Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Nasion Chamoru

Writing about colonization in action can be a hysterical albeit terrifying experience. It reminds me of a Dilbert comic, where the pointy haired boss tells a worker that the collar he is putting on him comes with an electric shock which will buzz him if he leaves the area of his "office" or a circle drawn on the carpet. Later in the week the worker is still there and we learn that he has been taught to beg for food.

Seeing colonization in action is paying attention to those invisible walls. It is the experience of bumping into something you know does not exist. Finding the end limit of the person who is resigned to sit on the floor, trapped by something which may or may not trap them. It is being forced to confront something that this person takes as so incredibly concrete and real that whether it exists or not, whether it has effects or not, it will contain and confine that person within that designated zone.

Case in point, a recent exchange on one of the horrifying coconut Chamorro message boards out (my board on the other hand is heavy on niyok light on po'asu, Si Yu'us Ma'ase!). One thing you can never expect on these sorts of message boards are intelligent conversations or debate. People all assume the same limit points in their discussion, thus all conversation is merely rearticulations of their given limits, for example:

Taotao Unu: The military is good! (the rationalist perspective)

Taotao Dos: The military is great! (the patriotic perspective)

Taotao Tres: Both of your are wrong, the military is gof maolek! (the indigneous, Chamorro-American perspective)

Something which might appear to somehow displace or irritate this would never appear. And if it did, people probably wouldn't be able to respond to it, and probably just go into so shock and awe coma until the could receive an emergency dose of Fox News.

Back to the exchange, it had to do with I Nasion Chamoru and their recent round of protests on island. Apart from the expected and tiresome cliches about anti-americanism and radicalism, one poster said that while he understood the purpose of the I Nasion, they are pretty much useless because all they do is make noise, cause problems and then provide no solutions. And speaking with all the pragmatism and sage-like glory of an pathetically weakminded editorial writer he proclaimed that noise is the last thing we need now.

Obviously these people don't do much research on these things before they decide to yank a line of text out of their asses. If they did, they might recall several articles over the past three years in both the PDN and the Marianas Variety which outlined recommendations by I Nasion Chamoru and The Colonized Chamoru Coalition for economic and social improvement outside of bowing down before the military. Or perhaps they failed to receive the numerous press releases the Nasion and other groups circulate in Guam which offer alternatives to government policies ranging from the administration of GMH to the privatization of Guam's water.

But this type of intervention would be meaningless for most, because the point of that statement that they provide no solutions, is that it doesn't expect any solutions and will be in reality, impervious to any such evidence. Why? Here's where we see colonization in action, where the end limit, those invisible walls, become firmly and rigidly concrete. Trapping the speaker within them, but also preventing us from just ignoring them or going around them. The statement is made as such with the presupposition that because of what I Nasion Chamoru is and what it stands for, and the way it is publicly perceived, no matter what is recommends it will always be just noise. Even if it published a book, "how to fix Guam's economy in 12 easy steps" which sold a billion copies, unless that book paid the necessary homage to the pathological and infinite indebtedness to the United States and recognized and appreciated the endless dependency of Guam on the US (for the economic, historical, social, military, you name it, it belongs in these parentheses) it would be dismissed as noise. The way diverse, supposedly undifferentiaed speech gains the marker of rationality or being "not noise" is by being filtered through and being marked as compatible with a number of very basic and fundamental ideas on Guam. Much like in the Untied States, entrance into the intelligability of the mainstream depends upon for example, an agreement that although we may disagree on certain issues, the troops always have our support. This exists in Guam, but more specifically we find that entrance of voice to the mainstream depends upon admitting to and accepting the basic dependency of Guam on the US military and Federal Government. Any suggestions or voices which try to avoid this, counter it or work through it or around it, are dismissed as "noise."

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