Thursday, May 31, 2007

Hineksa' Giya I Tasin Pasifik

I should be working on my qualifying questions, but since this is related to what I'm writing about now, I figured I could take a break to post it.

One of my questions is about the potentially productive relationship between "cultural studies" and "pacific studies" to form a super hybrid critical creature called "native pacific cultural studies." The point which I will be making about how these two disciplines can learn from each other is through a recognition of the crucial particularities and specificities of "the Pacific."

The Pacific is a region of the world which is constantly stepped over and forgotten, even paradoxically when it is being invoked. For instance across from Ethnic Studies as UCSD we have a program called International Relations and Pacific Studies. It is really a joke that they call themselves Pacific Studies, because no one I have ever talked to there knows anything about the Pacific and Pacific Islands. When they speak of the Pacific, they mean the "Pacific Rim" of course. It is interestingly enough, one of the largest regions of the world, but considered to be at the same time one of the smallest (in terms of importance, population).

Although the rest of the world, and even in the Pacific we may see that there is very little there, save for coconuts, brown women, and beautiful beaches, if we pay close attention to the video I'm pasting below of a statement by US Secretary of State Rice, you can see that there is much more to the Pacific than niyok, famalao'an yan bunito na kantan tasi siha. For those too lazy to sit through listening to Rice, I've pasted the transcript below:



SECRETARY RICE: Good morning. Thank you for traveling so far. I'm very pleased to be here to welcome you and we're really honored to have so many heads of state and senior officials from the Pacific present with us today. I would like to first thank President Note, who is, after all, the chairman of the Pacific Island Conference of Leaders, and thank you for all of the work in putting this together and working with us. I'd also like to acknowledge our hosts and Dr. Charles Morrison from the East-West Center. Thanks for bringing this great event to our nation's capital.

Finally, let me welcome a few of America's Pacific Island leaders. Governor Linda Lingle is here. Linda, thank you so much for being here. I can remember visiting you in your great state. It's great to have you with us today. Governor Camacho from Guam, Lieutenant Governor Sunia from American Samoa, and Representative Tenorio representing the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas. So thank you all.

The presence of all of these leaders from American -- from one American state and three U.S. territories illustrates the fact that the United States has a special kinship with our Pacific neighbors. We also have long-term ties with our friends in the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, and Palau.

There's another connection and one of great pride for us. A great many citizens from the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, and Palau volunteer and serve in the United States Armed Forces and many have given their lives in the defense of freedom. In this sacrifice, they join their fellow volunteers from Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Marianas, Hawaii, and other states in protecting our shared freedoms. The United States is grateful for their service.

Our ties with the other independent countries of the South Pacific go back centuries to days when Nantucket whaling boats sought safe harbor in Fiji and Tonga and continuing through the island campaigns of World War II. As the countries of the Pacific became independent over the past four decades, we were proud to establish formal diplomatic relations and to join the world in welcoming each of your countries into the United Nations.

This meeting is a key event in what we are calling the year of the Pacific. You will hear this phrase many times this week, but it encapsulates our efforts to expand our engagement with your countries and to reaffirm America's historic role in the Pacific. Maintaining security and stability in the Pacific region is crucial to the interest of every country and every territory represented in this room, including the United States. Many of your countries face growing political, environmental, and economic challenges and these are often compounded by other more long-term transnational threats. They pose profound threats to the Pacific Islands.
In response to these challenges, we are working together to chart a comprehensive approach, promoting opportunity and prosperity, good governance and the rule of law, greater peace and security. You will hear more about our plans throughout the day. We also plan to highlight the potential economic benefits to the region that will result from the relocation of U.S. forces from Okinawa to Guam.

I stress this comprehensive approach for an important reason, because we all know and share the conviction that democracy plays a key role in fostering political and economic development. Like many of you, the United States is deeply concerned about the unlawful overthrow of the freely-elected government in Fiji. We are very pleased that Pacific countries have spoken with one voice through the Pacific Islands Forum in calling for the speedy return of democracy to Fiji. The Pacific cannot devolve into an area where strong men unilaterally decide the fates of their country and destabilize democratic foundations of their neighbors.

Let me close by thanking each of you for traveling to this important meeting. I hope that today’s events will give us an opportunity to broaden and deepen our friendships as we work together to build a brighter, more democratic, and more prosperous future for all of our citizens.
Thank you very much for joining us and I now have the honor of turning over the podium to

President Note.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Rashne, Sumahi, Pikachu

Posting will most likely be sparodic for the next few weeks because I'm gearing up for my exams in my department.
What this will entail is me turning in my final draft for my propsectus or my proposal for my dissertation on Tuesday. I will then receive a list of questions from which I will choose two and have one week to answer and then turn back into my committee. My committee is made up of five faculty, three from my department (Yen Le Espiritu, Ross Frank, Pal Ahluwalia) and two from outside (Jodi Blanco and Keith Lujan Camacho). Once they get my answers, I will have week to prepare for my oral defense on June 12th. This will entail a two hour defense/discussion with my committee, where they will challenge me on certain points, make recommendations and suggestions about how I can improve my project.
I'm writing like crazy this weekend, so I can turn my prospectus in on Tuesday. I'll be writing like crazy next week also. I think I'll post tomorrow a little bit of my prospectus just so people know that I haven't been slacking off, that I still have plenty of ideas on sovereignty, decolonization and Chamorros to share with all. I know for alot of my friends and allies its as if I've been hataigue halacha', but I've just been working on different things, taking a lower profile so I can get alot of writing down. And to tell the truth, I'm very proud of what I've been coming up with lately. A few months ago I was frustrated and worried about my project, as I head into this last prepatory stage, I am excited that this these ideas will be my dissertation.

So to reiterate, I'm feeling a bit stressed, but I'll be fine. I am grateful in preparation to have my faithful gangs with me.

First i nobia-hu Rashne who is not shy about telling me that my sentences often make no sense, or contain several extra words which are probably just there for fun. Second I have i hagga-hu Sumåhi, for whom I am racing to finish up my graduate work out here gi lagu as quickly as possible, and whose photographs have both the ability to drain me of all energy because of their cuteness, and yet motivate me to keep writing and keep working.

Thirdly, I have i ga'-hu Pikachu, a surprising expert on postcolonial theory and Asia-Pacific geopolitics. The writing of my master's thesis in Micronesian Studies in 2003 would not have been possible, as you can see below, without Pikachu's inspiring help.




Friday, May 25, 2007

Justice for the Marshall Islands

SIGN THIS PETITION FOR JUSTICE FOR THE MARSHALL ISLANDS, read below for more information:

-------------------------------

Justice for Nuclear Survivors
ABNONO - (PETITION)
Bravo H-bomb Anniversary
March 1, 2007


TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE:
TO THE U.S. CONGRESS:
TO THE AMBASSADOR OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA:

We ask the American people to educate yourselves on the injustices that we Marshallese suffered as a result of your 67 atomic and nuclear tests! Kemij kajitok bwe dri Amerka ren katakin ir make kin bwid im entan ko rar walok nan kim jen 67 Nuclear test ko!

We ask the U.S. Congress to reconsider passing the Changed Circumstances Petition (CCP) that our RMI government submitted to you in Sept. 2000! Kimij kajitok iben US Congress bwe en bar etale im kale CCP en im kien in an RMI ear lelok nane ilo Sept. 2000!

We ask Ambassador Clyde Bishop to advise the Administration of the United States of America to change your position on the CCP! Kemij kajitok iben Ambassador Clyde Bishop bwe en kokabiloklok lok Administration en an Amerka bwe en ukot an lomnak ikjen CCP en!

Name: Position:
Address:

Mrs. Rokko Langinbelik President, ERUB P.O. Box 683, Majuro, MH 96960

I support this Petition by the Marshall Islands Survivors of 67 U.S. atomic and nuclear tests.


1. ________________ _______________ ______________________

Please return signed PETITION to: Ms. Elma Coleman, P.O. Box 241015, Honolulu, Hawaii 96824

Each PETITION will be sent to your elected official, and to the Chairmen of the following: 1) Energy and Natural Resources Committee, 2) the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs, 3) the House Resources Commitee and 4) to the International Relations Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific and the Global Environment.

For further information please contact:
Ms. Elma Coleman,1-808-422-4690(h),1-808-224- 6402 (c); Lmacoleman@hotmail.com
Ms. Julia Estrella,1-808-941-0317(h),1-808-497-3016 (c); tristar@hula.net
Ronald Fujiyoshi,1-808-959-9775(h),1-808-345-9688 (c); Ronsan2224@aol.com

-----------------------------------------------------------


What is the RMI Changed Circumstances Petition (CCP)?

During the negotiating of the Compact of Free Association in 1986, between the U.S. Government and the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) Government, the full extent of personal injury and property damages sustained by the U.S. nuclear testing program in the Marshall Islands was not fully known. Negotiators agreed to include a changed circumstances provision in the Compact that would allow the RMI government to petition the U.S. Congress for additional assistance if new and additional information about the U.S. testing program became known, and if this information was not and could not have been known during the negotiations of the Compact.

Since the Compact came into effect in 1986, there has been new and additional information about the personal injury and property damages resulting from the U.S. nuclear weapons testing program that was not known by the negotiators of the Compact. The new information comes from U.S. government documents declassified by the Clinton Administration as part of its Openness Initiative that began in 1993, and from changes in scientific understanding about the health and radiation exposure.

The RMI Government in September 2000, submitted the Changed Circumstances Petition that requests Congress to: 1) Authorize and appropriate $26.9 million so that the Claims Tribunal can complete full payment of the personal injury awards made as of August 15, 2000; 2) Authorize and appropriate $386 million to satisfy the Claims Tribunal award to the Enewetak people; 3)Authorize and appropriate $50 million in initial capital costs to build and supply the infrastructure necessary to provide adequate primary and secondary medical care to the populations exposed to radiation from the U.S. Weapons Testing Program; 4) Authorize and appropriate $45 million each year for 50 years for a 177 Health Care Program to provide health care for those individuals recognized by the U.S. as having been exposed to high levels of radiation during or after the testing program, including those who were downwind for one or more test, and the awardees of personal injury claims from the Tribunal; 5) Extend the U.S. Department of Energy medical monitoring program for exposed populations to any group that can demonstrate high levels of radiation exposure to the U.S. Congress.
_________________________________________

WITNESS FOR JUSTICE #311
March 12, 2007

WELL KEPT SECRETS

By M. Linda Jaramillo
Executive Minister
Justice and Witness Ministries United Church of Christ (UCC)


Each year in August, we acknowledge with regret the devastating impact of the atomic bombs that were dropped on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We know that thousands of lives were lost or changed forever. Generations of Japanese citizens have experienced the aftermath of the chemicals that entered people's bodies and affected their health and environment for the rest of their lives. Most of us know about this.

This year marks the 53rd anniversary of the Bravo H-bomb test, conducted on March 1, 1954 on Bikini Atoll. Sixty-seven nuclear tests were carried out in the Marshall Islands from June 30, 1946 to August 18, 1958. These were not bombs to end a war, the justification for the devastation in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In the Marshall Islands, this was bomb testing! The bombs were intentionally dropped on the Marshall Islands by the U.S. Military. How many of us knew about this? If we did not know before, it is time that we know now.

The H-bombs tested were 1000 times more powerful than the Hiroshima atomic bomb. Dr. Neal Palafox of the University of Hawaii says that the radiation for this testing equaled 7,000 atomic bombs. The New York Times reported on April 30, 2001, "America's debt to this Country has its roots in the 66 nuclear tests conducted in the Marshall Islands. Their total yield was 128,000 kilotons, roughly the equivalent of 10 Hiroshima-sized weapons per week throughout the testing period (twelve years)." How many of us paid attention to that story?

The lives of thousands of residents of the Marshall Islands were changed forever. Survivors continue to suffer from the effects of radiation. Many of the survivors of the bomb testing have now passed away. Perhaps, the magnitude of the H-bomb testing was not known during those first tests in 1946. How could we not have known? We already knew the affects of the atomic disaster in Hiroshima and Nagasaki the year before.

Granted, the United States admitted its wrong doing and signed a Compact with the citizens of the Marshall Islands in 1986 agreeing to compensate the citizens for injuries and damages. As of August, 2000, some actual awards had been made for personal injuries. However, 712 of the awardees (42%) died without receiving their full compensation. The long-term health impact on the Marshallese people is still being discovered. Those who were down wind of the tests continue to suffer serious health consequences. The waters and lands are poisoned and the food supplies remain contaminated. Today, little attention is being given to this atrocity. Did you know?

Because of the resulting illnesses and environmental crisis, the Government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands submitted a Changed Circumstances Petition to the U.S. Congress on September 11, 2000. They are still waiting for a response almost seven years later. In fact, the Petition has not moved at all. How many of us know this?

It is time to tell everyone we know about this well kept secret. It is time for Congress to quit ignoring the appeals for help from survivors of the H-bomb testing. It is time to challenge Congress to respond to the Changed Circumstances Petition submitted by the Government of the Marshall Islands. Contact your Congressperson - tell him or her that you know about this and they need to do something about it, now.

___________________________

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Act of Decolonization #7: Filipinos and The Diaspora

I wrote a response to a "Filipino American Guamanian Activist" a few days ago, which you should check out before you read this post since its a continuation of the conversation I started in my response.


To sum up his points however, he basically made two comments on my blog about how I, as a "Californian" should stay out of the affairs of "Guamanians" meaning those who live on Guam and therefore have the right to talk about Guam. For this person, Chamorros being the indigenous people of the island meant nothing, and they should have no connection to the island or rights to the island if they don't live there. Needless to say, this "activist" probably found what me and Famoksaiyan are doing out here very threatening.

Annok na sen kaduku este na taotao. At one point he waffled back and forth between telling me he has lots of Chamorro friends and likes Chamorros, and then warning me that soon there will be more Filipinos and Guam and they will be in charge.

People have told me that this person shouldn' t be taken seriously and that he's just mouthing off or foolish and young. I disagree for a number of reasons, most important being that he is bringing up two very important and difficult issues for those pushing for Guam and Chamorro decolonization, namely Filipinos and the diaspora. It is for this reason that I responded to him in the first place, and also why I'm posting more of my thoughts below.

In order for it to make sense, you might want to read what I wrote over the weekend, it will make more sense. Click here to read it.

********************

After going through all those points, at last the question becomes, “what the hell is this person’s point?” “Hafa hinassosso-ña este na taotao?” And what is to be gleaned from both my rant and this person’s rant? Sa' hafa ha kekechonnek este na na'an "Guamanian?"

In fights between on-island and off-island Chamorros we see these sorts of divides being created very often. Those on Guam argue against the rights of Chamorros from off-island to speak about Guam issues, or to connect to Guam, or to even claim that they are Chamorro, most often in an effort to create themselves as being authentic or real. On the other hand, Chamorros in the states often reach out to connect to Guam, to prove to themselves and others, how incredibly American they have become, how much better they are because they have left Guam.

On both of these sides we see groups working to prove that they are something, by destroying or stripping the other of particular claims, whether it be to the American dream or to Guam and Chamorroness. These are games that will always take place, because of hurts that people feel, or identities that people are invested in, but it is important that we recognize how detrimental they are in general to the welfare of the Chamorro people around the world. The notion that once a Chamorro leaves their “islands” they can never come back, or are never Chamorro again is not a Chamorro notion by any means. It is very much a modern notion of what constitutes a real native and what makes a native fake. Because indigenous people are supposed to be rooted in time, place and history (if they change or move they die or cease to exist), these sorts of migrations mean that once a Chamorro leaves island he or she becomes something else.

In Famoksaiyan, when I was writing my draft for its philosophy and mission, I made sure that there was some reference to this problem of diaspora and distance. I am sick and tired of Chamorros on both sides of the Pacific enhancing and increasing their distances to each other, by making stupid arguments about who is more Chamorro and who can say what and who can’t say what. The survival of the Chamorro people, their presence and their power in the United States and in the world depends upon finding ways of overcoming these barriers. This means finding ways around or through the partition of the Marianas Islands, the diaspora in the states and in the islands, and also the division of Chamorros in the Pacific and to Micronesia. For anyone who is truly committed to either Guam or Chamorros throughout the world, these silly games cannot be played anymore. I just thought I’d share here, my feelings on this, from the Famoksaiyan Draft Philosophy I wrote up:

The decolonization of Chamorro lands and lives also extends to the changing of perceptions and possibility with regards to space, place and geography. A mix of US policies and Chamorro dreams of American opportunities has created a diaspora whereby more Chamorros can be found scattered in the United States and its network of global military outposts, then in their home islands of the Marianas.

As more Chamorros leave the islands and more and more Chamorros grow up in the States, their islands, culture, language and history often kept cruelly from them, diasporic interventions designed overcome and rethink these distances are vitally necessary. To this end, Famoksaiyan is dedicated to decolonizing notions of geography and home, by decolonizing the mentality of smallness and un-sustainability that plagues most Pacific Islands thereby leading them to believe that development and the future is dictated merely by landfalls of destiny. To do this means reversing the longstanding colonizing gaze which perceives the oceans around us as barriers that divide us and instead asserting the Pacific as a sharing of consciousness and history that has tied islands together in both time and space for millennia. Along these lines we must develop networks of information and solidarity exchange, which through the production of shared political wills and power which in the movement across oceans and continents can help us rework the meaning of “home,” to include those who cannot physically be in our islands, but wish to continue to fight for our lands and our people.

But, what this person is advocating, while it shares some features, is a very different game. He is invoking the term “Guamanian” in order to create a new Guam identity, which will give him a right to Guam, and the evidence that he uses to build this identity is the ignorance and non-Guamanianness of off-island Chamorros. In Guam, like in most places there is a distinction between “natives” and “settlers.” Chamorros are the indigenous people, i mannatibu siha. Others, whether they be Filipinos, Micronesians, manåpa’ka, Chinese, Koreans, Japanese, etc. are all settlers.

What this person is attempting to do is usurp the indigenous category, or in a way destroy it through the evidence that there are some Chamorros who do not deserve the honor of being indigenous to Guam, do not deserve the right to speak about it or be connected to it.

As he mentions “genetics” he is implying that Chamorros, especially those who leave island are not the proper stewards to this island. Once he has made this point, that the category of Chamorro does not mean automatically indigenous or does not mean that they get any “special rights” to Guam, he next moves in with the category of “Guamanian” through which he can argue for his right to Guam. What we see here is clearly another example whereby the settler tries to become the native.

Through the creation of a pan-ethnic “on-island” consciousness, which is produced and developed against “off-island” Chamorros who do not understand this consciousness or cannot have these sets of experiences, which are not indigenous/ethnic, but just created through living in the same place, the idea that Guam has indigenous people is meant to fade from view, along with their rights to the island.

*********************

There are so many places that I can go from here, so many statements to make, but not a lot of time today.

The position of this anonymous person is very black and white, on almost every issue. My points on this are not as clear cut, but there are points which for me are not up for negotiation, but should remain an issue of mutual respect.

I have no problems with Filipinos or anyone else calling Guam their “home.” But when this naming and this belonging becomes gestures to turn the settler into a native, or get rid of the indigenous people and take away their claims to have a different relationship to Guam, that goes too far. The distinctions between settler and native do not preclude settlers on Guam from having very intimate relationships to the island or claiming that they come from there. But too often they make these claims against Chamorros, as if they must destroy the Chamorro or suffocate everyone with annoying little American flags to feel as if Guam is their home.

Colonization is something which affects everyone in Guam, the Chamorro most of all, but ultimately everyone. Everyone is complicit in different ways in keeping Guam a colony, keeping it dependent, conceiving of Guam as pathological, corrupt, useless, luck to be an appendage to the United States. For Chamorros, the notion that the United States has historically been a liberator, leads to the trap that for the rest of time, every problem the island faces (education, economics, societal breakdown, etc.) can only be fixed through another liberation by the United States. Take for instance this excerpt from one email I received from a young Chamorro on Guam:

We were in trouble in WWII. The United States liberated us and set us right and then went home. Now. It’s a war all over again. Except this time its us who are the enemy. Corruption. Ice. Welfare. Suicide. We need them to liberate us again.

For Filipinos and others that have come to Guam and made it their home, colonization comes most nastily through the dynamics I have described above: the desire to displace the native, to kill it, to prove that it doesn’t exist or doesn’t know anything and doesn’t deserve to be the native, the desire to prove that only the settler has worked hard, only the settler has built this place and only he or she has the right to this place. It also comes through the images that people have of Guam that draw them to it, both from the United States, the Pacific and from Asia. That it is a slice of America in the Pacific, that it is America in Asia, that it is a port of entry to the US, that it is where America’s day begins. There is little to no thought before or after they arrive that Guam is also where America’s empire begins, where American colonialism continues to thrive or more crucially that Guam has indigenous people, who aren’t simply natives which are to be ignored and will soon fade away or cease to be.

In the responses we see from Filipinos to Chamorros speaking their language, learning their language, and requiring to all on Guam that Chamorro history be told and known, we see an antagonism or a resistance to the Americaness of Guam being surpassed, decreased, or revealed to not be special or certain. They came to Guam because its just a step away from America or maybe it even is America! The get off the plane at Tiyan, their heads filled with American dreams, and what they get instead of nightmares of angry Chamorros like Angel Santos, who want to do the impossible and the terrifying things of making Guam less like America!

To make this point let me quote from an email I received from a Filipino on Guam last year. The grammar and spelling as been cleaned up to make it more readable, since the way so many young people spell and type emails is tough for me to read:

No one comes here for a Chamorro Island. Why would they since you don’t exist anyways…This island doesn’t belong to you, it belongs to the United States. So unless you’re Bush you can’t tell me what to do! WHY SHOULD I LEARN TO SPEAK YOUR STUPID LANGUAGE!

What needs to be done is to bring Filipinos and others on Guam into discussions and movements for decolonization, and not simply position them as people preventing it or since they are not Chamorro, just not a part of it. The reality is that most on Guam are affected by colonization in a historical sense, and all are entangled in colonization in a contemporary sense. This sort of reckoning and respecting of each other, native and settler is part of the decolonization process. Just because Chamorros and Filipinos have different experiences and have different relationships to Guam, one being the indigenous the other being a settler, does not mean that in order to live on Guam they must colonize each others existences, histories or futures. Respect is the key. Respecting that Filipinos have worked hard on Guam and have in many ways made it their own, but also respecting that Chamorros are the indigenous people, and therefore their language, their history, their culture and their rights should be in some ways different than all others.

Multiculturalism in Guam has become so fashionable primarily not out of respect and love for all the many cultures on Guam, but more so because it provides a means whereby we can all be American together, and more importantly displace the indigenous category as something different than all other ethnic groups and transform it into simply just another ethnic group on Guam. Not needing or deserving any special attention or rights, just another culture on Guam.

I could go on for much much longer, but I thought I would just end it here with the statements of a Filipino student from Guam, who is attending graduate school out here in California. After a series of emails back and forth on the issue of Filipinos and decolonization and what will happen if decolonization ever takes place, he sent me this:

“We [Filipinos] come to Guam because of its American status, and we expect to connect to people on Guam as fellow Americans…So we never see our connections [to Chamorros] through racism, colonialism, and military bases and wars… We need to do more to keep ourselves from becoming the next generation of colonizers, by making these connection.”

Monday, May 21, 2007

Lumuba Zapata Coalition

I posted last week about the work of the Lumuba Zapata Coalition at UCSD in a post titled Truth to Power. They have a blog where you can see the latest updates on their struggle to keep the Dimensions of Culture program at UCSD from loosing its radical social justice dimensions, and becoming a program about celebrating simple "diversity" and "multiculturalism." Here's the link to their blog Lumuba Zapata blog. I'm also pasting below videos that were uploaded on Youtube, of a protest/teach-in they had a few weeks ago.


















Sunday, May 20, 2007

To A Young Filipino American Guamanian Activist

Over the past few days I’ve gotten two very interesting comments on my blog which I thought would be instructive to share with everyone, at yet another two layers in dire need of decolonization, the relationships between Chamorros and Filipinos and the relationships between Chamorros on Guam and those in the diaspora.

They are both from the same person, who has an interesting way of posting comments that have nothing much to do with the posts he’s commenting on, but which simply function as a vehicle for him to say what he wants. By the way, the person is anonymous so I really don’t know if it’s a man or woman, boy or girl, but from the way it writes I’m assuming it’s a young boy.

Its entirely possible though that the person commenting is completely made up, since the ideas the person is proposing and the way he’s sharing them are very silly. The person professes to be a “Filipino American Guamanian Activist living in Guam” which sounds almost too perfect to be an actual person. It sounds much more like someone pretending to be a real person. Almost like those bland, vapid and dumb emails that you get from people telling you they are horny and online, or trying to get you to give them your bank account number.

When I first read the comments, my first thought was, “damn, whoever makes those silly spam mails about Viagra and free Ipods has gotten really personal and local when it comes to Chamorros and Filipinos on Guam. Really angry too.” I completely expected the comment to start off with “You are not a Guamanian, I am a Guamanian. Stay out of Guamanian Affairs, and by the way I know where you can find mortage rates that will make you orgasm!”

Anyways, here's his comments, with the numbered notes to my responses:

Comment 1:

You are not a Guamianian [1]. Your a Californian[2]. 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!![3] YOU ARE NOT A GUAMIANIAN!![4] 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

Comment 2:

I am a PROUD "Guamianian." A "Guamianian" is someone who currently lives in Guam. I'm also a Filipino-American who was born, raised, and currently living on Guam. I have many Chamorro friends and I like Chamorros.[5]

But I want to make one thing clear: just because your race is "Chamorro" that does not mean that you are a "Guamianian" or that you know anything about Guam.[6] Knowledge is gained from experience and studying and not from your genes.[7] After all, how many African-Americans know anything about Africa.[8]

The folks who live here -- "Guamianians" -- regardless of our races (Filipino, Micronesian, Chinese, Korean, White, Chamorro, etc.) know more about Guam than the Chamorros who have had very little experience or no experience at all of living on Guam. Period.

Yours,
Filipino-American Guamianian Activist Living on Guam


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Where to start with all the problems with this person’s thinking? There are just too many places, I feel like I’ll never finish my dissertation, but just end up circling around this person’s ridiculous logic. But before I actually start making real arguments, I should probably vent out a lot of my frustrations at being forced to read this person’s terrible terrible ideas...

Hoi, ekungok nu Guahu. Taya’ direcho-mu para un sangåni yu’ hafa siña hu sångan put i islå-ku! Chamorro yu’. Filipino hao. Kao hu keketago’ hao put i chinetton-miyu yan i tano’-mu giya i PI? Laña, kao mababa i ilu-mu? Kao brodie hao? Gi magåhet lai, gof ti hu komprende hafa hinassosso-mu? Gi un sentensia ilek-mu “ya-hu Chamorro siha, meggai ga’chong-hu siha ni’ Chamoro” ya gi i sigente sentensia ilek-mu “Ti apmam meggaiña i Filipino kinu i Chamorro guini, pues ti apmam, Hami i manma’gas!” Na’tunas i hinassosso-mu put fabot, antes un tugi’i yu’. Na’siguru na ti taitiningo’ i tinige’-mu, sa’ annok gi este na dos ni’ na na’chetton gi i blog-hu, na taya’ kumalamlamten gaige hulo’ gi halom i ilu-mu.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s move on to some productive points and problems:

[1]: Given the changes that have thankfully taken place over the past few decades whereby the majority of Guam’s people (including Chamorros) can at least recognize that Chamorros are the indigenous people of Guam, and therefore can, must and should have a different claim or relationship to the island, what this person is suggesting amounts to the re-colonization of Guam.

Guamanian is a concept which emerges through the meeting of the desires of both the United States to remake Guam as their perfect forwarding operating base, “America in Asia” and also the desires of elites and manakhilo’ on Guam primarily, who were interested in appearing loyal and devoted to the United States. The usage of the term Guamanian for Chamorros who started using it before and after World War II, stems from their need to show linguistic devotion to the United States, by joining the great chain of linguistic being, by adopting an “ian” suffix to their social and political existences. Remember how many Chamorros decided that they would prove their Americaness by scrapping the language from the tongues and minds of their children?

The emergence of the term “Guamanian” is linked to the same desire to prove oneself as ready, willing and literally dying to be American!

The way that this person is using the term Guamanian as the category by which social and political in life should be understood, meaning the way belonging, home, and identity should be understood is basically recolonizing the island by continuing the longstanding colonial project of destroying the indigenous people.

[2]: The ideas of belonging that this person is advocating are flat out simple and stupid. He makes a glaring contradiction in the way he rejects me from ever saying anything about Guam, but makes his argument for why he can say whatever he wants, including keeping me out. For him, all sense of place is attached simply to wherever you are, and is not multiple, is not contested, but is apparently always singular. Because I am currently in San Diego, I only have the rights to speak about California issues.

This makes no sense, because as this person’s own comment attests, the places you are “from” are multiple. Just take a quick look at the name he signs twice with, we find three distinct places, which his identity straddles, the Philippines, America and Guam. According to his prescriptions he cannot have these three, he must pick one. If he wants to be American, then he must relinquish his Filipino identity and leave Guam, since Guam is a place for only second class Americans or semi-Americans. If he wants to be Filipino, then he needs to go back there. If he wants to be Guamanian, then he needs to give up his claims to being Filipino and American, since Guam is a colony of the United States and a place where many people from the Philippines have migrated to, it is neither of those places.

[3]: This is a stupid contradictory point, but one that should still be brought up. If this person is correct, in that we only have the right to speak out on the things which are directly connected to where we are staying, then what right does this Guamanian have to tell me what I can and cannot say when I’m in California? What is he doing reading my blog which is about California things? Also, what right therefore does he have to say about what I count as California things? What if I as a Californian decide that I have every right to speak about Guam because so many Chamorros live here? By his framework for belonging and regional identity, he has no right to say anything to me anyways.

[4]: This is just plain stupid, I am proud to NOT be Guamanian. How little can this person know? Did he just learn the word “Guamanian” the day he posted on my blog? Did he just discover that this category of being and community existed at all, and is now seeking to assert through it, that Guam belongs to him? Does he have any idea where the word comes from, and why Chamorros have stopped using it?

[5]: This person, in the first comment is basically anticipating the demise of the Chamorros, dancing figuratively on what will be their grave when Filipinos become more populous on Guam. Interestingly enough, in the second comment, he retreats from this aggressively, racist and pathetically masculinist position, to the familiar mantra of “I like Chamorros and I have some Chamorro friends.”

[6]: The real proof that this guy is an idiot is the fact that he assumes that simply because my blog says that I live in San Diego, California, that I know nothing about Guam or have never lived there. Both of these comments were attached to posts which in someway mentioned me being in California, or mentioned the tension between on-island and off-island Chamorros, but did not in any way connect to the content of the discussions of those posts. This person was completely oblivious to the fact that I regularly post on Guam issues, and have lived more than half of my life on Guam. Furthermore, my story of migration back and forth from Guam to the United States is not uncommon, it is the norm. Most Chamorros my age have stories of moving back and forth, and so this person’s argument is particularly dumb when he position it in relation to the realities of Chamorro movements.

[7]: As I’ve already mentioned his notions about how we should make or limit our identities is pretty simple and pretty stupid. According to this person’s logic, the moment we leave a place, we are no longer attached to it. That be leaving a place, one should have no relation to it since one stops gaining the experiences and knowledge about that place the moment they leave. Once they end up somewhere else a different process starts up, whereby they start becoming attached to that land.

This argument is ridiculous because those breaks never happen. When you leave a place, it never stays behind. It follows you to your new home, whether in the stories, voices, bodies, possessions of your parents and relatives, in the way those in your new home treat you, talk to you, recognize or misrecognize you.

Even if Guam is something very “small” in relation to the rest of the world, it nonetheless follows Chamorros as they migrate, just as the “Philippines” follows Filipinos to Guam, to the United States and everywhere else. If this person’s theory of diaspora and belonging were correct, as I’ve said before then he shouldn’t refer to himself as a “Filipino-American.” The fact that he does, proves that the Philippines is a place he does not live in, but still has a connection to.

Why should Chamorros not have the same right to stay connected to Guam as other people have?

In his second comment by attempting to support his argument, he actually ends up contradicting it. He states that “Knowledge is gained from experience and studying and not from your genes.” This point is of course true, but also ends up destroying his argument, because “knowledge” is something which people not on Guam can have plenty of, and can develop through stories, readings, watching, listening, and studying. By defining this sense of belonging in these terms, he at last, although unintentionally opens up the category of those who have the right to talk about Guam, to those who do not simply live there, but those who love and care about it as well, but may be living elsewhere!

[8]: This point is just plain stupid. African Americans in the United States are haunted by Africa whether they know anything about it or not. It is very much present in their life,

This is the problem with theories of assimilation or equality in the United States. Certain people are always racialized as to come from somewhere else, and can be treated with impunity or racism because they really belong over there whether it be in Africa, Asia, Central or Latin America or the Pacific. White people in the United States get to be exempt from this, because there are rarely any mobs of people, burning crosses or insane politicians who demand that they return to Europe!

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Tomorrow, or a few days from now I'll post more, making some concrete points about what all of this means, especially in relation to decolonization, but for now I've got some other stuff to work on this weekend.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Sicko Is Almost Here

An email from Michael Moore, along with some Youtube videos about his new movie "Sicko."

Gof malago yu' bei egga' este na kachido! Ti sina hu nangga esta ki malangu yu' nu este na kachido!

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"Sicko" Is Completed and We're Off to Cannes!

May 17, 2007

Friends,

It's a wrap! My new film, "Sicko," is all done and will have its world premiere this Saturday night at the Cannes Film Festival. As with "Bowling for Columbine" and "Fahrenheit 9/11," we are honored to have been chosen by this prestigious festival to screen our work there.

My intention was to keep "Sicko" under wraps and show it to virtually no one before its premiere in Cannes. That is what I have done and, as you may have noticed if you are a recipient of my infrequent Internet letters, I have been very silent about what I've been up to. In part, that's because I was working very hard to complete the film. But my silence was also because I knew that the health care industry -- an industry which makes up more than 15 percent of our GDP -- was not going to like much of what they were going to see in this movie and I thought it best not to upset them any sooner than need be.

Well, going quietly to Cannes, I guess, was not to be. For some strange reason, on May 2nd the Bush administration initiated an action against me over how I obtained some of the content they believe is in my film. As none of them have actually seen the film (or so I hope!), they decided, unlike with "Fahrenheit 9/11," not to wait until the film was out of the gate and too far down the road to begin their attack.

Bush's Treasury Secretary, Henry Paulson, launched an investigation of a trip I took to Cuba to film scenes for the movie. These scenes involve a group of 9/11 rescue workers who are suffering from illnesses obtained from working down at Ground Zero. They have received little or no help with their health care from the government. I do not want to give away what actually happens in the movie because I don't want to spoil it for you (although I'm sure you'll hear much about it after it unspools Saturday). Plus, our lawyers have advised me to say little at this point, as the film goes somewhere far scarier than "Cuba." Rest assured of one thing: no laws were broken. All I've done is violate the modern-day rule of journalism that says, "ask no questions of those in power or your luncheon privileges will be revoked."

This preemptive action taken by the Bush administration on the eve of the "Sicko" premiere in Cannes led our attorneys to fear for the safety of our film, noting that Secretary Paulson may try to claim that the content of the movie was obtained through a violation of the trade embargo that our country has against Cuba and the travel laws that prohibit average citizens of our free country from traveling to Cuba. (The law does not prohibit anyone from exercising their first amendment right of a free press and documentaries are protected works of journalism.)

I was floored when our lawyers told me this. "Are you saying they might actually confiscate our movie?" "Yes," was the answer. "These days, anything is possible. Even if there is just a 20 percent chance the government would seize our movie before Cannes, does anyone want to take that risk?"

Certainly not. So there we were last week, spiriting a duplicate master negative out of the country just so no one from the government would take it from us. (Seriously, I can't believe I just typed those words! Did I mention that I'm an American, and this is America and NO ONE should ever have to say they had to do such a thing?)

I mean, folks, I have just about had it. Investigating ME because I'm trying to help some 9/11 rescue workers our government has abandoned? Once again, up is down and black is white. There are only two people in need of an investigation and a trial, and the desire for this across America is so widespread you don't even need to see the one's smirk or hear the other's sneer to know who I am talking about.

But no, I'm the one who now has to hire lawyers and sneak my documentary out of the country just so people can see a friggin' movie. I mean, it's just a movie! What on earth could I have placed on celluloid that would require such a nonsensical action against me?

Ok. Scratch that.

Well, I'm on my way to Cannes right now, a copy of the movie in my bag. Don't feel too bad for me, I'll be in the south of France for a week! But then it's back to the U.S. for a number of premieres and benefits and then, finally, a chance for all of you to see this film that I have made. Circle June 29th on your calendar because that's when it opens in theaters everywhere across the country and Canada (for the rest of the world, it opens in the fall).

I can't wait for you to see it.

Yours,

Michael Moore

P.S. I will write more about what happens from Cannes. Stay tuned on my website, MichaelMoore.com.

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Careful before viewing this video, its Glen Beck at his best or his worst, depending how ridiculous you think he is. The difference between a journalist and an ideologue is something that Glen Beck doesn't care about, but obviously exploits. An idealogue never needs facts, but just finds new ways of repeating that which he or she already knows, and depends upon the inflections in the way this knowledge is recreated to create the real message. For instance, in this "report" Beck never actually provides any evidence to make any of his points, but uses his gestures, his body language, and the pain in his voice to make sure we understand that, no one needs any evidence to say anything about Cuba, we already know that its evil, backwards, sucky. Actually, this isn't exactly true, the evidence that Beck always has up his sleeve, in his pocket or in his corner is the same one we find in the 2004 documentary that was critical of Michael Moore, "Michael Moore Hates America." The subtitle for Michael Wilson's silly little film is "A documentary that tells the truth about a great nation." This is the evidence that Beck is relying upon, that no matter facts appear before your eyes which points to your country failing, destroying itself, or destroying the rest of the world you remain convince that it is a "great nation" and by default all else is not great, evil or backwards.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Victoria, Julian and Me

I’ll be away for a conference for most of this weekend, ya mumåmatmos siempre yu’ gi i tumutuge’-ña i dissertation-hu, so I’m not sure if I’ll be able to post much.

Pues hinasso-ku, taimånu na bei na’bula’ este na lugat, ya na’atok i tinague-ku?

Hu fakcha’i este na kachido ta’lo giya Youtube, ya hinasso-ku na maolek na bai appati hamyo ni’ este siha. Bula na maolek na tinigo’ guini giya este siha. Despensa na kulang massa’ yu’ gi i kachido-ku, ti ya-hu i ta’chong nai ma na’fata’chong yu’.

Buente puru ha’ Youtube na bei post guini para i weekend. Siempre mas tiempo para i che’cho’-hu yanggen hu cho’gue este…

Para Hami na tres gi i kachido siha (Julian, Victoria yan Guahu), meggai masasångan na debi di in falagu’i Ofisinan Senadot pat Pulitikat. Sa’ manhoben ham, ya meggai i che’cho’n-måmi esta yan mangehilo’ ham esta lokkue’ gi diferentes na kinalamten (inetno) para i taotao-ta siha yan i islå-ta. Para i otro na dos, hu gof konfotme na maolek ayu na hinasso, lao para Guahu, siempre ti maolek. Yanggen un taitai hafa esta tumuge’ gi i blog-hu, siempre ti faset para u na’lamas i chinagi-hu.





Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Fantasies of Empire

I've got another conference coming up this week, but thankfully no flying this time, since its so close by.

The conference is up at University of California, Irvine, is titled "The Contested Terrains of Globalization" and is sponsored by the Global Studies Association.
The paper that I'll be presenting is titled "The Materiality and Fantasy of Empire: The Case of Guam," which is part of my intended dissertation. I'll post my short abstract of it below which you can check out, but to quickly summarize my paper, I'd have to say that there is something about the political and discursive status of Guam today which is very instructive to those looking for the structure and tendencies of Empire today. I have often noted that the banal political ambiguity of Guam today clues us into tendencies in the global order which are just taking root now, but which will soon become the norm. Check out the abstract below, for a tiny bit more information.


“The Materiality and Fantasy of Empire: The Case of Guam”
Michael Lujan Bevacqua
Ethnic Studies, University of California, San Diego

The United States occupies a privileged but not central place in the global framework that Hardt and Negri have termed Empire. Its military might and literal sea of bases scattered throughout more than a hundred other nation’s backyards, create a fearsome collection of diplomatic pressure points, which help it meet the moral, militaristic and extra-national prerequisites for wielding the sword of Empire. My goal for this paper is to interrogate the privileged position of the United States under Empire, through the political ambiguity and military potency of one of its most banal and invisible points, its colony of Guam.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

On War Reparations, By Our "Fellow" Americans...


I will be posting more about this soon, bai hu prometi hamyo este, but for the moment, since its late ya gof yayas yu', I'll just say a little bit now.

This past week the long await War Reparations Bill for Chamorros on Guam passed the House of Representatives and will soon move onto the Senate.

A key word in this issue is "recognition." The bill in question is titled "The Guam Loyalty Recognition Act." For so many Chamorros we are encountering or approaching an important moment here, in our history of desiring to be American, feeling American and being rebuffed or rejected in our attempts to be American. If this bill passes and we receive this compensation, it will represent an important moment the Americanizing of Chamorros, which is a process all predicated upon the United States "recognizing" us. Or us being in a subordinate and marginal position and being "liberated" from that position by the benevolence, goodness and greatness of the United States.

But in all cases such as this, where the dream of every Chamorro (whether they want it or not, like it or not) to be at last American appears to finally become consistent, we should step back, look around, think things through and maybe do a little research. As with the case a few months ago when we on Guam were bestowed with a grand fake vote in the United States Congress, we shouldn't be so quick to whip out the American flags and celebrate our newfound belonging. When I did some very easy and simple research on the internet to find out what "real" Americans were saying about the prospect of those of us on Guam joining the family we've wanted to for so long, I was hardly surprised to see that people, especially Republicans were incredibly pissed off at idea that people on Guam were going to get even this fake vote.

So to all your patriotic-American loving Chamorros, here is a message to you all, from Virginia Congressman Patrick McHenry. This is precisely the type of research you really should be doing everytime you feel the need to grab a flag because this morning is the morning that we are all finally American:

My constituents – all 619,178 of them – pay federal income taxes to have a rightful voice in Congress. But these territory delegates will have the power to increase spending, which will lead to raising taxes for everyone – everyone, that is, except the territory delegates’ own constituents. The Revolutionary War was fought over the idea of ‘taxation without representation,’ but the Democrats are pushing forward the policy of ‘representation without taxation.’

Or how about this message, for more friendly "fellow" American action, from a delegation of Republicans from Pennslyvannia to the people of the territories:

The American Flag has a field of fifty stars for a reason; they represent the number of constitutionally recognized states in our Union. Only those states can be fully represented in the United States House of Representatives under law. The Members of the Republican Congressional Delegation of Pennsylvania agree that this move by the Democratic Majority amounts to nothing more than “representation without taxation.”

Given this new development, I think it is just as important to do a little bit of research and see what those who are already American, are saying about us from Guam becoming more American or just as American as they are, through this War Reparations Bill.

To start you off, here is a "Take Action" notice from the website Free Republic, which instructs patriotic Americans to resist and protest the giving of War Reparations to Chamorros, because it is "anti-American." Beneath this action post, I'll paste some of the comments that people have made about the issue as well. If you love America and are just dying to be a part of it, read what I'm pasting below very carefully. That is your beloved master, and those are the people that you are dying to call "fellow Americans" which are dismissing and disrespecting you, the suffering and survival of your people and your ancestors. In order to enhance the feeling of having yourself completely dismissed and mutilated by hundred of thousands of people who know nothing about your island and history, but because they are Americans feel they have the right to do so, listen to some sort of patriotic tune when reading, like "Proud to be an American" or "Uncle Sam Won't You Please Come Back to Guam."

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TAKE ACTION: We're Paying War Reparations to Guam for What Japan Did
RedState.com ^ today Jeff Emanuel
Posted on 05/07/2007 2:18:42 PM PDT by enough_idiocy

"House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and his eight compatriots, all of whom have co-sponsored a bill that would require that America pay reparations to the people of Guam for - get this - the actions of the Japanese in World War II.

According to the bill (HR.1595, the "Guam World War II Loyalty Recognition Act"), the people of Guam:

suffered unspeakable harm as a result of the occupation of Guam by Imperial Japanese military forces during World War II , by being subjected to death, rape, severe personal injury, personal injury, forced labor, forced march, or internment.

For this reason (?), "the Secretary of the Treasury shall make payments" to WWII survivors and their descendants on Guam for the brutal actions of a third party.

Makes perfect sense, doesn't it? After all, the US is the largest aid donor on the planet; it's only logical that we should rebuild, repatriate, and reparate every country that has been hurt by every war that we can find. Let's not stop with Guam - let's include everybody from Carthage on up to the present. Should we pay reparations to the Koreans for the Mongol invasions of the 14th century, and to the Spanish for the loss of their Armada in 1588? Why not?

And while this bill holds up $126,000,000.00 for the repayment of the people of Guam for what the Japanese did (as well as $5,000,000.00 for "the Secretary of the Interior [to] establish a grants program [to]...award grants for research, educational, and media activities that memorialize the events surrounding the occupation of Guam during World War II, honor the loyalty of the people of Guam during such occupation, or both, for purposes of appropriately illuminating and interpreting the causes and circumstances of such occupation and other similar occupations during a war"), our soldiers can't even get a dime in supplemental appropriations.

Way to go, Democrats. Your "blame America first" (even for things we have nothing to do with), anti-US soldier attitudes, actions, and mindsets have just been taken to a new level."

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My rep's office could not explain to me why we're spending Americans' money to compensate Guam for what Japan did.
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What kind of lunacy is this...? Oh yeah, the Democratic kind.
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I think Steny Hoyer and his eight cronies should have to pay the reparations. Their savings and investments can be liquidated for the purpose, and their wages garnished until their debt is paid.
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Easy.. it’s called buying votes.
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Makes perfect sense...
In a bid to one-up his compatriot, Harry Reid, the Hon. Mr. Hoyer has found a way to retroactively surrender to Japan for WWII...
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Liberal logic says if we had been ready for the Pearl Harbor attack, we could have stopped Japan in it's tracks and the Japanese would have never needed or been able to occupy Guam.
So, yes it was our fault.
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I am so ashamed!! Why wasn’t I there to protect Guam? Why? Why?...Oh yeah, I wasn’t even born yet. Sheesh
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Does the word “KICKBACK” come to mind? Someone other than the people of Guam is getting some of this money. This is one of the dumbest things I’ve heard of in a long time. How about all the other countries that Japan invaded? Like China? How about all the countries that Germany invaded? And.....where in our Constitution does it give these idiots the right to do this?
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My grandfather lost a couple of toes and partial hearing in the Ardennes during WWII. Apparently he wasn’t loyal enough for me to get reparations.
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Easy.. it’s called buying votes.

Votes for what? Guam is a U.S. Territory that elects a non-voting representative to Congress. It has no electoral votes for President. The current representative is a Democrat. And a Democrat has held that seat since 1993.Why aren't the Japanese paying these "reparations"? They are the ones who invaded our sovereign territory in 1941. The United States has already paid reparations in blood, liberating the island in 1944.
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I wonder how many Guamians are still alive from WWII. I would expect that most of these people would be in their 70s and 80s by now. If they survived that long, then what’s the problem? The Dems are outdoing themselves on the pork - at least the Repubs seemed to keep their pork in the USA.
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Wait until the next Democrat apologies to Germany for us winning WWII.
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Who wants to bet that Steny Hoyer and/or his cronies have Guamianian relatives?
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I don’t ever want to hear another liberal complain that we don’t have the money for this or that program.
This is so stupid, so incompetent, so ridiculous it will (and should) define congress for decades to come. I would rather dine on hay with horses than sit down at a dinner table with a single member of congress.
When do we start kicking their doors in?
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Using ‘democrat-logic’ the presence of US forces in Guam mad Guam a ‘target’ for the Japanese. You see? It’s the same thinking that says that Iraq would be a rose garden if only the US forces currently there would just... leave.
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Bullsh!t.Pure and simple bullsh!t.
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Please tell me this is some sort of parody, or joke. Please.
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It’s called the San Francisco Peace Treaty. It was signed in 1951 between Japan, the United States and most of the other allied powers.

You can find the text here.

I draw your attention to Article XIV. To make a long story short, the signers of the treaty agreed that Japan would turn over certain assets to the Allied Powers, and that all further claims against Japan would be waived. The details are in the treay.

Why did we do that? Because demanding massive war reparations from Germany under the Treaty of Versailles worked out so well. You may remember the consequences of that brilliant idea by Woodrow Wilson. If not, you can look it up. The United States wanted a free Japan that could be an American ally, not a country burdened by economic troubles that would probably wind up having a revolution and going over to the Communists.

So, among other peoples, Guamians cannot claim compensation for losses from Japan. So the only country that can compensate the Guamians for their WWII losses is the United States, which has somewhat of a moral obligation, since the U.S. signed away the Guamians rights to get compensation from Japan.

That is why this is happening this way. You can agree or disagree that the U.S. should pay this compensation. I'm not interested in arguing either way. So nobody complain to me about it.
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Ican see why Queen Plastic Pelosi wants Guam's delegate to have full voting rights in the House. This is Guam's second go-around at the public trough known as the United States Treasury for damages caused by the Japanese.

You can find the The Guam Meritorious Claims Act of 1945. I especially draw your attention to the final sentence of Sec. 1 - "Provided further, That any such settlements made by such commissions under the authority of this Act shall be final and conclusive for all purposes, notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary."

In short, they already got their money. Why do we need to toss another $162,000,000 at them?
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From Today’s ‘ Neal’s Nuze’ (05/07/07):
http://boortz.com/nuze/index.html
MORE OF YOUR TAX MONEY AT WORK

Brace yourself for this one. Your tax dollars are being called upon to pay for reparations to the people of Guam for the Japanese’s actions in WWII. That’s right. You read it correctly! Americans will pay for what Japanese did in a war that was fought over 50 years ago.

Here’s the story. A bill will be introduced this week in the House called the Guam World War II Loyalty Recognition Act. This act calls for reparations—costing about $135 million—for the “unspeakable harm as a result of the occupation of Guam by Imperial Japanese military forces during World War II, by being subjected to death, rape, severe personal injury, personal injury, forced labor, forced march, or internment.” Now mind you, these are terrible things that happened to the people of Guam, but why do I have to pay for it? And why now?

Well it turns out that Truman signed an agreement with Japan in 1951 basically stating that from then on, Japan is not responsible for “individual American war claims.” Because Guam is a U.S. territory, the burden to compensate for Japanese abuses falls on U.S. taxpayers. Thanks a lot, Harry Truman. You are a great American Democrat.

But in 2003, Bush authorized the appointment of the Guam War Claims Review Commission. I guess we can assume that this was the result.

Now here’s an interesting question. I have heard, though I have never taken the time to verify, that there was only one major war engaged in by the U.S. where U.S. taxpayers didn’t fork over huge sums to rebuild the loser. That would be the War Between the States .. sometimes erroneously referred to as the “Civil War”
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This is nothing compared to the monies we spend on Guam because of Guam's mismanagement and inability to maintain what the Federal government has already built. Ask anyone who has lived on Guam for any length of time and you will hear the same story of local government incompetence.

The Ordot dump has been scheduled for closure for 20+ years and the locals can't decide where to move it, thus costing mounting fines by the EPA. The Guam Public School System is a federal money pit that can compete with any pork program in the US. The island's infrastructure is in such disarray, because of no planned maintenance programs, it will take the Federal government to come in AGAIN to rebuild it.

The only governmental corruption cases to be prosecuted and won were cases brought by Federal prosecutors because the local judicial system can not convict their own, such as x-governor Carl T.C. Gutierrez.

The taxpayers need to know exactly how much money has already been spent on Guam.
The people of Guam need to stop depending on their Uncle Sam for their government officials incompetence.
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Four Weeks

Someone complained to me a few weeks ago that my blog is too political now, and there's nothing personal about it anymore. I don't see why or how that is a bad thing, its much better to be complaining about the fake vote we now get in Congress, or the dangers of patriotism in Guam than complaining about my "lack" of a social life or the former terrors of my dating hysteria.

But apparently the way I connect nearly everything I can get my hands on to sovereignty, decolonization and colonialism is too "political" for some people. So let me try and make one of those clean blog post today, which don't teach much or enlighten much, but are kind of cute, and become more about connecting people to myself, than connecting all of us to the world.

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For the past four weeks I've been travelling like crazy, four airplane flights in four weeks. Perhaps for people who travel regularly this isn't much, but for someone who gets carsick if he isn't driving, and often feels bulachu just sitting in a parked car, the past month has been draining and insane to say the least. I just thought I'd share with you a photo from each of my trips.

WEEK 1 - NEW YORK CITY




I presented a paper titled The Unexceptional Life and Death of a Chamorro Soldier: Tracing the Militarization of Desire in Guam, at the Association of Asian American Studies in New York. My paper was well received, and will be published soon in an anthology on gender and militarism across Asia and the Pacific. The highlight of the trip was going to the United Nations and buying flags from all the new nations in Micronesia and then getting mad because Guam doesn't even have a flag there. I nobia-hu Rashne was kind enough to show me around and put up with me being a very disgruntled tourist. Throughout the four day trip, my mantra when seeing the hi-tech, sprawling, bustling, cosmopolitanism of New York City was, "I miss Guam."

WEEK 2 - GUAM

The day after I arrived back in San Diego, I was on a plane again this time to Guam to try and catch the birth of my first baby. She was born on April 16th, 2007 and her name is Sumåhi Chan Bevacqua. I unfortunately had to leave 19 hours after she was born, but will see her again when her mother Jessica brings her out to the states in a few months. As I was leaving island and leaving i hagga'-hu I wrote a poem for her which you can read here.

WEEEK 3 - THE BAY AREA


The Second Famoksaiyan Conference took place in Berkely and Oakland. It was INCREDIBLE! I promise I will be posting about it soon, but in the meantime, hongge yu' fan, SEN INSPIRATIONAL! The title of this year's conference was Famoksaiyan "Our Time to Paddle Forward" Summit on Native Self-Determination and Decolonization, and we were able to capture that spirit through this conference. We are absolutely moving forward. The photo here is me cutting a red velvet cake which my friend Tiffany bought me in celebration of Sumåhi's birth.



WEEK 4 - OKLAHOMA



Indigenous Studies Conference in Oklahom at the University of Oklahoma. I will also be sharing more on this soon, but for now he's an image of me and my friend Madel, with our friend Angie's boy Leroy at the conference.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Truth to Power at UCSD

I don't usually pay much attention to what happens at UCSD, since as a grad student I spend most of my time on my computer in my office, only venturing onto the campus itself for food.

But my interest has been caught over the past few weeks because of a fight and protest over the basic destruction of a program on campus that has long been committed to the teaching of the need and the providing of the tools of social and racial justice. I don't know as much as I should know, and haven't been as involved as I would like to be because I've been travelling and writing the past few weeks, but here is a very instructive letter written by a TA in the program, which can give you a sense of what's going on, and how it is connected to the different ridiculous rightist pushes that are taking place across American campuses today to promote their ideas which are so marginal that they are only responsible for so much of the foreign and domestic violence in the world today.

In the pushes from the right for so-called "academic freedom" you can see the dangers and the horrors of American self-obsession and victimization. In the watering down or the marginalizing and neutralizing of the histories, experiences and demands of racialized groups we see the ways in which violence against people of color, communities, bodies and ideas is so easily done, so easily explained, so easily allowed. This fight is not about simple "ideas" but also about how the dominance of certain ideas in the academy or the university become transformed into concrete effects in the "real" world.

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May 07, 2007

Truth to Power:
Letter from a DOC Teaching Assistant

One day after the Diversity Symposium, where Dimensions of Culture director Abe Shragge responded poorly in public to an articulate critique the program offered by a Thurgood Marshall undergraduate student, Shragge went on the offensive. He started tacking passive-aggressive,
quasi-threatening posters to his door. Directed at mutinous TAs, one detailed a thinly veiled allegory of a ship captain at war and promised us all, “I have not yet begun to fight!” I passed by Abe’s door and shook my head at his sorry intimidation tactics. “He’s going to shoot holes in the
bottom of his own boat,” I muttered.

The battle over the leadership and direction of DOC is turning into a war indeed. As shots are flying from both sides, I am witnessing the faculty-representatives of DOC—Shragge, current lecturer Nancy Gilson, and the self-acclaimed “Godfather” of DOC, Michael Schudson, and others—launch their counter-attacks. They charge: DOC has not strayed from its original
vision and mission, Scott Boehm and Ben Balthaser were fired because they weren’t teaching the program they were contracted to teach, the Lumumba-Zapata Coalition wants a program of radical indoctrination.

Well, the administration is fighting dirty. Simply put, they’re lying. And that these willful misrepresentations are coming from faculty members who are the pillars of a program that is supposed to stand tall for social justice makes the lying that much more despicable.

All this makes me wonder: how does one stand strong against abuses of administrative power? Rather than participate in the administrative mud-flinging, how do we keep a clear focus on the critical issues at stake in this debate? As I have heard from supportive faculty members from
various departments, the Lumumba-Zapata Coalition is “fighting the good fight.” How do we win a fight for what’s right and necessary?

The answer I keep coming back to is humility. For me, this isn’t a war, or an ideological battle, or a power struggle. This is about the quality of education for Thurgood Marshall students, and what DOC is passing off as rigorous academic content is absolutely appalling. I am passionate
about issues of social justice, and I want DOC students to get the best, most coherent, most inspiring instruction in these issues—and in writing—possible.

The changes to the DOC curriculum, content, and instruction in all three of its installations have been systemic, deliberate, and slowly effective. DOC is supposed to teach students critical thinking, and its lecturers are the poorest models for critical thinking I have ever endured in an
academic setting. Shragge, Schudson, and Gilson can point to the syllabus and say, “See? These texts are hard-hitting! The course is robust!” They discuss the rationale behind their decisions to include this text, or cut that article, and they’re undermining the substance of the debate by
intentionally narrowing the focus; this isn’t about specific texts.

Most of the material on the syllabus isn’t even mentioned in lectures, and if a text is mentioned, it’s stripped of its historical context and theoretical moorings so thoroughly as to render it meaningless. For example, thus far DOC 3 students have learned such astounding insights
into cultural production and social movements in the United States as: the Cold War saved the US from communism, conformity is bad, jazz is important because it was made by black people and white people alike, and graffiti is art too. You see, the critiques about DOC curriculum are not just over what is taught, but also how it’s taught, or as is so often the case, how
it’s not taught.

In her recent campus-wide memo to faculty, Gilson counters the argument that the program has been militarized by citing an event that DOC sponsored in which LGBTQ ex-service people spoke about their experiences in the military. What she fails to mention is that the event functioned as a recruiting pitch for queer students. The overall message was: “Queer
people can fight the terrorists just as well as straight people.” When a lesbian undergraduate in the audience asked the panelists whether or not it was “worth it” to try to enlist to get financial aid for medical school, they responded with a resounding “yes.” It was liberal patriotic
education at its finest, as are most DOC-endorsed events.

So much of the battle seems to be about who gets the right to critique the program. Part of the administrative horror at the intervention of the Lumumba-Zapata Coalition seems to be directed at graduate and undergraduate students who have the audacity to tell administrators and faculty how they should handle the course (the coalition’s demands are endorsed by numerous faculty members and whole departments, but that point keeps getting conveniently omitted). As Shragge protested in a recent DOC teaching meeting, “teaching assistants can’t just go around making demands.”

And I agree completely. As a TA, I don’t presume that I have any real input into the content of the course I help teach. I believe strongly in the freedom of faculty to select what they want to teach and how they want to teach it, and I’m certainly not one to march around making demands of my employers. But DOC is a collaborative program with a particular history, mission, purpose, and perspective; over the course of several years, DOC leadership has systematically ignored, suppressed, and pushed out numerous students, staff, and faculty who voiced valid and urgent concerns over the direction and leadership of the program. At what point, I wonder, after attempts at dialogue fail over and over again, is it legitimate to initiate a debate? At what point is it necessary for students and faculty alike to stand up and make demands, to fight for the quality of a program that is integral to the education of Thurgood
Marshall students?

That Scott and Ben’s contracts were not renewed after they began to organize campus-wide critiques of the program is just another example of abuse of administrative power in a long, long line of abuses. Scott and Ben have both unquestionably been teaching the program that they were contracted to teach, and they each have years of glowing teaching evaluations from their students—and DOC directors—to prove it. The allegations I’m hearing from administration about why they were dismissed—that there was some problem with their grading, or that they
were requiring outside texts in their sections—are calculated misrepresentations. Shragge reported in The Guardian that they were dismissed for their teaching, and he was quoted in the Chronicle of Higher Education saying that it wasn’t about their teaching.

Gilson’s memo states that Scott and Ben were dismissed for teaching an alternative syllabus in sections. It is true that Scott (not Ben) asked his students to do additional outside reading for sections, just like the majority of DOC TAs. But when Shragge targeted Scott by informing TAs
that outside required reading was not permitted, Scott’s students voted unanimously to perform the reading anyway. I should emphasize that the use of additional readings in sections and for student presentations is widespread among the majority of DOC TAs.

The administration has resorted to blatant lying in a last-ditch effort to save some shred of administrative integrity. But DOC leadership has been failing so thoroughly for so long, they don’t have any integrity left to save. In firing their ammunition, they’re shooting so many holes in the bottom of their boat that now it’s sinking. I refuse to let them take the
whole program down with them.

As a member and representative of the Lumumba-Zapata Coalition, I am not advocating a program of indoctrination. I am not out to convert my students into radical, leftist politics. I don’t care if they’re democrats or republicans, if they lean left or right, if they’re pro-this
or anti-that. I create a safe space in my discussion sections so that they can share and compare a wide range of opinions, and I don’t grade them on their political beliefs. I am advocating a program that teaches students critical thinking about critical issues, and that offers a coherent,
sustained interrogation of dominant, hegemonic ideologies. I am advocating a program that is truly committed to the principles of social justice. Sadly, since the administrative witch hunt for program “outliers” may just be getting started, I am advocating anonymously. The
Lumumba-Zapata Coalition has issued its demands out of respect and passion
for the founding principles of the Dimensions of Culture Program and the activist history of Thurgood Marshall College. In suppressing these critiques, DOC leadership and administration are violating every principle the program is supposed to stand for, and they must be stopped. Call it mutiny if you’d like, but it’s a long-coming, well-justified revolt.

“Que Viva Lumumba-Zapata!”

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Cricket and Liberation

Its been a while since I put up a new blog user image, and so after a heard a quote over the weekend, I thought it might be a good time to change it.

Lately, I've been becoming more and more of a cricket fan, after watching the movie Lagaan, and watching a few matches, and most recently the ODI World Cup Final between Sri Lanka and Australia (ai lana, sa' manggana' i Australians Siha). It can sometimes move slowly, but the joy or appreciation of someone staying at the crease for hours and hours, and racking up a century is worth the waiting and slower pace. People in the United States often treat cricket as if its an insane, lazy boring game. But after seeing several matches and learning the rules of the game, it is obvious in my opinion that cricket takes more skill and stamina than baseball.

I’m in Oklahoma City this weekend at the Indigenous Studies Conference, which is basically an informal, historical, difficult and very inspirational gathering of scholars who are doing work on indigenous peoples for indigenous peoples. The difficult part comes in because people here all see the value and the need in having an organization of this sort, but there are a number of issues that still need to be worked out as far as how inclusive the organization will be, what its focus and principles will be, how engaged with communities will it be, etc.

I’ve been incredibly surprised at how many Pacific Islanders are here, and this turnout is no doubt linked to the good work of Kehaulani Kaunui, a kanaka maoli and the only Pacific Islander on the steering or host committees. It remains to be seen however, whether or not Pacific Islanders and other indigenous peoples from around the world will have a place in this organization or if it’ll be mainly for Native Americans since they will be the main ones running and attending the conferences.

On to the reason though, why I’m changing my blog image.

During one of the presentations on the New Zealand Maori Rugby team, a presenter showed the following quote by Viv Richards, a famous former West Indies cricket player:

"In my own way, I would like to think that I carried my bat for the liberation of Africa and other oppressed people everywhere."

Olaha mohon na gaige gi halom este na sinangan i estao i taotao-hu siha. “Todu hu cho’gue, hu cho’guiguiyi i Chamorro siha, na un diha siña u mana’libre.”

In honor of this sentiment, which can easily be explained as idealistic, easily co-optable and just plain celebrity nonsense and neutralized as meaning nothing, I want to remind everyone that it nonetheless carries within it the dreams of a better world, and the hopes for decolonization, I'm changing my blog image to this:

Friday, May 04, 2007

Indigenous Studies Weekend


Despensa yu' lao siempre gi este na weekend bai hu tahgue'. Manggaige ham yan i atungo'-hu Si Angie yan Si Madel giya University of Oklahoma, para bei in fa'nu'i gi i Indigenous Studies Conference guini. Bai hu gof tinane' ya ti metgot i wireless gi i kuaton-mami, pues siempre ti bei post bula.

I probably won't be able to post much until next week, so to hold you over until then, I'll share this video, which is the first I've posted on youtube since I joined. Its a short video of a townhall meeting that took place on Guam recently regarding the impending military build up there.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

I Pilan Yanggen Sumåhi...

I have been a father for more than two weeks now, and I am still adjusting to the subtle and drastic changes. Its weird, but the first moment that it actually hit me that my life had really changed, wasn't when the baby was born or when I first held her, but actually when I first filled out the registration form for the Famoksaiyan conference two weeks ago, which took place the same week Sumåhi was born. In the process of filling out the form, all the typical and expected information was spilling out of my head, but one question snagged me and forced me to stop for a moment. That question was of course "number of children."

That point came about three days after I left Guam, after the baby was born and for those three days I was living in a sort of dream world. 19 hours despues di mafañågu i hagga’-hu, I was on a Continental flight back to the the states. As I was flying away, so many new memories and feelings seemed to peel away from my mind, floating and flying off into the sky. I fought to keep clear in my mind the moments I had just been through. To remember as best I could, my daughter's face, her opening laughing or crying mouth, the touch of her tiny fingers on my face and hand. I began to write as I sat on the plane, random scattered lines at first, which struggled to capture different points of the past few days.

Even after I deplaned I continued to write, and rewrite stringing together random lines, with random images and phrases, eventually realizing that I was working on a poem for my daughter. I pushed hard to have it finished by the first day of the Famoksaiyan "Our Time to Paddle Forward" conference, because we had decided to open up the conference this year with more social activities and performances. Erica Nalani Benton performed some songs, including her incredible "Back to Guahan," and so did Jacob Perez. The both of them are members of Famoksaiyan who joined after the initial meeting in April last year in San Diego and have done incredible things for the group, and were the ones who set up and organized the events on Friday.

I was writing almost up until the moment I went on stage, rewriting things, checking things, adding in things last minute. It was such an important process though, writing this poem, meeting new and old friends, talking about the baby, and also just taking stock of my life, and what I have accomplished and how I'm doing so far. Many people thought it was odd that I would speak about the incredible week I was having, with a baby being born on Monday and the conference happening, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. For them the Famoksaiyan conference couldn't compare to the birth of my first child and so it cheapened this birth to be talking about them together. This might be a very real point, but in my head as I floated around, going from the dream of my newborn daughter to the dream of having this conference, this spirit and this fight continue beyond just myself, to me their links were clear and both inspiring. As one of my friends emailed me last week about i hagga'-hu and the conference, "here's to all forms of new life!"

Yanggen magåhet i finayi na “todu lina’la’ un saddok” pues taibali yanggen ta kefa’sahnge este na råtu ya kena’para i milalak. Taibali yan taiesperånsa.

Yanggen magåhet i finayi na i lina’la’-ta siha milalak kulan un saddok, debi di ta chule’ ya na’daña’ todu este na råtu siha. Mungga machagi rumikohi este na empe’ lina’la’ kalang iyo-mu ha’. Yute’ ha’ halom gi i saddok. Na’fañetton todu gi lina’la’-mu ni’ bunita, ni’ presisu, ni’ impottånte.

In an effort to live this idea, I thought I would share with you the poem I wrote for my new baby girl. It brings together in crazy, cute, silly and serious ways so much of my life, my hopes, my dreams, my commitments, and also the newness and uncertainty as well that is creeping into my life in different forms because of the fact that I am a father now. And yes, in case you were wondering, this poem does, in a slightly different way than usual have something to do with Chamorro history and decolonization.

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Sumåhi

Sumåhi
My nene
I patgon-hu

After months of worrying, waiting, money saving and relationship negotiating
After days of walking, nipple circling, consoling, papaya eating and labor inducing
After hours of pushing, breathing, hand squeezing, and yelling for medication and centimeter checks
After minutes of bleeding, emerging, screaming, slapping, wrapping, measuring and weighing…
A baby is held before me

Small and cute in a way which can only be felt with a tear wetting the corner of your eye
Her eyes squeezed shut, and only opening in gasps and screams, coordinating in rhythm in her grabbing, barely bending fingers
Eyes, mouths, and hands moving in newborn unison to drink in the world around her

The nurse holding her carries a question as well
“What is her name?”

My mind scans quickly the list of names I had given the mother for her to pick from
It was an interesting collection of Chamorro verbs, nouns, adjectives and states of being, which could make fantastic or terribly awkward and stigmatizing Chamorro children names
Such as
Matatnga: Brave, valiant, fearless
Tokcha’: To stab or to spear
Chichirika: A bright red bird with a beautiful fan shape tail which is known to help children lose themselves in the jungle

I nananpatgon-hu, my baby’s momma, chose two names, one for a boy, the other for a girl
As the “her” echoes delicately from the nurse’s lips and settles softly on the yawning mouth of my baby girl, the chosen name slowly begins the long crawl to the front of my mind

Sumåhi…

More than 500 years ago, men would have gathered their nets, lines and canoes at the ocean’s edge, and women their fosiños and seeds at the jungle’s edge
They would have spoken this word to capture the movements of the moon, the patterns of fish and the tendencies of the soil and earth for planting and harvesting their crops.

More than 300 years ago, a man stands atop a cliff overlooking a hastily built and nervously defended Spanish fort
Before him stand hundreds of similarly uncertain Chamorro warriors
This man pierces the night sky with his spear, its tip revealing to all the ever brightening moon, and he would use to word to remind all of the auspiciousness of this night and it being right for an attack

More than 100 years ago, a young man stands on one side of a river, his would-be beloved on the other, momentarily alone, washing the clothes of her family
Beneath a silent lemmai tree he plays his guitar quickly, his fingers looping around the language of the moon, of dreams, of love
He sings this word hoping to enchant his beloved, convince her to become his beloved, especially before his brother return

At I hold my baby for the first time, the word “sumåhi” emerges from the exhausted fragments of my labor weary mind with all the force of a ghost which refuses to be forgotten
It crawls around my mental corners and contours and in between the molecules of my very blood, bringing with it the traces of a thousand voices which have spoken it, passionately embraced it, or indifferently recited it

The word rides a wave which bristles and breaks, reforming itself forward with the lifeblood of those who have reflected through it, relied upon it, spoken of love or loss with it, called others to work or battle with it, and made sense of nature, earth, the world

This multitude pushes downward my eyebrows and furrows my brow, transforming my face into an awkward image of reflected cuteness
It activates my arms, pulling my baby closer to my face
Her cute, newly there, barely breathing reminds me na sen dikike gui’
Kulang umomlat i patgon gi unu na kannai-hu

The nurse’s eyes remain rounded out, expectantly waiting for my girl’s name
Completely unaware of the typhoon powered history lesson which makes my hands tremble, but also assures me I will not let my baby fall

The name finally arrives at my lips, the cost of its landfall, a fresh tear appearing at the corner of my eye
“Her name is Sumåhi” I say at last, while my lips slowly form a kiss for her forehead

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