Sunday, August 27, 2006

Simple Act of Decolonization #1

When I first began writing my most recent master's thesis, I toyed around with using the term "act of decolonization." I was at that point reading way too much Zizek and was engrossed in his conception of authentic political act or the Act. Although I didn't end up running with the notion of "act of decolonization" because it became too cumbersome to define and demarcate what exactly it meant, but you can still find traces of it in the way I discuss how to break the decolonial deadlock in my last chapter.

Throughout the writing of this thesis, people often asked me the obvious question which I can answer anecdotally, conversationally and everyday prescriptively, but not theoretically in any systemic way and that is "why is an act of decolonization." What I mean by this is that in writing out my ideas about decolonization in an academic text, it was too too easy to second guess myself and perform my own unproductively self-deconstruction page after page. But if someone asked me what decolonization was, I had no problem coming up with an instance when it has happened, movements that are doing it, or other things which I would consider either making the space for it, or better yet, it itself.

What I've decided to do with all these half ideas and barely baked schemes is to post them on this blog as "simple acts of decolonization," or simple ways that you can engage in this important process.

You are free to criticize them, pick and chose from them, ignore them, or better yet do them and alter them in such a way that they go beyond what I could even imagine.

Simple Act of Decolonization #1:

The period between the end of the Spanish Chamorro Wars and the American take over of Guam (1698 - 1898) is often thought of as being a boring barely historically important time in Guam, save for the facts that this is when Filipinos marry Chamorro women and when Chamoros start adopting Spanish ways, providing more evidence as to their extinction. Such is hardly true in the case of Jose de Salas, a Chamorro soldier and Chamorro patriot serving in the Spanish Army on Guam, who in 1884 just happened to kill a Spanish Governor.

According to Spanish documents, the killing of the current Spanish Governor was only the beginning, a revolution on Guam was the intention of Salas and others he was working. After the Governor was dead, the rest would begin the slaughter and expulsion of the remaining Spanish on the island. The rest of the plan however, never took place and Salas and several others were executed on the beach in Hagatna.

This act of Chamorro nationalism is naturally largely forgotten today, this type of radicalism almost completely removed from Chamorro representations and Chamorro perceptions of themselves. In fact, most that I speak to about this, don't believe that it could have happened. The people who Malafunkshun portrays, getting off their food stamp fed daggans and doing something like this? No way!

The names of those executed in 1884 for this act of attempted decolonization are, Jose de Salas, Manuel Mendiola, Vicente Acosta and Manuel Aguon. Your simple at of decolonization for today is to go to MARC, your elder relatives or any genealogy notes for your family and find out if and how you are related to any of these men.

Only one note of advice for this, and that's that your reward, the decolonization is not in the goal (finding the link parientes) but in the process and the historical journey in getting their, what you do to find or miss that goal.

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