Thursday, July 27, 2006

Ten Things to Think About This July


1. War Reparations…
The US signed a treaty with Japan forbidding anyone whether in the US or in Guam from seeking reparations from Japan for their conduct during World War II. A recent report revealed that Chamorros have not been justly compensated for their suffering in World War II. Will our people ever receive real recognition or compensation for being caught in a war which was not of their own making?

2. The United States abandoned Guam in 1941 to the Japanese:
Chamorros were not notified that war was pending, in fact the Navy denied to many Chamorros that anything was wrong, or that anything would happen at all. Chamorros were not prepared, were not warned, and were not aided in any way, and thus sacrificed by the United States.

3. The United States refused to evacuate any Chamorros from Guam in 1941.
Several months before the Japanese invasion in December 1941, the US Military evacuated all their dependents from the island. Wives and children of Chamorro servicemen were not allowed to be evacuated. Former Senator Adrian Sanchez, who had enlisted in the Navy, tried to get them to take his wife, children and parents. He was told that only white dependents were being evacuated.

4. The United States liberated Saipan first.
The US liberated Saipan first, and in response to the terrible fighting there, the Japanese stationed on Guam went berserk at the next American invasion. The majority of brutal Chamorro deaths took place in the period between the invasion of Saipan and the invasion of Guam. Had the US been interested in protect its “loyal Chamorros,” then they would have invaded Guam first. Had they done so, men such as Pale’ Jesus Baza Duenas and women such Harriet Chance Torres, along with hundreds of others might still be with us today.

5. The US bombed Guam for 17 days straight before invading.
After days of harsh ground battles in Saipan, the US decided to “soften” Guam before invading. The softening of Guam amounted to seventeen days of bombing from both sea and air. Most of Hagatña and most concrete structures on the island were flattened. Unknown numbers of Chamorros were killed during this indiscriminate bombing campaign.

6. The Japanese saved hundreds, perhaps thousands of Chamorros at Manengon.
Who knows why the Japanese forced marched thousands of Chamorros into concentration camps at Manengon Valley, but by doing so they may have actually saved many lives. By clearing out the majority of Chamorros from Hagatña and other villages, they saved them from dying in the US bombing.

7. The United States Military took, bought and stole more than 2/3 of the island after the war.
Following the war, more than 2/3 of the island was taken for “defense purposes.” Defense purposes is in quotes because while some land was taken to create airstrips and bases, many Chamorro lives were destroyed to make tennis courts, swimming areas, and also to get the fruits on the property.

8. One Navy play was to make “native reservations” for Chamorros.
According to maps in the Micronesian Area Research Center, one plan developed by the Navy was to secure the entire island, and then create “reservations” for the Chamorros to live on.

9. Many Chamorros did not want to be US citizens after 1950.
Despite all the patriotic propaganda that we are fed year after year, many Chamorros did not want to become citizens in 1950. Many didn’t trust the US after it had so carelessly abandoned them in 1941. Others felt betrayed by the destruction of Hagatña and the theft of so many Chamorro lands. Some were angry that the US would create a government for them, give them citizenship, without consulting the majority of Chamorros.

Wave the flag as high as you want, it doesn’t change this simple fact.

1 comment:

MICHELLE said...

Wow, this was an eye opener. Thank you. I don't think we should be so trusting, either (although it was possible that Japan's Imperial Army conducted the march to eventually kill civilians yet had their plan thwarted; it was serendipitous that these lives had been saved).

I'm a bit wary of the 17,000-people transfer of Marines and dependents. The media shouldn't focus so much on the commercial aspect of things but of all the ramifications that such a move would bring.


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