruises half-discernible, hints that he was already tortured. Pat Buchanan’s fast voice was asking: “Should this man who knows all the names, all the detailed plans for the future terrorist attacks on the United States, be tortured, so that we get all this out of him?” The horror was that the photo already suggested the answer. No wonder the response of other commentators and viewers’ calls was an overwhelming “Yes!”This is a pretty close realization of what Orwell imagined in 1984’s “hate sessions,” where the citizens are shown photos of the traitors and supposed to boo and yell at them.

And the story goes on: A day later, a FOX News commentator claimed that we are allowed to do with this prisoner whatever we want—deprive him of sleep, break his fingers, etc.—because he is “a piece of human garbage with no rights whatsoever.” That such public statements are possible today is the true catastrophe.We should therefore be very attentive not to fight ancillary battles: the debates on how bad Saddam is, or on how much the war will cost, even on how well (or poorly) the occupation is proceeding. The focus should be on what effectively goes on in our culture, on what kind of society is emerging here as the result of the “war on terror.” The ultimate result of this war will be a change in our political order.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Hafa este?

Here's a weird article from the College of Micronesia website. I can't seem to find who wrote it, but it mentions Chamorro women saying that we tell our children that gods and spirits cause the rain, instead of believing in what science tells us.

Its interesting to read, the author is obviously very angry, although I don't think he knows what he's angry at or even what he is attacking. He doesn't understand several passages he cites (for example by postmodern theorists) and therefore calls them names because of it.

Offisland Chamorros vs. On-Island Chamorros

Here's a excerpt from a thread on the Chamorro Information Activist message board, FANAHGUE'YAN ( Anyone interested in really talking about Guam and Chamorros stuff should head over there.

Sahuma: A discussion is brewing in one of the less frequented categories so I just thought I'd bring it up here, where more people post.

What is everyone's opinions on Chamorros stateside and on island? Alot of the people in this board are not on island right now, in fact demographically more Chamorros are offisland than on, so what's up? Do you lose a piece of yourself and your culture when you leave? Are Chamorros raised in the states just biologically more annoying and clueless? Can you re-connect to something you've probably never known? These are some of the issues involved.

Living in the states for half of my life I can tell you that you can re-connect, but its not as easy as everyone thinks it is. When most people talk about reconnecting to the island and their culture, it means they are learning to pronounce their Chamorro chatfino' properly, nothing much more than that. I guess this connects to another thread we had in here, and can Chamorro culture be saved? Because what we are taking about here is Chamorroness and who is really Chamorro or more Chamorro, and for most people from Guam who see the Chamorros stateside, they are noticeably less Chamorro. Is this true? Or is this just us trying to feel superior to them?

All interesting questions, what do you guys have to say about them?

Kaluko671: I honestly disagree about the Chamorus off-island are losing there language and culture. I was off-island for 3 years in those years I gained so much chamoru knowledge than if I was on island. I took me to leave to actually recognize my roots and my cultures history. If I never left, I wouldn't be writing articles about Chamoru Heritage, language, and culture, or I wouldn't be proud of who I am. When I moved to the mainland it gave me more time to think of what I want to do, as also to think and realize who I am and that "I AM CHAMORU" and I do not give a hell if anyone calls me CHAUD or discriminates me and labels me as an idiotic fool. I do not care, I am proud to be CHAMORU and I love everything about it. I LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE BULA BULA BULA TIMES I WILL SHOUT IT (SHOUTS)))))))))))))))))))))))) HU GUAIYA HAO TANO GUAHAN HU GUAIYA HAO TAOTAO GUAHAN HU GUAIYA HAO TANO SAIPAN, LUTA, TINI'AN I LOVE YOU PEOPLE THAT PROTECTS AND PRESERVES OUR HERITAGE, LANGUAGE, AND CULTURE. I love GUMA PALU LI'E I love PA'A TAOTAO TANO COALITION, I love you NATIBU CULTURAL DANCERS, I love you JESSE & RUBY, JJ CONCEPCION, JD CRUTCH, and all the CHAMORU SINGERS who promotes our CHAMORU LANGUAGE. I love you and thank you for all you've done for our people. I love you all for inspiring me to learn the ancient and keep the ancient rather than the Spanish. I love you all for inspiring me especially my uncle Angel Santos who inspired me to write songs about our heritage, language, and culture. Angel may you rest in peace and may Fu'una yan Puntan, Chaifi, Anufa' bless your lives, you are the one that has made the biggest impact in our Chamoru society... BIBA SINAHI BIBA CHAMORU BIBA TAOTAO GUAHAN BIBA TAOTAO'MONA ISLANDS......

Chamoruborn: I'm a Chamoru who is from the states! I hate to say it, but there isn't much out here! I didn't know anything until a few years ago, and I still don't know much now.

Is it just that we're too spread out here in the states? That we can't all get together and help each other out? I think if you grow up around more Chamorus you have a better shot.

taotaomona: I know we aren't supposed to name call in here, but Chamorus from the states are too white alot of times. I KNOW, you can find coconuts on island to, don't need to go all the way stateside to find them! But still, they are different, they don't thinka nd understand things the way we do. Too uptight, too hip hop. All my cuzins from the states are to damn hip hop, they don't know how to keep it real.

Kapak: I think this thread is retarded and proves you guys don't have anything much to say. I'm a Guamanian raised in the states and frankly I don't care much for learning about Guam when I see people like you guys, dissing us without even knowing us. I can be just as Guamanian as you guys, doesn't mean I gotta wear it on my sleave or tatoo it to my arms. I'm from Guam just as much as you guys are.


Sahuma: Thanks for not reading my questions very carefully...and for deciding to answer in a "retarded" manner yourself. I don't have time to post much now, but I'll be back to tangle with you later.

Kaluko671: KAPAK,

Why don't you just hush your mouth? It's a big fact that alot of CHAMORUS residing in the states are too white. matter of fact too black. I can back my statement up. I've stayed in the mainland for 3 years in Phoenix, Arizona let me tell you the CHAMORUS there are too WHITE and they lost there culture and language big time, including there heritage. They honestly don't care about GUAM. I don't care about them, they can kiss my hard-core CHAMORU ASS... hahahaha

I LOVE BEING CHAMORU AND EVERYTHING ABOUT IT, SO DON'T HATE BECAUSE WE'RE MORE INTACT WITH OUR HERITAGE, LANGUAGE, AND CULTURE and you don't even have knowledge of your own identity. I advise you to learn it and stop posing and be who you are when you find the time to learn about your identity and your culture.

Otherwise hush it about this topic. I like this topic.

Gachong671: I want to be a punk and say, that this topic is stupid because its just another way to divide our people, but I know this isn't true. Kaluko is right and so is Taotaomona, Chamorros nowadays aren't Chamorro, they are either white or they are black. When I say this I mean they don't know language, history culture, and most importantly THEY DON"T CARE!

Kapak dude, so you've siad you are just as Guamanian (please don't use that word in here) as the rest of us, well please back it up. Where is your love? Does is exist, or are you just talking without thinking or feeling? Lana, I keep tjhis up I could write a song for Black Eyed Peas...

Kaolunggahao: I think the word Guamanian should be banned from here, I can't stand the sound of it. and Speaking of which, why thing I can't stand about Chamorros stateside is that although they know its wrong, they still use Guamanian! when they talk!

If you guys are so in touch with your Chamorro side, then get with the program and throw away that terrible word!

Kopbla: I was raised int he states and have never even been to Guam, but even I agree with cabesachick that the word "Guamanian" should be banned from this forum. Its a word with a bad history, one of making our people less than what they are, meaning indigenous to Guam and the Marianas.

If Guamanian is what we are, its also what ANYONE who live sin Guam can be as well!

Mari2384: I agree with cabesachick and kopbla as well. "Guamanian," as well as having a bad history, is becoming too generic and we Chamorus are often just thrown into the bunch, which denies our heritage. For example, the other day, I was reading through the opinion section of the PDN (I'm a masochist, what can I say?), and at the bottom of my FAVORITE brainwashed pinoy's column was his description, which said "Filipino-Guamanian." What the hell is that? Well, I figured that Guamanian is no longer some cultural term everyone thinks it is. Like "Filipino-American," it refers to the ethnicity first, then the CITIZENSHIP. So, I guess Guamanian now means you are a citizen of Guam. Of course, people aren't thinking that way, and use Guamanian interchangeably with Chamoru when describing us. In addition, many of the people here who are not Chamoru came because the US allowed the floodgates to open in the 60s and thousands of immigrants to come here (and they still come), including my own Filipino father and his family. My dad is the first to say that this is one of the main things that is contributing to the difficulty Chamorus are having regarding self-determination, including trying to PROVE themselves as Chamorus. I mean, the minute you say "Chamoru-only vote" all these "Guamanians" (Filipino, White, etc.) come out and scream "Racism!" Well, everyone in here knows (at least I hope) that it IS NOT because ORIGINALLY, Guamanian referred only to the people of Guam at the time the word was first used and these people were ONLY Chamoru and the rights stated in the Organic Act only referred to the Chamorus, which is why I am mystified when the government applies it to everyone. Well, thanks to the US, Guam immigrants, and even some Chamorus themselves, we're in a stinky pickle right now. I just hope that by the time my kids are older (Note: I have no kids yet, so you can see how far in the future I'm looking), Guam will no longer be under the beck and call of the United States.

Sorry for the rambling and pointed history, I just had to get that out.

cabesachick: Just wanted to let you guys know, it was kaolunggahao who said that we should ban the word "Guamanian." But I totally agree though. The only problem I have, is what happens to the all the manamko who use the word? In the states everyone who left and settled out here before the 1980's uses that word and get embarassed using Chamorro (sadly, because they usually don't think they exist, or because to them, Guamanian is more "American."

How can we respect the elders who use that word and still fight against it?

Saturday, February 05, 2005


I'm going to try and translate this into Chamorro, can't wait to see how it turns out...what fun, even I don't know what'll happen. Translation is a real battle, and the people who just do it, aren't thinking enough about the universe colliding and collapsing which takes place. I feel schizophrenic when I do it, because I can feel the limits of languages and of myself to bridge them.

We say that there are things in some langauges which can't be translated. Sina, lao ti sina. Statements like that are very powerful in making sure that such translations, such bridging of the gulfs between cultures, peoples and times never take place. The fact of the matter is, everything can be translated, but the difficulty lies in releasing oneself to allow it to happen. One to one transformation won't yield anything close, new or probably inspiring (that's not a true statement, even if it feels true, strict translations can reveal their own serendipities), the real beauty lies in learning to think of oneself not in a single world, or within single seperate worlds, but constantly spanning and traversing them.

otro fino'-ta, this song is from a Hindi movie...

This boy is nutty as a pie
Why is to so hard to make him realize
That first the heart pines slowly
and only on the way one finds love
Then you fall freely

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Guam "sex capital?"

Massage parlors tackledGVB head: Guam not a 'sex capital'

By Ryota DeiPacific Daily News;
Ric A. Eusebio/Pacific Daily News/

By day, Guam's tourism district projects a family-friendly environment, with children playing at the beaches and young couples holding hands and shopping.

By night, however, Tumon can sing an entirely different tune. Solicitors and handbillers appear on busy San Vitores Road, passing out sexually explicit flyers in an attempt to entice tourists to receive massages and other services.

With about 60 to 70 adult businesses, including massage parlors, jostling each other in the area, it is difficult to call Tumon an ideal destination for families with children.

"We don't want to be known as a sex capital of Micronesia," said Tony Lamorena, general manager of the Guam Visitors Bureau. "We have families and little kids. If they see flyers or (signs with sexually explicit content), that will send a very bad message."

Officials from GVB, the Department of Public Health and Social Services, Department of Revenue and Taxation, Guam Police Department, and the governor's office participated in a meeting yesterday discussing what each department can do about the image problem.

Lamorena said the meeting was not designed to discuss a way to eliminate illegitimate massage parlors at this point, but to find a way for each participating agency to work within its jurisdiction to check if a massage parlor or its employees are obeying the laws and regulations.
"Jurisdiction is in each agency's presence," Lamorena said. "For example, Public Health can check if the parlors and employees have a proper health certificate. If it's Revenue and Tax, the agency can check if the parlor has a proper license and paying taxes. (Citizenship and Immigration Services) was not there today, but I'd like them to see if they have proper paperwork and visa."

The more the officials talked about it, however, the more complicated the issue has become. At the meeting, officials said it is difficult to track the revenue of a massage parlor because it is usually a cash-only transaction.

It also is difficult to investigate all stores that offer sexual services because even some legal entertainment places, including strip clubs and karaoke bars, offer prostitution to certain "safe" customers.

And, as Police Chief Frank Ishizaki said, "It is very difficult to prosecute prostitution."
Thomas Nadeau, administrator of Public Health's environmental health division, said there has been only one case in which a prostitute was prosecuted in the past, not on a charge of prostitution, but on theft.

"This issue requires collective efforts by a number of government agencies," Lamorena said.
Nadeau said there are two types of massage businesses on Guam -- therapeutic massage shops, which offer shiatsu and other legitimate massage therapies, and massage parlors, which sell sex.
And some legitimate therapeutic massage stores have suffered because of the existence of illegitimate parlors. Nadeau said a legitimate therapeutic massage store complained of being asked for sexual services by a customer.

Lamorena said he will try to include other governmental agencies to tackle the issue from various standpoints.

Originally published Thursday, December 23, 2004


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