Some updates put i estao-niha yan kinalamten-niha i famalao'an Okinawa yan Guahan.
A few days ago, in response to another rape in Okinawa, a group of women there penned a letter to President George W. Bush, bringing to light, both the violence of the US militarization of their island, but also the empty promises to fix or resolve these issues, which have marred the past sixty years of Japanese and American control over Okinawa.
For more information on the situation in Okinawa, click the links below:
Protests Spreading in Okinawa
US Marine Charged in Japanese Rape
February 13, 2008
The Honorable George W. Bush
President of the United States
Consul General Kevin Maher
United States Consulate General in Naha, Okinawa
Lt. Gen. Richard C. Zilmer
US Military’s Okinawa Area Coordinator
We protest the sexual violence against an Okinawan girl by a U.S. Marine
We demand withdrawal of the U.S. military from Okinawa
We, people of Okinawa, particularly women, are outraged at another heinous crime committed by a U.S. serviceman on February 10th, 2008.
We have been imposed the burden of hosting U.S. military and bases. For long 62 years, the lives of women and children in Okinawa have been made insecure by the presence of the U.S. military and bases.
The fact that the perpetrator took the victim from city center where local residents spend their leisure time on holidays and weekends, demonstrates the close proximity between our daily life and the violence and danger caused by the U.S. military. The perpetrator, a Marine who belongs to Camp Courtney lives outside of the base in a local residential area. Why should U.S. soldiers be allowed to freely enter a residential area at any time? Why is a safe environment for children and women not assured in Okinawa? The fear of the victim, the anger of her family, the shock and anxiety of the local residents are all immeasurable.
The U.S. military has promised over and over “the requirement for the highest standards of conduct,” every time a crime was committed. It is evident that these promises resulted in nothing. It needs to be reminded that in the past, during long weekends such as Independence Day weekend, many girls were revealed to the violence of U.S. soldiers. Behind the crimes that have been made public are many more women and children who could not speak out about the violence they were exposed to.
We call for withdrawal of the U.S. military in order to abolish such violence. We argue that the military is a violence-intrinsic institution. And true security cannot be realized by the military in our community nor between nations.
careful and adequate psychological care of the victim,
apology and compensation to the victim,
strict punishment of the perpetrator,
tighter discipline and control over soldiers living in off-base housings.
The realignment and transformation of the US-Japan military alliance will only intensify the functions of the U.S. bases in Okinawa. We demand withdrawal of the U.S. military from Okinawa and closure of the U.S. bases in Okinawa.
Co-chairs, (Ms.) TAKAZATO Suzuyo, (Ms.) ITOKAZU Keiko,
Okinawa Women Act Against Military Violence
3-29-41-102 Kumoji, Naha, Okinawa, 900-0015
Ph. Fax. 098-864-1539
Also, a few days ago, i ga'chong-hu ginnen Famoksaiyan was able to edit into a short documentary, some video we shot last year of a meeting between Congresswomen Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam) and Donna Christiansen (D-VI), and the women's group Fuetsan Famalao'an. This group, whose name means "the strength of women" formed in 2005, shortly after the Department of Defense announcement that they were planning to huge "transfer" of Marines from Okinawa to Guam over the next few years. At this meeting in August of 2006, these women made their own set of demands to the United States Congress and the department of defense, that the military be more transparent in its planning of the military buildup on Guam, and that the people of Guam have more of a role in this buildup beyond simply "providing feedback."
The video can be found in two parts below, with some information on it.
Guam's Women Leaders Say No to U.S. Military Build-Up
By 2014, the United States plans to spend $10 billion to move 8,000 Marines and their 9,000 dependents from Okinawa to Guam, increasing its presence there by more than three fold. The small island of Guam, where only 172,000 people live, will be flooded with the burden of 40,000 more people associated with the military build-up.
On August 13, 2007, in a meeting with U.S. Congressional representatives, a group of Guam's maga'haga raised their hands and voices against the movement of thousands of marines, sailors and airmen, and more nuclear submarines and bombers to their island home. In Ancient times, "maga'haga" were the eldest daughters of a clan, who shared the responsibilities of running the clan's affairs and governing its resources with the "maga'lahi," or the eldest sons. Today, the term refers to a strong female leader.
Maga'haga, a short film that documents the meeting, shows how the decision to increase the U.S. military presence on Guam is being made without the consent of Guam's people. The film also illustrates the unwavering strength and determination of the island's women.
Maga'haga (the film) can be viewed on youtube in two parts. Here are the links:
PART ONE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SW5aFuw5MDM
PART TWO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3e1jM0fKrE