Saturday, January 20, 2007

Everyday Decolonization Education

Read the letter to the editor from the January 16th Marianas Variety that I'm pasting below with caution it is an example of the racist rhetoric that prevents any and all forms of decolonization on Guam from taking place, as well as ensuring that all of us on Guam continue to accept and celebrate America's superiority.

It is because of letters like this and the logics it represents that there must be more education in everyday conversations which can break this commonsense about decolonization, since this conception of it, as being a time traveling trip into the past, is not just the belief of haoles such as Dave Davis, but rather the majority of Chamorros as well. Chamorros that I have interviewed in my research on decolonization have thought that decolonization would mean, running the island naked with barbeque tongs.

Decolonization in all of its diverse forms is not simply about the past, but about the future. It is about dealing with the political sins of the past and rectifying them, not ignoring or forgetting the injustices of the past, but rather creating a process to confront them and act in awareness of them in the name of the future of our island and our people. It is a process of making that future our own, rather than accepting an existence where others who are "whiter" and "more modern" control it for us. For both Chamorros and non-Chamorros we must make this point very very clear.

Feel free to respond to Dave Davis' letter to the editor with some of your own, and please continue to do the important work of breaking decolonization down to people in your circles in your families, in everyday, daily ways, bringing the process closer to our lives and our worlds.


A ‘free and sovereign’ NMI?

WE note that Mr. Jose U. Garrido (a.k.a. Joe Garrido, chairman of Guam’s Decolonization Commission’s free association task force) is again clamoring to part company with the United States of America — espousing Chamorro sovereignty, as it were.

As with dogs that chase cars — if he somehow managed to catch it, what would he do with it? Revert, perhaps, to the raw fish and grass hut societal mode? That’s what the Spaniards found in Guam 500 years ago: a Stone Age society distinguished mostly by several thousand years of no significant change or progress.

In other words, a stagnant and unremarkable Neolithic culture, indistinguishable in most respects from the multitude of similar tribes throughout the Pacific and other tropical climes.It seems that most modern Chamorros aspire to something quite different: government jobs, flush toilets, SUVs and nice housing.

Dream on, Mr. Garrido. You may have difficulty convincing your Chamorro brethren to forfeit their expectations of those amenities, along with American citizenship for succeeding generations. As for your notion that changes to the CNMI Covenant would provide the opportunity for residents there to become “free and sovereign”: it would be interesting to learn just how many would embrace that option. Perhaps we’ll have the chance to find out.

By the way — how’s progress on the Guam “Chamorro Only” political status plebiscite?

Yigo, Guam

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