Saturday, April 30, 2005

Spiritual vs. social

A few lyrics from the song Aya Tere Dar Par Diwana from the film Veer-Zaara.

I've broken past the world's structures and come to you
For your sake I've left the world behind...

Atrocity comes so easily to you
You and society are one and the same
These are the world's customs and I'm caught in their hold...

Thinking about this song, I'm reminded that all great, especially tragic or dramatic love stories are about a spiritual connection conflicting with social norms. There exist connections between people which naturally lie beneath our eyes or our sciences (societies) to explain. If we are lucky, these spiritual ties run parallel with society. Namely, if the one you are tied to in love, is one that by whatever rules society has created, allows you or affirms this love, then you are blessed. If not, if you're love is illegitimate, immoral, dissocial, then that connection conflicts with the ties societies prescribe and one must prepare for atrocities and tragedy.

But love is of course not the only thing that ties people together. Hatred can be just as powerful, as can be meloncholy, lust.

I remember Clive Owen's line about Mickey Rourke's character from Sin City, Marv, who breathes violence. In the time of the Roman's Marv would have commanded armies or become a hero for the lives he cut short, but in the world of today (Sin City's today), he doesn't fit. He sticks out of the world in an uncomfortable, almost unrealisticaly inauthentic way.

We are all thrown into our places in life, and if drama and sadness are what we want to avoid, then we might be fortunate to have the places we will occupy in life, fit within the general scheme of things. If not, then prepare for a life less ordinary.

ai bula linachi social

I may like writing psuedo academic papers, and enjoy the ego kicks that take place when I present at conferences and meet people who say nice things about me. Then there's also the creativity involved in trying to find nice things to say about other people and their work. Not that other people don't have nice work, but just how do you say something they haven't heard, about a trillion and a half times before.

(The most interesting, and probably honest nice thing anyone ever said to me about one of my papers, was what this one woman said after we presented on a panel together. I went last, and after we were done and the QandA was done, she came over to me and said, "thank you, I really enjoyed your paper. But now I'm going to have to re-write mine. The way you explained ideology, it changes everything in my paper.")

So alot of times, when my head is bursting trying to come up with something to say to someone I've met at a conference, I lose my basic social understandings, which aren't that much to begin with, but sometimes just all evaporate away. So at a conference I was at a few weeks ago, I meet someone interesting, we're talking, I learn that the person studied under Frederic Jameson at Duke. I'm usually very dense when it comes to the names I'm supposed to know, so I don't know all the names I'm supposed to in Cultural Studies, Ethnic Studies, American Studies and whatever. But in this instance, I had heard of Frederic Jameson, but didn't know much about him. So after hearing this, I responded, "oh wow, he's very famous."

The people in this conversation were very impressed, but in a negative way, and didn't do much talking to me for the rest of the day. I guess when someone is as famous as Frederic Jameson, then you're supposed to say that he is "brillant" or "incredible" or "new and improved, with less spillage." I think next time, if I don't actually know anything about someone's work, then I'll just pretend not to know who they are.

"Oh, Frederic Jameson. Wow, who's that?"

Thursday, April 28, 2005


Lina'la' mata'pang
Un diha u traiduti hao
Minatai i guinaiya-mu
Ya u ga'chungi hao
Asta i fanhalom'an matai
Ya guiya ni' ti linemlem nu este na lugat
U i'ikak-na i tano'

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Mafa'ga'ga hit ta'lo!

Date: Thu, 21 Apr 2005
Subject: Just released: The Secret Guam Study

A new book on Guam's political status adventures entitled: The Secret Guam Study; How President Ford's 1975 Approval of Commonwealth was Blocked by Federal Officials by Howard P. Willens with Dirk A. Ballendorf has just been released by the Richard Flores Taitano Micronesian Area Research Center at the University of Guam.

The book tells the story of how Guam was prevented from claiming much improved political status rights that President Gerald R. Ford had decided to grant to Guam. The key document is a 196-page study of Guam's political status conducted by the federal government in 1973-74. In early 1975, President Ford approved the study's recommendation that Guam should be offered an improved political status comparable to that which had been negotiated with the Northern Mariana Islands.

Howard P. Willens, principal author of the book, has said that "no one on Guam has ever seen these documents, [and] there appears to be no evidence that this Presidential directive was ever communicated to Guam's political leaders."

Professor Ballendorf has been pursuing these records tenaciously for more than three years, first as requests under the Freedom of Information Act in November 2000 with the Departments of State, Defense, and Interior, and then with letters and phone calls to follow up. The government denied they had the documents, so Ballendorf sued.

With complaints filed on 7 May 2003, Ballendorf accused the three government departments of illegally withholding the documents he wanted. Ballendorf asked the court to order the agencies to turn over the documents. Ballendorf's lawsuits got the government's attention, and all three agencies quickly coughed up their papers.

Deanne Siemers, one of Ballendorf's lawyers on the case, said that "the Interior Department had kept its set of the 1970s classified documents in a safe in the Office of Insular Affairs, and had long since forgotten about the safe and its contents. When the safe was opened, 93 classified documents about the Guam study were found." Then, the government began the long process of getting the documents declassified so they could be delivered to Professor Ballendorf.

Other formerly classified documents have been obtained from the Department of State and the Department of Defense and added to the ones yielded as a result of the suit. Willens and Ballendorf prepared The Secret Guam Study from these documents which are now available for the public to read at the RFT/Micronesian Area Research Center.

The book, The Secret Guam Study, is available for $10 at MARC, the Faith Bookstore, and Bestseller and is a must read for those interested in Guam's political status.

For more information call: LaVonne Meno Guerrero at MARC, 735-2150 or

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Bush and flip flops

George W. Bush, the ultimate flip flopper. He is the master of flip flopping kwan.

I was remembering the other day how Bush, his pitbull Cheney and their apostles went hard after Kerry for his "flip flopping." Kerry was a wishy washy guy, always changing his mind, hardly leadership material. Bush in contrast, was supposed to be stiff and stubborn, the leader who, even though the majority of the country wanted the US out of Iraq, wouldn't even bend beneath the democratic pressure of his own electorate.

The funny thing though is that more and more, Bush is leaving behind that stubborness and embracing his flip flopping nature, becoming a greatly skilled and masterful artist. He is so great in fact, he makes John Kerry look like some confused, afigao, nedok novice. Bush is a pro, for reals umbee. Unlike Kerry who usually needed at least two statements to flip and flop (with the notable exception of his claim to "have voted for the funding for the Iraq war, before voting against it), Bush can flip flop with the greatest of ease, sometimes within a single sentence, or a single breath.

What makes this so utterly depressing, is the way that this vassilation is somehow nonetheless protected by Master Signifiers such as leadership and political strength, despite the fact that it rudely contradicts with the way Bush attempted to characterize himself previously.

Monday, April 25, 2005


I have a stupid question, why do Chamorros like to shop at Ikea? Everytime I go there, I see at least one car with a Chamorro or Guam sticker on it. That means that everytime I go, there is at least one other Chamorro or possibly a family of Chamorros in Ikea with me, which considering the statistics of it all, that although there are alot of Chamorros in San Diego, there probably aren't that many, that so many could cluster in a place, unless there was something underneath that was drawing them there.

If anyone has any cool explainations, let me know. I'm not interested in any lame ones, because I've already thought of them (Chamorros manmeskinu umbee, Chamorros mambrodie, yan-niha manshopping bentana).

Thinking about Ikea, of course brings me as every other thing seems to lately, back to depression. Walking through Ikea alone, looking for a DVD rack, I realized that no one really goes to Ikea alone, especially not on a Sunday. Its a family affair, or a coupley thing. You drag the kids there, so they can mess up someone else's furniture for once. Or you take you're loved one these in order to deter yourself from further commitment issues or to stir them on. When I saw couples who weren't couples, namely umatungo' ha' or just friends, I realized that they weren't necessarily couples. Ikea is also the place where people take the people that they would be with if they weren't with their current significant other.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

kinenne' ni' politics

When I interviewed Robert Underwood for my master's thesis at the University of Guam, I was working on a different project, which I later abandoned, Guam politics, campaigning and discussions of culture and cultural change in that.

I remember vividly Underwood saying that in Guam, in times past most so than today, the favorite pastime for Chamorros (and for the rest) is politics. That is entertinment, that is fun, that is where all the drama, emotion, tension, all the excitement on island was at. Getting behind your gayu, forming silly yet vitally important walls between people who might be exactly the same as you, except for one simple choice of affiliation. Underwood was right, absolutely, about times past.

But reading the newspaper on Guam today, I think a huge shift in excitement and everyday joy as changed. While politics is still very important, especially for Chamorros, the new pastime that has emerged is, the Olympic like sport of corruption discussion. It is something which anyone can participate in, and they can do it without any actual knowledge, but just a banal platitude such as "can you believe GovGuam?"

Much like politics was enjoyed because all one would need was "We're number one!" In corruption discussions, anything in the landscape of Guam is fair game for the resources of disgust, anger and revulsion.

gof yayas yu'

Oh ai adai, mampos yayas yu' esta. Kalang esta matto di matai i yinayas-hu.

I just finished what someone called my "conference circuit" for the year. I presented four different papers at four different conferences, in Berkeley, Chicago, New York and Los Angeles.

I had signed up for these four conferences last year, sending out a bunch of abstracts since I was bored in my program. I am grateful that I did, but also regret it. The regret comes from how tired I am, and although I got funding to help me with the conferences, it did cost me quite a bit to be travelling so muhc (lana, nenkanno' airpot, gof guaguan!). I didn't fall behind in my school work though, but I am just dreading now the fact that for the rest of the quarter, all I have to look forward to is school work.

And this leads me to some of the several reasons why I am magof dimasiao that I did do this. First of all, it forced me to write constantly. I've been writing nonstop since February trying to get these papers out, in addition to the regular writing I have to do for my classes. This writing not only pushed my own thinking, but it pushed me towards conceptualizing and writing my thesis. If I can get a prospectus together based on the different papers I've written and get my committee to approve it, then I will have a awesome headstart to getting the thing done, something I didn't have for my last master's thesis.

I'm also glad I did this, because it forced me to network and forced me to get out there and let other people hear and read my stuff. It was such an awesome feeling, having so many different people asking for a copy of my paper. People I don't know, who don't know me, but were impressed enough to formulate a request (this is of course, cool from my perspective, because I would never do such a thing, but for most people I'm sure its common and probably meaningless). All together for the four conferences I got more than three dozen requests for copies of my papers.

I don't mean to be too banidosu about this (although I should be allowed didide' ha'), but the point in doing all this, networking, presenting, writing is that I can build up a reputation, to where I can get my stuff published, get my name known, so that when I'm done with my current Ph.D program in San Diego, I can return to the University of Guam, and they won't be able to come up with any lame excuses not to hire me, which I have been told happened to many Chamorros and others from Guam who want to work there.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Can the culture be saved?

A recent post of mine from my message board in response to yet another question of whether or not Chamorro culture can be saved.

Deskansanaihon Chamoruborn, relax. Me and Kopbla can be pretty harsh sometimes, but I don't mean it to keep you from expressing yourself. I have a professor in my program who does that enough to us students, so I don't want to reproduce that here.

For me saving any culture means alot more than doing whatever is already doing. If you don't speak Chamorro, it means learning it and learning it good. If you don't know the history, then you learn it, right now. If you don't know shit about your elders, you go and bow before them know begging to be told about their lives, their experiences before the war, during the war, after the war. Their thoughts on Guam today. It also means being very very critical of the United States whenever you can. Which is why I have problems with Guamanifornia's posts, because they are so so so so so patriotic, I can't even see a Chamorro in them. The Chamorro is the loose and strange thread hanging from the corner of this giant ass American flag. Survival means breaking out of that small token place which we have been given in the United States family and therefore the world.

And of course, none of these things can be done half-ass. They require full daggan's working at them. Which means, asking your grandma once what happened to her during the war isn't enough. It means understanding that the gaps between generations aren't supposed to exist the way we understand them. It means that you must be a part of your elders lives and they part of yours. Their spirits must always reside in you, their knowledge, their voices, their presence. The problem is however that most of the things we come up with to save our culture just doesn't even begin to touch this, because American ways of thinking, seeing and understanding cultures are just too embedded in our heads.

And it is not enough to just say, "the spirits of my ancestors live within me." What does it mean to you? How do you know it? How can you, not prove it, because such can't be proven, but how can you express it to someone so they can feel it?

I get asked this question all of the time, is the culture dying, can it be saved. Depends on what we all do I guess. But from what I see nowadays looking at the youth of Guam, I don't see very good odds of our culture being preserved or saved in any meaningful way, except as the simple artifacts which can be reduced to tourist items or imagery.

You shouldn't interpret this to mean that our culture cannot be saved, but only that it is alot more difficult as Chetnotmaipi and Chamoruborn have both said, then most people think. Now, Chamoruborn, was that so scary? Kao na'ma'a'nao este na fino'-hu?

Sunday, April 17, 2005

lingering land issues


Speaker hosts forum to iron out lingering land issues
by Ken Wetmore, KUAM NewsMonday, April 18, 2005

Speaker Mark Forbes chaired a second roundtable meeting to try to get a fix on how to help the Chamorro Land Trust Commission and other Government of Guam entities that deal with land issues. The CLTC has had chronic problems accomplishing its mission to lease land to Chamorros.Former CLTC director Ron Teehan said he attended today's hearing from the perspective of a concerned citizen. He announced, "I'm very pleased to see them on going. I think it's very useful; you have people presently and in the past bringing it together. Probably one of the most convoluted issues on Guam is land whether it's the land taking and releases, the Land Trust, how the two interconnect, and the various problems within the respective programs."Teehan and others gathered this morning and shared their perspectives on the problems and possible solutions for the CLTC. Speaker Forbes says he will hold another roundtable meeting next Monday to continue the discussions. The Speaker has asked the CLTC to come prepared to present a slide presentation and their status.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Bai hu taigue ta'lo ginnen guini

I'm preparing for a conference in New York and so for the next couple days it'll be hard to find time to post in here. So I apologize, but I'll be sure to let you know how it goes.

Friday, April 08, 2005

kana' tumanges

I've just realized that you can learn alot about someone from them recalling the moments that they almost cried, as opposed to the moments they did cry. Particular so in movies. Actual tears of course means that on some level catharsis has taken place and that the equation may nonetheless be stange, but it is at least complete. The weak "I don't know why I'm crying" is of course the statement which makes the catharsis complete, designed to cover over the gap. Allowing whatever release as taken place not to be reflexively diminshed.

Almost crying however forces one to confront the gap and attempt to understand why didn't you cry and why did you think you were supposed to cry. The partiality of drives and of the self becomes manifest in the very partiality of the feeling itself.

So why am I typing this now? Shouldn't it be obvious?

I was watching a movie and of course at a very emotional scene I almost cried and of course had to figure out why I almost cried and why I felt that I should, or felt bad that I didn't.

When I settled down to try and come up with a reason why I realized that no one in the history of the world has ever interpreted this movie this way.

I should test this out and see if anyone has though. Does anyone know if anyone has analyzed the film Yaadon Ki Baarat by thinking about Lacan's conception of the symptom? I doubt it, although most people have probably at some level thought of what I thought and were pulled to an emotional edge because of it, no one probably would have wasted their time thinking of it to the extent that I did and am doing so.

In Looking Awry Zizek writes of the symptom as the excess that irritates but nonetheless awaits the completion of a system. It is the thing which will disappear when a system is completed or has run its course. He mentions Asimov's short story, The Nine Billion Names of God, and how in that story, the world, the universe is nothing but a symptom, which awaits completion. In the story a group of monks hire computer techs to design a program which will generate all the possible names of God. The monks believe that when all the possible, nine billion names of God are written down then the purpose of the universe as a symptom to signify a flaw, a lack or an incompleteness will be complete and the universe will disappear. At the end of the story, the computer techs are walking down from the mountains, ruminating that the computer will soon finish its work, spitting out all the possible names. As they are walking they look up at the sky and see the stars slowly blinking out, the universe is beginning to fade away.

In Yaadon Ki Baarat, the song "Yaadon ki Baarat" signals the symptom. In the start of the film when Ratan sings before the hotel audience in hopes of finding his two brothers who are the only people who can help him finish this song, you see the same process. The entire structure and system of this film is built upon this lack, the brother's separation and searches for each other.

Towards the film's end, when Ratan is singing Yaadon ki Baarat, this time with both Shankar and Vijay in the room, one feel's tense in anticipation of the symptom's dissolution (much like a patient in psychoanalysis), as these two will no doubt join Ratan and finish the song. But the festishization of the symptom strikes back and prevents it, although it is both anticipated and the reassertion of the lack strongly emphasised with the guards present in the room.

But like in life, we often take for granted the things which don't really happen. The movie continues one with the symtom never being dissolved on screen. The three never join in song, it is alluded to but never takes place. So like with most of us, we feel that the system has been completed, that this psychological misssion has been accomplished. But of course, the lack still lurks deep down, as it does at the end of the film, when the song plays over the cheerful and happy hugs, as it is not the song which would signal a psychoanalytical "happy" ending (which would be the grown voices of Vijay, Ratan and Shankar) it is instead the children's voices from the film's beginning. Thus in the film and as us the audience and actors in life have been fooled once again.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

I tano'-hu

Aisa De Hai Mera (with Hindi and English lyrics)

Gos ya-hu este na kanta. Bula masangan na ani ma egga' i mubin Hindi eyu gof muna'hasso siha put i nasion-niha pat i tano'-niha. Sesso gi i mibi i "passion" yan i hinihot i familia yan i taotao siha. Sesso ma fa'na'an este, guinaiya put lina'la', yan annok na i meggaina gi i "modern world" ti ma komprende yan ti ma tungo'. Malago yu' na bai fangge' kanta taiguini, nai bai hu na'tungo' i taotao ni' ti ha tungo' i tano'-hu put i binita.

kinna sona des hai mera...
How beautiful my country is...
dhartii sunaharii a.mbar niila
Golden earth and blue sky,
dhartii sunaharii a.mbar niila har mausam ra.ngiila
golden earth and blue sky, every season brilliantly colored:
aisa des hai mera ho aisa des hai mera...
that's what my country is like...
bole papiiha koyal gaa'e
The cuckoos cry out;
bole papiiha koyal gaa'e saawan girke aa'e
the cuckoos cry out and down comes the rain.
aisa des hai mera ho aisa des hai mera...
That's what my country is like...
gehuu.n ke kheto.n me.n ka.nghii jo kare.n hawaa'e.n
When the breezes comb through the fields of wheat, bira.ngii kitnii chunariyaa.n uR uR jaa'e.n
a rainbow of scarves go flying.
pa.nghaT par panhaaran jab gagrii bharne aaye
While the farm girls come to fill their pots at the well,
madhur madhur taano.n me.n kahii.n ba.nsi koii bajaaye lo sun lo
someone plays the flute in a sweet, soft melody: listen!
qadam qadam pe hai mil jaanii
At every step, you encounter...
qadam qadam pe hai mil jaanii koii prem kahaanii
at every step, you encounter a love story.
aisa des hai mera ho aisa des hai mera
That's what my country is like...
baap ke ka.ndhe chaRHke jahaa.n bachche dekhe mele
where children watch festivals from atop their fathers' shoulders,
melo.n me.n naTke tamaashe kulfii ke chaat ke thaile
festivals full of dance, spectacle, and delicious food.
kahii.n miltii miiTHii golii kahii.n chuuran kii hai puRiyaa
Here you might get a sweet dessert; there, a salty snack.
bhole bhole bachche hai.n jaise guDDe aur guRiyaa.n
The innocent children are like dolls,
aur inko roz sunaa'e.n daadii-naanii
and every day, their grandmothers...
roz sunaa'e.n daadii-naanii ek pariyo.n kii kahaanii
every day, their grandmothers read them fairy tales.
aisa des hai mera ho aisa des hai mera
That's what my country is like.
mere des me.n mahamaano.n ko bhagwaan kahaa jaata hai
In my country, visitors are considered gods;
ho yahii.n ka ho jaata hai jo kahii.n se bhii aata hai
you're made at home no matter where you come from.
tere des ko mai.n ne dekha tere des ko mai.n ne jaana...
I've seen your country; I've gotten to know it...
jaane kyo.n yeh lagta hai mujhko jaana pahachaana
I don't know why, but it seems so familiar to me;
yahaa.n kii vahii shaam hai vahii savera
The same evening, the same sort of sunrise...
yahaa.n kii vahii shaam hai vahii savera aisa hii des hai mera
The evenings and the dawns in my country
jaisa des hai tera jaisa des hai tera jaisa des hai tera
are just like those in yours.
aisa des hai mera jaisa des hai tera...
This is what my country's like, the same as yours...
aisa des hai mera
This is what my country is like.
jaisa des hai mera
It's just like mine.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Taco Bell strike over


Contact:Lucas Benitez, CIW/239-503-0133Julia Perkins, CIW/239-986-0891Laurie Schalow, Taco Bell Corp.949-863-3915 or onsite at 949-637-1153

CIW to end Taco Bell boycott; Taco Bell to pay penny-per-pound surcharge demanded by workers, will work with CIW to raise farm labor standards in supply chain, across industry as a whole

March 8, 2005 (IMMOKALEE/LOUISVILLE) – In a precedent-setting move, fast-food industry leader Taco Bell Corp., a division of Yum! Brands (NYSE: YUM), has agreed to work with the Florida-based farm worker organization, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), to address the wages and working conditions of farmworkers in the Florida tomato industry.
Taco Bell announced today that it will fund a penny per pound “pass-through” with its suppliers of Florida tomatoes, and will undertake joint efforts with the CIW on several fronts to improve working conditions in Florida’s tomato fields. For its part, the CIW has agreed to end its three-year boycott of Taco Bell, saying that the agreement “sets a new standard of social responsibility for the fast-food industry.”
“As an industry leader, we are pleased to lend our support to and work with the CIW to improve working and pay conditions for farmworkers in the Florida tomato fields,” said Emil Brolick, Taco Bell president. “We recognize that Florida tomato workers do not enjoy the same rights and conditions as employees in other industries, and there is a need for reform. We have indicated that any solution must be industry-wide, as our company simply does not have the clout alone to solve the issues raised by the CIW, but we are willing to play a leadership role within our industry to be part of the solution,” Brolick added.
Taco Bell has recently secured an agreement with several of its tomato-grower suppliers, who employ the farmworkers, to pass-through the company-funded equivalent of one-cent per pound directly to the workers.
“With this agreement, we will be the first in our industry to directly help improve farmworkers’ wages,” added Brolick, “And we pledge to make this commitment real by buying only from Florida growers who pass this penny per pound payment entirely on to the farmworkers, and by working jointly with the CIW and our suppliers to monitor the pass-through for compliance. We hope others in the restaurant industry and supermarket retail trade will follow our leadership.” Yum! Brands and Taco Bell will also work with the CIW to help ensure that Florida tomato pickers enjoy working terms and conditions similar to those that workers in other industries enjoy. CIW/Taco Bell Resolution Page 2“We are challenging our tomato suppliers to meet those higher standards and will seek to do business with those who do,” said Jonathan Blum, senior vice president, Yum! Brands. “We have already added language to our Supplier Code of Conduct to ensure that indentured servitude by suppliers is strictly forbidden, and we will require strict compliance with all existing laws. Finally, we pledge to aid in efforts at the state level to seek new laws that better protect all Florida tomato farmworkers,” added Blum.
The Company indicated that it believes other restaurant chains and supermarkets, along with the Florida Tomato Committee, should join in seeking legislative reform, because “human rights are universal and we hope others will follow our company’s lead.”
“This is an important victory for farmworkers, one that establishes a new standard of social responsibility for the fast-food industry and makes an immediate material change in the lives of workers. This sends a clear challenge to other industry leaders,” said Lucas Benitez, a leader of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers.
“Systemic change to ensure human rights for farmworkers is long-overdue. Taco Bell has now taken an important leadership role by securing the penny per pound pass-through from its tomato suppliers, and by the other efforts it has committed to undertake to help win equal rights for farmworkers,” Benitez added. “We now call on the National Council of Churches, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights and other organizations to join the CIW and end their boycott of Taco Bell, and to recognize the Company by supporting its ongoing leadership in our fight against human rights abuses. But our work together is not done. Now we must convince other companies that they have the power to change the way they do business and the way workers are treated.”
Representatives from the Carter Center assisted the discussions and resolution between the two organizations. “I commend the Coalition of Immokalee Workers for their principled leadership in this very important campaign. I am pleased Taco Bell has taken a leadership role to help reform working conditions for Florida farmworkers and has committed to use its power to effect positive human rights change. I now call on others in the industry to follow Taco Bell’s lead to help the tomato farmworkers,” said former President Jimmy Carter.
Taco Bell Corp., based in Irvine, California, is a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc. and the nation’s leading Mexican-style quick service restaurant chain serving tacos, burritos, signature Quesadillas, Border Bowls®, nachos and other specialty items. In 2004, Taco Bell purchased approximately 10 million pounds of Florida tomatoes, representing less than one percent of Florida’s tomato production. Taco Bell serves more than 35 million consumers each week in more than 6,500 restaurants in the U.S.
CIW is a membership-led organization of agricultural workers based in Immokalee, Florida, that seeks justice for farmworkers and promotes their fair treatment in accordance with national and international labor standards. Among its accomplishments, the CIW has aided in the prosecution of five slavery operations by the Department of Justice and the liberation of over 1,000 workers. The CIW uses creative methods to educate consumers about human rights abuses in the U.S. agriculture industry, corporate social responsibility, and how consumers can help workers realize their social change goals.

For more details on the agreement and an analysis of its impact, click here!

Monday, April 04, 2005

Kal Ho Na Ho

Hinasso-ku duru put Agupa', yan hafa kumekeilek-na i idea (inagupa') gi i lina'la-ta yan i hinasso-ta.

Bai hu chagi tumuge' put este mas agupa' (hehehe) sa' ti nahong i tiempo-ku pa'go. Lao hu tutuge' este kosaki bai hu hasso (este i na'hasso-hu). Sa' sina humuyong bali ginnen este na lailai na hinasso-ku.

Sesso ta na'setbe este na klasin palabra sin hinasso. Kalang guaha pinegle gi eriyan i idea. Pues agupa' mamamaila, ti apmam matto. Yan nigap, esta matto yan pinegle gi i mina'pos. Kao magahet este? Ahe' ti hu konfotme. Put hemplo, guaha pinagat Si Anne Perez Hattori ni' bai hu hentra agupa', impottante yan sina tahdong i sinangan-na put i palabra "mo'na." Sa' mo'na likidu na palabra, sina sumangan put i mina'pos yan i mamamaila. Todu dipende gi hafa malago hao sumangan yan humasso.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Pakyo' put decolonization

For those who don't hear or read enough about the future of Guam in political status terms, head over to the Chamorro Information Activist message board, FANAHGUE'YAN. We haven't had a thread burn up this fast since last year's scandal over Chamorros versus Filipinos.

The fire amounts to a number of us from the CIA trying to deflate the patriotism of a new member to the board, who is frighteningly and dubiously named "Guamanifornia." He is vehemently opposed to any discussions about decolonization unless it means moving closer to the United States and being more patriotic. Much like George W. Bush he tosses around words such as freedom without thinking about them or caring who is in the crosshairs about to be shredded to pieces with this dispersal of "freedom." We are all the victims of his ideas, as critiquing the United States is impossible because it means we aren't appreciating the freedom they have given us.

To top it all off, he has admonished us for living in the past, and not understanding that "history" means that it happened and its over with. Ouch, hu diseseha na ti hobensitu este na taotao. Sa' ga'na'-ku an ti apmam tetehnan i tiempo-na guini gi hilo' tano' anggen taiguihi i hinasso-na. Yan an hoben, sina mampos apmam tetehnan, lao an manamko', ti apmam i tiempo-na nai sina hu tatse i otro na Chamorro siha ni' i gof mutong' na fino' patriotik.

Here's the link to the board:

Friday, April 01, 2005


Lecture: Hinanao: Travelers and Descendents of Travelers by Karen Cruz

The presentation is based on the stories and experiences of Chamorus who lived in other Micronesian islands before World War II and then returned to Guam. The project is funded by the Guam Humanities Council.

Project director is Karen A. Cruz. 3:00 PM Friday, April 8, 2005 University of Guam Lecture Hall (Formerly CAS Lecture Hall) University of Guam


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Sovereignty Matters Conference Schedule

Sovereignty Matters Conference
Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race, Columbi a University
424 Hamilton Hall, between Broadway and Amsterdam
Manhattan, NY
Date(s): Apr 15 to Apr 16

Time(s): various
Price: GRATIS!

Phone: (212) 854-0507
Subway: 1/9 to 116th St

Q:What do a resident of a San Juan, Samoa and Cheyenne River Indian Reservation have in common?
A: they all live in a territory of the United States of America.

Native American, Pacific Islander and Puerto Rican sovereignty matters are rarely the subject of public discourse and are severely understudied in most U.S. universities. Research across groups and disciplines is also alarmingly infrequent. Sponsored by Columbia University's Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race, and the Institute for Research in African-American Studies, and organized by Columbia professor Frances Negrón-Muntaner, “Sovereignty Matters” hopes to spur debate regarding the multiple meanings and discourses of sovereignty, promote comparative work, and engage with the broader implications of nation-building in the U.S.
The conference will be held April 15-April 16, 2005, and begins at 1:00 PM, at Shermerhorn 614.
The conference reception will be held at 5:00 PM at Philosophy 310, and it will include a live performance by the Puerto Rican music group Yerbabuena led by Tato Torres.
Conference participants include scholars and artists from Hawai'i, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and First Nations in the United States and Canada.

Full Conference Program
Friday, April 15
614 Schermerhorn
1:00-1:30 PM Introduction and Welcome

1:45-3:30 PM Sovereignty Matters: Perspectives from Native American, Pacific Islander and Puerto Rican Studies
Maivân Clech Lâm, “Requiem for the Nation-State: De-linking Ethnicity and Sovereignty" (City University of New York)
Amilcar Barreto (Northeastern University)
“Burrowing from Within: Undermining National Myths and State Paradigms" Jon Osorio (University of Hawai'i)
“Conflicting interpretations of Sovereignty in Hawai'i and the Historic Roots of 'Disunity'" Adriana Garriga Lopez and Lisa Uperesa, (Columbia University)

3:30-5:15 PM “Differential Colonialisms and Multiple Sovereignties: Comparative Perspectives on Puerto Rico and American Samoa” Respondent: Gary Okihiro (Columbia University)
"The Space of Sovereignty: Land, Law and Citizenship" Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz (California State University East Bay),
"Self-Determination and Sovereignty: Native Americans at the United Nations" Davianna McGregor (University of Hawai'i)
“Recognizing Native Hawaiians: Reality Bites” Michael Lujan Bevacqua (University of California, San Diego)
“Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Guam, but Were Afraid to Ask Zizek" Charles Venator Santiago (Ithaca College)
“From the Insular Cases to Camp X-Ray: The State of Exception in the United States Jurisprudence”
Respondent: Angelia Means (Darmouth College)

5:30-8 PM - Reception
Philosophy 301
With Yerbabuena, New York-based Puerto Rican music group.

Saturday, April 16
Philosophy 301

9:30-11:15 AM
Critical Relations: Sovereignty, Identity and Nationalism Efrén Rivera Ramos (University of Puerto Rico),
“Sovereignty, Identity, and Citizenship in the Puerto Rican Context” Dan Aga, (Dean, American Samoa Community College)
“American Samoa's Political Status: Territorial Stepchild or Best of Both of Worlds?” Honorable Robert Underwood (University of Guam)
“The Convergence of the Issues of Sovereignty, Political Status and Indigenous Rights in Guam” Audra Simpson (Cornell University), “Nationalism and Its Contents: Mohawk Sovereignty and Citizenship-Formation in the Face of Empire” Respondent: Bruce Robbins (Columbia University)

11:30-1:15 AM
Imagining Sovereignties: The Role of Cultural Production Guillermo Irizarry (University of Massachusetts)
“Strategic Injuries” L. Lehuanani Lono Yim (Brandeis University)
“Legacies of Oni v. Meek: Property, Custom, and the Living Law of the Kingdom of Hawai`i” Vince Diaz (University of Michigan)
“PAVED WITH GOOD INTENTIONS...Roads, Indigenous Identity, and American Imperialism 'in' Guam" Dan Taulapapa (independent writer, filmmaker and artist)
"Culture and the Passive Resistance of Samoans to US Colonialism" Respondent, Frances Negrón-Muntaner (Columbia University)

1:15-2:15 PM Lunch

2:30-4:15 PM
Plural Sovereignties: Sexuality and Gender Tina T. Delisle (University of Michigan), “Working the Intersections of Navy Wives and Native Lives in pre-WWII Guam” Ahimsa Timoteo Bodhran (Michigan State University)
“Oiwi Gender and Sexual Shifts in the Nationalist Agenda of Haunani-Kay Trask” Andrea Smith (University of Michigan)
“Gender violence and Native Sovereignties” Arnaldo Cruz Malavé (Fordham)
“The Oxymoron of Sexual Sovereignty: Some Puerto Rican Literary Reflections” Respondent: Elizabeth Povinelli (Columbia University)

For more information, please contact the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race at 212-854-0510 or visit our web site


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