From the May 12, 2006 Marianas Variety http://www.mvariety.com
Our Silence Will Not Protect Us
The deal recently struck between the governments of the United States and Japan allowing for the transfer of 8,000 marines and their dependents should scare us into action, not silence.
The people of Guam are right to be outraged at how people in power, our own included, are having a conversation about us, but not with us. This alarming move will affect the entire landscape of our future and our children's future yet we are expected to keep quiet about it.
When we will realize that keeping quiet is killing us? Why are some of us so quick to welcome the same troops being kicked out of Japan, a country so desperate to get these guys out that they have agreed to pay what they know is too much? Why do we want the same marines who terrorized the citizens of Okinawa with rape, alcoholism, noise and violence?
Local leaders unable or unwilling to see that this move will cause our island great social, cultural, and ecological damage, raising societal violence to likely devastating heights, keep saying this transfer is good for Guam. They say it is the answer to our economic prayers. In fact, it appears 'money' is the only thing that has made it to our conversation table. Though there are whole worlds of social issues outside the realm of economics, it seems people in power are banking on our inability to see this.
What is it going to take for us as a community to find our feet and stand against this worrisome military buildup? Is it going to take the raping of our women, which is not only a possibility but a near guarantee? It would be foolish to think that the rape, alcoholism, and violence that brought ruin to Okinawa will not bring the same to us.
Beyond the rape of our women and the proven inherent violence of militarism, we should be worried about something else looming in the not-too-distant distance: China . Regional, national, and international media suggests that China already has one eyebrow raised at Guam; China understands what this transfer means. It seems it is only us who do not yet understand the truth: Guam is the sacrificial lamb in US military realignment schemes. Intelligence already suggests that Guam will be the first site of Chinese attack, which itself is becoming more and more real because of US aggressive posturing toward Asia. To know this, we need only read the national articles in The Washington Times or USA Today, the stack of articles in the various Japanese newspapers or the recent publication of the National Defense Research Institute, prepared for the Office of the Secretary of Defense. In fact, our strategic location is only strategic to the US, a nation that needs us more than its leaders want us to know.
And what about the other war that this re-occupation will cause - the war on the environments of both Guam and the CNMI? The same government that has yet to clean up its lethal contamination of our land and water during and after the last world war is set to bring still more weapons of mass destruction and toxins to Guam again. The same military we are welcoming is the same military that used our fellow Micronesians as human guinea pigs in its horrific nuclear experiments from which all of us in Micronesia are still suffering in the form of sky-high rates of all kinds of cancer. Are we not tired of burying our dead? We cannot be naïve enough to believe our extraordinarily high cancer rates are not connected to US nuclear experiments in our region. Nor can we be naïve enough to think the same government will not continue to use our Mariana Islands as the site of more such 'experiments.' Indeed, in our quest for economic stimulus, we are welcoming more crimes against humanity.
This transfer is being sold to us as good, even necessary. Military buildup is being framed in a way that suggests we have real choices here. But people without real means to right their colonial condition know that this tale is a tall one. We know our survival will ultimately depend on whether or not we are able to see the truth: we do not have to buy what they are selling.
The deal recently struck between the governments of the United States and Japan allowing for the transfer of 8,000 marines and their dependent should scare us into action, not silence. After all, our silence will not protect us.
-Julian Aguon is an author and a resident of Tamuning