Saturday, March 03, 2007

I'm Not Ready to Make Nice

There has been a small spike in the amount of hate mail that I get in the past two weeks, and its one of the things thats been slowing me down.

There's actually plenty of things slowing me down lately, but I'm slowly trying to get them organized and together. I'm trying to prepare to support my new baby for the fall. I'm working on getting my prospectus done by the end of the school year. I'm preparing for the 2nd Famoksaiyan conference which is scheduled for April 20-22. I'm also preparing for the conference Crossing Borders 2007: Ghosts, Monsters and The Dead which my department is hosting this weekend, where I'm also presenting a paper.

Hate mail, makes a hectic and crazy schedule even crazier. It sucks energy into the writing of nasty and hurried responses which sometimes make you flush with power and pride at the way you vanquished your nemesis' stupid points, but also makes you wrecked with anticipation for their response.

I have been getting hate mail for years, from different points. The first forms came in 2003 from my posts on the Chamorro.com message board. The spats on that board now take an eerily contradictory quality in my memories. While they seem almost childish in comparision to the sometimes very angry emails I get now, they also sometimes appear almost genuis-like compared to the very stupid emails I get now. In an interesting twist, Chamorro.com is one of the websites I'm now in charge of.

From 2003-2004, I started a number of websites, and this only increased drastically the number of points from which I would then receive hate mail. First in 2003 I started the website Kopbla Amerika and the collective the Chamorro Information Activists, which collected together a number of different writings from myself and others about many of the issues I deal with here on this blog, colonization, silences about contemporary colonization. I haven't updated this website in almost three years, yet every couple of weeks I receive an angry email from some idiot who wandered onto the website. I'll be posting about one such stupid email in a few days.

Then I started the zine Minagahet, which thankfully unlike Kopbla Amerika, is still going relatively strong. For those of you who don't know, this zine is dedicated to a number of things, primarily among them is Guam's decolonization. I'm in volume 5 right now, issue 30 in all, and the next version will be coming out this week. I'm just waiting for the final draft of the Call for Presentations for the Mina'dos Dinana Famoksaiyan to be approved.

After I started this zine, I was appalled to receive just as many angry, annoyed and over-critical emails, as I did emails of support. Often times the annoying emails would be from people who should have supported the zine, but decided that it was more important to nickpick at issues such as language. I have often complained about the differences between big and small languages. Big languages are ones which those who speak them, (regardless of how "big" the language actually is) feel that everyone should know or speak them. Small languages are those languages which those who speak them, become obsessed with not whether or not they are being spoken or used, but their miniscule, often times stupid details. You can see clearly the difference between these languages in the way they are taught. If you've ever taken a Chamorro language class, whether in high school, middle school, elementary or college, it is vastly different than taking courses for "big" languages. The teaching of big languages often feels like boot camp, and you are expected to take the learning of the language seriously, and often times you crammed with information You are to be overwhelmed with the language, since it is much much larger than you. The teaching of small languages, is far less serious, more laid back, you are often times not even taught how to make sentences or how to speak the language, but instead inundated with vocabulary lists, or speeches about how old, deep or profound the language is, without ever being seriously taught it! The language is perceived to be so small, that its almost as if you treat it as something to be protected/preserved from being destroyed by not treating it like a real language!

Over the years, one of my biggest frustrations has been from people who treat Chamorro as a small language, and become obsessed with correcting things which aren't incorrect, but almost as if a stupid game to play to keep one from actually saving the language. From Minagahet to this blog, I receive the most frustrating emails from Chamorros who say I am using a term incorrectly, or say that it is wrong to use a term simply because they haven't heard it before, or haven't heard it used that way before. It becomes very tiresome after a while, because these are people who speak the language, but whose kids do not speak the language, or are not actively teaching the language in ways which is keeping it alive, but insist on putting hours and hours or energy and time into writing stupid emails to me. And me, knowing full well that my Chamorro is not very good, actually entertain so many of these people. But so many times, what people write me has nothing to do with whether or not my Chamorro is incorrect, but with them trying to inflate their own egos, to prove that they speak the language really really good, and so just by proving that they have that superior knowledge, they can by default claim and feel that they are doing their part in saving and revitalizing Chamorro.

In the early years of Minagahet, I started a mail bag in which I responded to some of the angry or critical emails I was receiving, but after it the emails got more and more diverse, more annoying, more frustrating I had to stop it. The hate mail still bothers me, sometimes it can be extremely personal, and other times even if it has nothing to do with me personally, it can end up consuming my mind for several hours or ruining my day.

Since starting this blog No Rest for the Awake - Minagahet Chamorro in 2004, I've gotten more and more right wing, patriotic military hate mail, from Chamorros and non-Chamorros, and that has surprisingly been easier to deal with than that which is obsessed with proving that I speak bad Chamorro or people obsessed with proving to me that they speak fantastic Chamorro. The fortunate thing for me is that those who want to contest my points on this blog about Guam the history of the United States and Guam would need to know alot about Guam history, and certainly more than I do. Chances are, unless they've set aside alot of time to read about Guam, Chamorros, their history, their contemporary existence, then all the flag-waving, GovGuam sucks rhetoric doesn't mean very much.

So over the years, I've found different ways of mitigating the damage these emails have on me. One of them has been finding songs which I can listen to while I write, to remind me of the importance of the things that I do, and how there are so many people out there who are invested in different ways in keeping things the same. Whether it be American superiority and exportation of violence, the continued colonization of Guam, the egotistical stubborness of those who would rather feel special that they speak a language well and watch it die, than keep it alive and fluid, each of these positions represent those who want us to back down, to shut up, to simply play nice. To be good colonial subjects, to wave away our rights with their flags, to hurry up and die like the rest of the indigenous people of the world.

One song which has been helping me lately, deal with those who want the status quo, who want to maintain the structures of violence, inequality, colonization, is the song "I'm Not Ready to Play Nice" by the Dixie Chicks. I'm posting below a Youtube video of their Grammy performance a few weeks ago, as well as the lyrics. Si Yu'us Ma'ase, para i minesngon-miyu, ya ti en tinok pappa', ti en na'famatkilun maisa. Bai hu dalalak i hemplon-miyu, bai hu sigi ha' mumu, bai hu sigi' ha' mo'na.

Dixie Chicks, "Not Ready to Make Nice,"



Forgive, sounds good.
Forget, I'm not sure I could.
They say time heals everything,
But I'm still waiting

I'm through, with doubt,
There's nothing left for me to figure out,
I've paid a price, and i'll keep paying

I'm not ready to make nice,
I'm not ready to back down,
I'm still mad as hell
And I don't have time
To go round and round and round
It's too late to make it right
I probably wouldn't if I could
Cause I'm mad as hell
Can't bring myself to do what it is
You think I should

I know you said
Why can't you just get over it,
It turned my whole world around
and i kind of like it

I made by bed, and I sleep like a baby,
With no regrets and I don't mind saying,
It's a sad sad story
That a mother will teach her daughter
that she ought to hate a perfect stranger.
And how in the world
Can the words that I said
Send somebody so over the edge
That they'd write me a letter
Saying that I better shut up and sing
Or my life will be over

I'm not ready to make nice,
I'm not ready to back down,
I'm still mad as hell
And I don't have time
To go round and round and round
It's too late to make it right
I probably wouldn't if I could
Cause I'm mad as hell
Can't bring myself to do what it is
You think I should

I'm not ready to make nice,
I'm not ready to back down,
I'm still mad as hell
And I don't have time
To go round and round and round
It's too late to make it right
I probably wouldn't if I could
Cause I'm mad as hell
Can't bring myself to do what it is
You think I should

Forgive, sounds good.
Forget, I'm not sure I could.
They say time heals everything,
But I'm still waiting

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hafa Adai Miguet,

Don't let frustration consume you and hinder what Si Yu'us is calling you and all of us to do. Maga'lahi Anghet said it best that: We have to be patient with our Chamorro brothers and sisters because a hundred years of indoctrination is a very long time. I've also posted before what the Wailer's have stated in their song called Exodus on the Exodus album: "Men and people will fight you down when you see Jah Light." I don't think there's any simpler way to say it than through these 2 statements. But let me also suggest you read the lyrics and listen to the following song (Hawai'i 78 from the album Facing Future)from our Polynesian brother, Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, which speaks directly to the Hawaiian Nation but crosses over to all colonized Pacific people and people all over the world. In my opinion, his voice is the sweetness to all rebel music that opens the mind, shines the light, and touches the heart and soul. I would suggest you find an MP3 file online or just buy the album which is a great one to own. Take care, stay Metgot, and "Don't become the Roots, Be the Roots."

Esta!

VM



Israel Kamakawiwo`ole - Hawai`i `78
(written by: Composer: Mickey Ioane)

Buy this album!
Buy Israel Kamakawiwo`ole Posters!
Free Israel Kamakawiwo`ole Music Download!
Download "Hawai`i `78" now!

Download FREE Israel Kamakawiwo`ole ringtones!

From the album "Facing Future"

Ua mau ke ea o ka `âina i ka pono `o Hawai'i
Being perpetuated (is) the sovereignty of the land to righteousness/ to balance, Hawai`i
Ua mau ke ea o ka `âina i ka pono `o Hawai'i


If just for a day our king and queen
Would visit all these islands and saw everything
How would they feel about the changes of our land
Could you just imagine if they were around
And saw highways on their sacred grounds
How would they feel about this modern city life?


Tears would come from each other's eyes
As they would stop to realize
That our people are in great, great danger now
How would they feel?
Would their smiles be content, then cry

Chorus:
Cry for the gods, cry for the people
Cry for the land that was taken away
And then yet you'll find, Hawai'i.


Could you just imagine they came back
And saw traffic lights and railroad tracks
How would they feel about this modern city life
Tears would come from each other's eyes
As they would stop to realize
That our land is in great, great danger now.


All the fighting that the King has done
To conquer all these islands, now these condominiums
How would he feel if he saw Hawai'i nei?
How would he feel? Would his smile be content, then cry?

(E hana hou i ka hui)
(Repeat chorus)


Ua mau ke ea o ka `âina i ka pono `o Hawai'i
Ua mau ke ea o ka `âina i ka pono `o Hawai'i.

Anonymous said...

I have one more thing to say to all my Chamoru brothers and sisters in regards to being so critical about the use of language, especially by those of us who are trying to learn and preserve the language that Si Yu'us has given to us to express ourselves and to communicate this tremendous, amazing, and wonderful existence called Life. I used to be so irritated about the integration of so many Spanish words into our language but after thinking about it, what am I really getting upset about??? Culture which has to do a lot with language is not a static, dead "thing" of the past! Language evolves as does nature which we are a part of and not separate which a lot of people in this world believe we are. The meaning of life is evolution and adaptation. If our Ancestors never evolved and adapted their ways and learned to build the Sakman and navigate with the stars, they would have been stuck in Asia and would have never been given the opportunity to discover the Chamoru Islands which Si Yu'us gave to us if only we made the effort to reach out to them. And just imagine if our Ancestors didn't value Ina'famaolek. They would have never survived the treacherous journey and the culture would not have survived all these 4000 years despite disease, typhoons (That's right! surviving typhoons without rebar enforced concrete homes, even money, and no aircon) and WAR! Now to all who want to waste time arguing and fighting with the fact that our language has evolved to an extent, please understand and feel that our language is the way it is now because that is what it took for our ancestors to survive despite Spanish, American, Japanese and American tyranny. Our Culture is like the tree that sprouts many new branches and leaves that eventually die away only to be reborn a new but always survives by being the roots which in our case is Ina'famaolek. Yes, the Roots of all Chamorus is Ina'famaolek which is our expression of what Si Yu'us asks of us...And did you ever stop and notice that Si Yu'us doesn't force us to follow, unlike our so called "liberators." We are given the choice...and that choice if you look back to our ancestors and talk and be with any of the Manamko still alive is and should always be Ina'famaolek. If we truly call ourselves Chamoru, then why are we fighting each other and threatening each other when that is not our ways of Ina'famaolek. We disgrace our ancestors everytime we fight each other and refuse to accept and understand the arbitrary things such as the "correctness" of the Chamoru language when again that's what our Women/Mothers had to do to survive when all of our Chamoru Father's died. Are we so Tai Mamahlao and disrespectful to quickly dismiss the courage, strength, blood, sweat and tears that they have spent so that we as present day Chamorus can live!!! Let us all abandon the wickedness of Babylon and use our strength and voices to give thanks and praise to Si Yu'us as our ancestors have done all this time by living, not speaking or thinking it, but by actually living ina'famoalek which is respect for each other, the land and ocean, and helping all...Through this, only then can we truly be and call ourselves Chamoru.

Si Yu'us Ma'as'e

Sahuma Minagahet said...

Si Yu'us Ma'ase che'lu, hu gof agradesi i fino'-mu. Ha na'tutungo' yu' na ti guahu ha' na maisa gi este na hinanao.

Anonymous said...

It's better to be hated than to be a hater. Also, your tinigi is stirring up controversy, but hey, if this shit is bringing you down, then why the fuck do you even write?

Sahuma Minagahet said...

To the last comment, I said in my post why I write, and if we only did things which didn't cause us any pain or discomfort, then we wouldn't do very much, and this world wouldn't amount to much either. Actually, I'm not sure how to respond to your comment (what the fuck are you trying to say when you ask me "then why the fuck even write?"), basically the fact that I hate the way some people email me about my writing isn't reason enough to stop fucking writing.

Pikaru 2 da max said...

Dankolo na si yu'us ma'ase "VM" yan Miget para i hinasson-miyu put i linguahi, i kostumbren CHamorru, yan i guinaiyan-miyu para i tano-ta. Hu gof konfotme yan si "VM" pot i "ina'famaolek" na finayi ya hunggan necessito mas na taotao para un dalalaki enao na tiningo'. Oh...Miget, bei hu sagani hao este: Achokka ti hu ya-hu hao, mungga pumara tinigi, sa gof takhilo' i tiningo'-mu.

Anonymous said...

Well you sure do bitch a lot about your points being attacked. You're problem is that you think that you have "superior" knowledge of Guam's history and politics, but you just can't take it that people disagree with you. I think this is more of an insecurity issue.

Sahuma Minagahet said...

What is with people just breezing through and making dumbass comments? If you are going to say something serious, then please don't be anonymous, own up to your remarks. If you believe that what you say has any validity then please sign in or name yourself so there is someway that I can respond to you. If not, at least please refrain from making moronic assertions, and feel that because you are anonymous and just passing through that you don't have to back them up in anyway. I don't tend to think of my knowledge as "superior" but if you would like to say its bad or wrong, then please tell me in someway how this is so. If you don't want to or can't, then please go bother someone else!

stevesadlov said...

If Guam became independent, within one year it would end up as a de facto colony of Communist Red China. Better to become a state.

Political Whore said...

that's why independence can't be given on a "silver platter." There has to be a plan, an agenda of some sort that would help further the independence process. I think what's more important are the acts done to attain gradual independence. However, I also think that before even claming independence, what form of legitimacy will be use to govern Guam? Also, is there a need to create a sense of "nationalism" to promote independence and the creation of a state? And what if Guam gets instant independence, would it result to the political crisis like in the Solomon Islands and Fiji? or would it be stable? The likelyhood of Guam becoming a "de facto colony of Communist Red China" is slim to none, because we're so dammn patriotic to Uncle Sam.

Anonymous said...

You are not a Guamianian. Your a Californian. I'm a Filipino-American born, raised, and currently living on Guam. I have this to say to Chamorro Racist Supremists like you: STAY OUT OF GUAM'S AFFAIRS! YOU ARE NOT A GUAMIANIAN. In the very near future the Filipinos of Guam will out number the Chamorros of Guam. And as such, we will run the show. You best stay out of Guam's affairs and stay to your California affairs. After all, your a Californian, not a Guamianian.

Filipino-American Guamianian Activist living in Guam

Anonymous said...

You are not a Guamianian. Your a Californian. I'm a Filipino-American born, raised, and currently living on Guam. I have this to say to Chamorro Racist Supremists like you: STAY OUT OF GUAM'S AFFAIRS!! YOU ARE NOT A GUAMIANIAN!! In the very near future the Filipinos of Guam will out number the Chamorros of Guam. And as such, we will run the show. You best stay out of Guam's affairs and stay to your California affairs. After all, your a Californian, not a Guamianian.

Filipino-American Guamianian Activist living in Guam

Sahuma Minagahet said...

To the poster of the last ignorant and very racist comment, I hope you'll be visiting my blog again soon. I intend to provide a well thought out and highly critical response, as opposed to your random rant.

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