Friday, March 24, 2006

Pinagat I Nasion Chamoru

Kuantos biahi debi di bai sangan hao na gof mangge este na boi, Si Julian? Pues, estague un biahi ta'lo. Gof malate' yan gof mangge.

I Nasion Chamoru ~ The Chamoru Nation

"State of the Nation"
By Julian Aguon

The noise of the militarism around us makes it hard to hear. But there are thoseamong us working desperately hard to quiet it down, at least long enough to callour people from the coffins of our apathy.

I Nasion Chamoru (hereafter, I Nasion) is on the move again, moving among old wounds, but at the intersections of new dangers, such as an administration whose push to privatize too much of our infrastructure is threatening the integrity of our already burdened home, an administration whose negligence is made more dangerous by an alarming alliance between a corporate-controlled media and an out-for-profit-at-who-knows-what-cost business community called the Chamber of Commerce. The nation worked with bent back all last year trying to stop the mass privatization campaign waged from this top-down privatization team.

From the sale of GTA to the problematic and not-as-successful-as-we've-been-told private management contract, or PMC, used on GPA to the manic push to privatize our more vital water resource (GWA) under an incompetent concession model of water privatization, I Nasion worked tirelessly to raise awareness in our community about the short-sightedness of privatization. But I Nasion moved against privatization aware of a larger danger looming on a partner horizon; the push for a military buildup of our island. In other words, I Nasion figured out something many of us have yet to: privatization is only the tramp of this tale, not the lady; militarization is our crowned queen.

Recognizing that the mass military buildup currently being negotiated between US federal agencies and the Japanese government will further violate the rights ofthe native Chamoru of Guam under international law, I Nasion is in communication with the United Nations on these matters. Debbie Quinata, Maga'haga of I Nasion, says that though insulted and mocked by people in positions of power, local activists understand something quite simple: that the huge influx of US military personnel to our already strained society is like bringing danger to our doorsteps, a fact that sits on top of a tragic reality: that we are in our houses, asleep.

We are being told, says Quinata, that militarization is the solution to our troubled economy. Like most lies, this one has not only misled us but has maimed us.

Our leaders are misleading our people, she says, with lies like this. What we need to decide, she says, is what we want; either we want a band-aid,which is what a military buildup in Guam will be, or we want genuine, sustainable development. The thing about trickle-down economic theory, as Quinata well understands, is that little actually trickles down.

The marines coming will require the building of more residential areas and wil lhave unfair advantages over us like the housing subsidies they get when they live overseas, which raise rental prices for everyone, she says. And who is going to build them? Outside contractors, like always, and those that will get the jobs will be imported labor, who again require more housing, she says.

The relocation of these 6,000(+) US marines, their families, and the imported workforce which may likely result, will only further dispossess a dispossessed people, says Quinata.

And the Chamoru have been dispossessed enough.

The real war on terror is the war being waged on our people, says Quinata. To be more specific, she says, "what is going on to the families in Tiyan is abuse. It is terrorism.Our people are being pushed to their limits, she says with a rage only equaled by compassion.

After Guam was declared the next home to these marines - who we know from our Okinawan neighbors polluted their previous home with rape and noise and violence- the US demanded $6B from Japan to shoulder the cost of this mass relocation. But it seems the question of how much of this money is going to be used to upgrade our local infrastructure to accommodate for this huge, instant, and volatile upset to our homeland has yet to be asked.

For I Nasion, says Quinata, it is hard to hear federal talk of $6B when we here have just been forced to borrow $200M from the bond market to pay for the upgrades needed to bring our water agency, GWA, into compliance with a federal stipulated order, which itself is vulgar in moral terms. The stipulated order, a result from a lawsuit filed against our government and GWA by the USEPA for violating federal standards, should never have been signed. If anything, holds I Nasion, there should have been a countersuit against the USEPA alongside other federal agencies whose actions include ones both dubious and colonialist.

For instance, says Quinata, I Nasion has recently returned from testifying before the United Nations about the contents of The Guam Secret Study, which proved how US federal agencies, led by the Department of Interior, purposefully and illegally killed a presidential directive handed down by President Ford in the 1970s to negotiate a political status with the people of Guam that was noless favorable than that which was being negotiated between the US and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands at that time.

The US was charged by the international community a half century ago with the responsibility of forwarding the process of self-determination among the native Chamoru of Guam, says I Nasion.

With regard to the unjust expectation of Guam to bend to accommodate the military increase and to shoulder the cost of upgrading and readying our infrastructure and resources for these troops, the over $200M needed to totally upgrade GWA is a drop in the bucket for the federal government. To date, the bucket still wants for the drop.

I Nasion holds that it is ridiculous that we were sued for violating federal USEPA standards, especially given the fact that the US has yet to clean up our water and land that it has been contaminating for the past fifty years. It holds further that that mass privatization agenda, the most important of them being the privatization of GWA which is being forwarded for the sake of the larger militaristic agenda, aims to push Chamoru self determination forever out of reach.

I Nasion is on the move again, moving among old wounds, but with a new word on the lip of its intention: solidarity.

Last month we welcomed peace and justice activists from South Korea, who came toGuam to nonviolently protest the secret meetings between Korean officials and the US federal government being held here. Coincidentally, these meetings were held within the same two-week period as the meetings between the US and the delegates from Okinawa about US military relocation.

In beautiful solidarity, our Korean neighbors stood with us, standing against the winds of apathy which blow too strong here at home. They joined I Nasion in a series of public protests against the perils of militarization, which is still being dangled in front of us like candy before children.

The candy, we realize, is not as sweet as they say. And for the sake of survival, we have abandoned our youth.

At the morn of 2006, one thing is clear: our apathy is burying us alive.

Chamoru People: Renounce your coffins. Your nation is calling you.

Copyright 2005 I Nasion Chamoru.

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