Act of Decolonization #6: Metgotña Yanggen Manhita
At the conference we passed out comment forms which the military is distributing to the public on Guam in hopes of convincing us that we have a say in the process and that our concerns will be taken seriously. In one way, we can look at this act and think that they are trying to fool us, trick us into thinking we have more power in this situation than we really do. Even if we sent a million letters to them telling them to stop this increase, they would do it anyway. There is unfortunately alot of truth to this, however, we also need to see the vulnerability and anxiety of the military in their offerings of transparency.
The movement of Marines to Guam is amongst other things, because of the both the invisibility of the island and the patriotism and willingness of the island's residents and government to accept the military presence and cater to its needs and demands. The military, by repeatedly asking for our feedback and saying we have a say, might be doing so just to fool us, but might also be doing so simply because we do have some power in this situation. We do have the power, whether through protest, pressure on politicians, legal cases, or just changing the way we relate to the United States, to stall or stop this military increase, or to actually change the plans of the military to take into account the needs, interests and demands of Guam and its people.
It is for this reason, that I urge you to follow this link to the info page the Pacific Daily News has set up, and inform yourself about the realities of the military increase and then write and send in your concerns, your frustrations, your anger and your fears. The comment sheet is provided through a link on the PDN page. It is important not to be overwhelmed or swayed by the amount of information the military is throwing at us, and the feelings of community engagement, love, devotion, mutual respect and patriotism that they are covering their public outreach with. This aura of transparency and community partnership is a facade meant to cover up the ugly realities that military build ups anywhere mean environmental damage, economic shifts which tend to stress or obliterate housing and other markets while grossly benefitting the above ground and underground sex economies. The military is reaching out to us, hoping to win us over with these benevolent gestures of appearing to care about what we think, what we are worried about. This outreach amounts to alot of colorful papers graphs, powerpoints, factsheets and promises of BILLIONS of dollars in spending, all of which are meant to either dazzle us, make us kneel, and most importantly keep us from making any demands or asking any questions. When you fill out these forms, please be mindful to mention all the things the military intentionally leaves outside of their impact studies and scopes, which they nonetheless know will be heavily and most likely negatively impacted. Think about impacts on housing/rental prices, local businesses having to compete with new carpetbaggering businesses which are sprouting up all over, impact on schools, on roads, noise and environmental pollution, etc. There are so many things...and all I seem to hear from people is that BILLIONS of dollars are coming our way.