Thursday, July 31, 2008

Hafa Guaguaha?

Things do you should know about:

The "suicide" of PFC Lavena Johnson
To act go to Color of

On July 13, Minutemen in San Diego protest the 40th National Council of La Raza meeting.

Israeli military shoot at protesters and kill a 9 year old Palestinian boy in the occupied West Bank.

Senator John Mccain takes another step towards war with Iran.

Randy Pausch, famous for his "Last Lecture" died on July 25th.

Alaska Senator and longtime political ally of other non-quite American "political communities" is indicted on seven counts of failing to report a combined $250,000 worth of "favors" from Veco Corporation. This is not a big surprise to anyone who knows anything about Ted Stevens, and isn't not a surprise either that he's still gonna run for re-election this year.

A B-52 scheduled for a fly-over of Guam's Liberation Day parade on July 21st, crashes into the sea. It is the seventh incident involving military aircraft on Guam over the past year.

Senator Obama, while visiting troops in Kuwait, drains a 3-pointer and becomes President of the United States.

I haga-hu Sumåhi, esta diesi sais na meses gui', and she's started to learn how to use the computer!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Yes, Dark Knight

I just came home from watching The Dark Knight. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

There were parts though that I felt were rushed. Where it seemed that a scene had been stripped to its bare minimum in order to keep things flowing and moving. So characters end up talking to each other in ways which are way too concise and compact, its as if (even if they are good actors) they nonetheless appear like robots speaking one after another. Its always a hurried mixture of surreality and unreality watching this sort of thing, because of the way it unintentionally might reveal that in our own lives, when we speak in ways which are perfectly witty, perfectly timed, is there some sort of matrix at work as well? Editing our lives to create that illusion of discourse moving smoothly along?

Other than this sort of thing, which is understandable, since they were struggling to squeeze as many story elements from as many different Batman storylines as possible, and somehow make all of them fit into 2 1/2 hours.

But this is a small criticism, I was still very much entertained by the film. Gof ya-hu gui'. Pi'ot i bida-na Si Heath Ledger. Ledger surpassed all my expectations in terms of darkness, creepiness and insanity. Without spoiling anything specifically, he was in my opinion a terrifying Joker.

But impressing me in this regard, isn't too difficult. My first memories of Joker aren't very terrifying at all, but come from Caesar Romero's version in the old Batman tv show. Let's face it, surpassing Romero's portrayal of Joker in terms of fright isn't difficult. The scariest thing about that show was probably the tights.

Jack Nicholson's Joker was much more fearsome, and a great character. This Joker was comfortable with violence and teased out the Joker's macabre detachment to people, their existence to him as mere toys to be thrown at each other, to produce momentary enjoyment.

Heath Ledger took this even further, and went beyond Nicholson's Joker who despite his veneer of insanity, was so at his core a typical villain in terms of acquisition of power and money and the creation of a sarkar/familia to consolidate and formalize his control. Ledger's portrayal had elements of this, and was brought out through negotiations with and the take over of gangs. But he built upon this, by also portraying the Joker as someone who acted as if his identity lay beyond these basic human drives to build, to defend, to conserve, to procreate, etc.

What this version of the Joker proposed himself as is drive itself. For Joker, all of these other gestures that mark human life are nothing but masks that cover over the violent force of life itself. The curious looks that the Joker constantly has in The Dark Knight are not simply an act, but are part of the position from which he deals with the world around one, at the edge of the human, on the border between humanity and inhumanity.

From this position all the actions of building, conserving, saving, remembering, considering, they all appear like little toys, childs play-things. These are the weaknesses of "normal" people, that he sees as curious or bemusing, but are also levers through which he can manipulate and experiment. That's what The Dark Knight brings out in sometimes obvious ways, the most sublime version of insanity is not someone who is "crazy" in an erratic, useless and unreasoning sense. It is instead this mixture of first: bewilderment and curiosity. The detachment from "normal" life that makes the most simple acts of self-preservation or social interest seem so foreign and unreal. And second: a mampos kalaktos scientific type of reasoning, that sees normal life as a scene for experimentation, for the playing of different basic human social/sustainable drives against each other.

What separates the Joker from other sociopaths with similar cold and cruel logic his willingness to submit his own mortality and life to the play of these "human" experiments. Whereas anyone can display this ability to treat humans as nothing but chess pieces, play-things or objects to be studied or made use of, Joker gives up the self-preservation drive and therefore himself as part of the game. In multiple ways throughout the film, the Joker allows himself, his life, his safety to be caught up in the chaos he has created. Not for heroic reasons, or even out of desperation, but simply because his own life is just one more possible variable for violence and chaos.

The political theory of sovereignty and society that we find in Hobbes' Leviathan, is built upon the premise that humans hold more precious than all else their lives, and that in order to have that thing be set beyond the chaos of everyday life, they will give up their collective freedom. The Joker however rejects this sort of guiding assumption of life and gleefully submits his life and the life of all others in Gotham into chaotic experiments that he creates.

But, by accepting both this position of pure aggression and disruption and suicidal acceptance Ledger's Joker is very adept and capable of pushing what are given to be natural limits, the sainted edges of a current order or even the ideas of order and balance.

In the movie this is brought out in relation to Batman, as the Joker tests the limits of Batman, hoping to push him over the edge, to break the sometimes ridiculous moral clauses he sets for himself (no killing), which so long as he clings to, enable him to continue to violent vigilante career. There is of course a paradox here when this sort of superhero/super villain theorizing takes place. Joker and Batman represent two sides of the same coin, both exceptional violent figures which either maintain or disrupt current norms and rules. Yet while on the one hand the Joker wants to keep Batman alive as his balance, as the force that drives him to keep up his campaign of terror, he nonetheless also acts to not kill Batman, but kill the position he occupies. By continually pushing Batman in hopes of getting him to kill, he is also hoping to break the productive deadlock they share.

In the comics, the Joker's role in constantly provoking Batman is far more visceral and has a much longer history. In Batman: The Killing Joke, after crippling Barbara Gordon, kidnapping Gordon himself and forcing him to view naked photos of his bleeding and suffering daughter, the Joker is arrested by Batman. As the Caped Crusader moves in on the Joker, he tells the following joke:

"There were two guys in a lunatic asylum and one night they decide that they don’t like living in an asylum anymore. They decide that they’re going to escape. They get up to the roof, and there just across a narrow gap, they can see the rooftops of the surrounding town, stretching away into the moonlight, stretching away to freedom. The first guy jumps right across with no problems. But the second guy hesitates and doesn’t follow, he’s afraid of falling. The first guy then gets an idea, he says “Hey! I have my flashlight with me! I’ll shine it across the gap between the buildings and you can walk along the beam and join me!” The second guy shakes his head and says, “What do you think I am crazy!? You’d turn it off when I was half-way across!'"

Ultimately, given their roles in society, they are two inmates in the same mental asylum, in the same padded room. Interestingly enough, the ways in which they define themselves and are defined might appear to be distant and clearly-defined, but is very close and very fragile. Separated by the smallest of gaps, which can be surpassed with the beam of a flashlight.

Unfortunately, I can't go into this too much because I don't want to spoil the film. But needless to say they are far more similar than we are led to believe, and that is why Batman's refusal to kill is so interesting and yet at the same time so meaningless.

But to take this away from the specific relationship between Batman and the Joker and instead focus on the wider role that Joker plays in terms of pushing the limits of society or revealing its frailties, its fictions and its arbitrary nature, there is one scene from The Dark Knight that I would like to mention.

While speaking to another character in the film trying to convince him to join him in his quest to create chaos in Gotham (guess which one?), the Joker discusses the schemers of life and the schemes of life. The schemers are those people who work actively and exist to prop up the current order. The schemes are those orders, those rules, those norms that give the things around us particular values and meanings and therefore skew our life towards different feelings or normality and exceptionality. The Joker in his "pitch" says that when a gangbanger gets killed or a truck full of soldiers dies, nothing much happens, no one really cares, because those deaths are part of the scheme, they are understood as part of the rules. There is an ebb and flow of violence and value and so it swirls and collects around some bodies and is repulsed from others.

But, the Joker continues, go out and threaten a hospital or a school and suddenly people act as if its the end of the world! The first reason for this is because its simply against the rules. The body of a gangbanger is one which society deems as waiting for violence, waiting for the justice of a society to be carried out against it. The soldier, awaits a similar fate, albeit with a different social value assigned upon to its death, but it is still a body which is marked by societies scheme for possible violence.

One way of thinking about these schemes, is the sort of cartography or map of violence and security that each creates. Just as certain bodies are marked for death, others are marked for life, and this goes for institutions and spaces as well. Some are marked as secure, as spaces where death is tamed, put at bay, where chaos it mitigated and decimated. Others are sites where violence can be applied, where chaos is allowed, expected, where there is not supposed to be any stability, security, prosperity. As I'm typing this, Born on the Fourth of July is on tv, and that genre of film, the returning veterans trying to find peace or tying to find a home is an example of how these neat maps, these schemes get skewed. What the returning veterans often does in these sorts of movies and also in life, is bring the violence, insecurity, trauma from one space into another. Both the community that the veteran returns to and the veterans have feelings of being betrayed. They have feelings that the scheme they relied upon isn't living up to its bargain, isn't doing all that it is supposed so, that the rules aren't being followed.

According to the rules, the violence stays over there, it remains on the battlefield, I can honor it and know of it in the abstract, but it does not belong here, it has no place here. This narrative of betrayal is enacted in order to maintain this illusion that this place is fundamentally one of order, peace, life and safety, and that when that which feels like an anathema is present, it must have come from somewhere else. Its presence here must violate some natural principle.

That is the reaction that we see throughout the First World in response to any sort of violence or atrocity. A reaction that indicates that this has come from somewhere else, it does not belong here, it cannot happen here! We saw this very clearly after the September 11th attacks, where the response from almost all Americans was an innocent and self-protecting, "How could this happen here!??!?" It was not a reaction that this should not happen anywhere, but rather that the grand scheme of things has marked this country as a space where this should not happen, and it is the most horrific violation that this rule should be broken. Terror has a way of revealing the illusions of a society, by making the institutions or figures which appear as the rocks or the sources of order as weak, helpless, arbitrary or ordinary. The September 11th attacks revealed that the United States was not a castle that sat high above the rest of the world, on a hill, safe in its prosperity, free from all the violence it exports, but that it was just another nation, just another member of the world, a culprit and a victim. But at the same time, terror also has the ability to reinforce the most base and unthinking ideas.

Interestingly enough, it was this dispelling of illusions, this revealing and mocking of the schemes of everyday life that create the illusions of superiority or safety that stuck with me most after leaving the movie theater and pondering what I had seen. I was surprised however, that after witnessing so much violent unveiling of power and unsettling of a society, my first thoughts of another example of this were of a comedy. And not just any comedy, but a British comedy, whose cast is primarily mildly unattractive old British men, Yes, Prime Minister.

Yes, Prime Minister (1986-1988)and its predecessor Yes, Minister (1980-1984) are by far my two favorite British comedies. They follow the career and relish in the hysterical and sad naivete of Jim Thacker, who in the first show is a cabinet minister and in the second show becomes the Prime Minister of Britain. Thacker is someone who foolishly believes that he is in government to make change, to improve lives, to tell the truth, and he is constantly held in check and twisted into ridiculous knots by his staff, most prominently Sir Humphrey. Hacker is a dreamer, an oblivious personality, who cluelessly comes up with grand designs or fantastic ideas to fix the problems of society, which from the perspective of the staff and the bureaucracy are ludicrous and need to be stopped!

Sir Humphrey often acts as the all-knowing white knight of the government, as he deftly articulates the way things are, the way things have to be. He stands up for the prevailing "schemes" of life, describing them, defending them, playing that most essential role of any government, to protect the way things currently are. The longest running gag has to be the joke about who really runs the government, who really control and runs the country. Any idea that the Prime Minister of a country is in charge is shattered every few minutes through exchanges like this.

Bernard: But he's the Prime Minister!
Sir Humphrey: Yes indeed he is Bernard. He has his own car, a nice house in London, a place in the country, endless publicity and a pension for life, what more does he want?
Bernard: To govern Britain.
Sir Humphrey: Well stop him, Bernard.

In this role however, the comedic and satirical aspects comes into play as that which he reveals as necessary and crucial things to protecting the public, protecting the nation, are articulated not as natural or coherent, but rather empty, illusionary, boasting their own comical insanity. That's the depressing and funny paradox that regularly comes out in the episodes. Humphrey is so invested in protecting the status quo, and does so by constantly talking about it, and enforcing a logic to it, but as he does, he reveals how very fragile it is, how very arbitrary and meaningless it is.

My favorite sections come from talk about defense policy and the military. Although everyone knows that a nation needs some form of "defense" it is interesting how expensive, ridiculous and often times pointless, the shape that defense in the First World has taken, and how wrapped up in certain political and economic schemes that shape is invested in. In the Yes, Prime Minister episodes "The Grand Design" and the "Ministerial Broadcast" they take on this illusionary and convoluted shape of defense policy, in discussing nuclear war and an ambiguous and very expensive defense program called "Triton."

In "The Grand Design" Prime Minister Thacker comes up with a fantastic idea to cancel the expensive Triton project and instead funnel the money into more conventional military programs, and bring back conscription. Sir Humphrey responds with his usual blustering incredulousness at the cluelessness of Thacker, and his imperviousness to reason, precedent and the way things are supposed to be. In discussing why this Grand Design of Thacker's cannot take place, one of the existing defense programs Polaris, in which British submarines carry American missiles.

Sir Humphrey: Polaris is a ramshackle old system, the Soviets might easily develop a multi-layered ballistic missile defence system which could intercept Polaris.
Jim: By when?
Sir Humphrey: Well, in strategic terms, any day now.
Jim: By what year, precisely?
Sir Humphrey: 2020, but that's sooner than you think.
Jim: And are you saying that this nuclear defence system would stop all 192 Polaris missiles.
Sir Humphrey: Well no, not all, virtually all, 97%.
Jim: So that would leave, about five bombs that would get through.
Sir Humphrey: Precisely, a mere five.
Jim: Enough to obliterate Moscow, Leningrad, Minsk ...
Sir Humphrey: Yes, but that's about all!
Jim: I should have thought that was enough to make the Russians stop and think.
Sir Humphrey: But its not fair! With Triton we could obliterate the whole of Eastern Europe!
Jim: Why would I want to obliterate the whole of Eastern Europe?
Sir Humphrey: Its a deterrent!
Jim: It's a bluff, I probably wouldn't use it.
Sir Humphrey: Yes but they don't know that you probably wouldn't.
Jim: They probably do.
Sir Humphrey: Yes, they probably know you probably wouldn't but they can't be certain.
Jim: They probably, certainly know that I probably wouldn't.
Sir Humphrey: Yes, but even though they're probably certain you know you probably wouldn't they don't certainly know that although you probably wouldn't, there is no probability that you certainly would.
Jim: What?

Or in the next episode, "The Ministerial Broadcast," Sir Humphrey, continues this line of unraveling through a discussion of what societal purpose "defense policy" serves.

Sir Humphrey: Bernard, what is the purpose of out defence policy?
Bernard: To defend Britain.
Sir Humphrey: No Bernard, it is to make the people believe that Britain is defended.
Bernard: The Russians?
Sir Humphrey: Not the Russians, the British, the Russians know it's not. Its for all our simple ignorant people shuffling in and out of houses, buses, factories and the cabinet room. The aim of the defense policy is to make them feel secure.
Bernard: But if there's a better way?
Sir Humphrey: Bernard, we have a magic wand, it is called Triton. Nobody understands anything about it, except that it will cost 15 billion pounds which means it must be wonderful. Magic! All we have to do is write a check and then we all can relax. But if people in government start talking about it, you know what will happen?
Bernard: What?
Sir Humphrey: In the end they'll start thinking about it. They will come to realize the problems, the flaws in reasoning, the nation will get worried, agitation, questions, criticism. Change.
Bernard: Change?
Sir Humphrey: Change.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Protect 200,000 of California's State Workers

FROM The Courage Campaign:

Stop Arnold: Sign the petition to protect 200,000 state workers

Tell Governor Schwarzenegger to halt the wage cuts and close the Yacht Tax loophole

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger just announced that he will sign an Executive Order on Monday slashing the wages of over 200,000 state employees to the bare minimum.

Not California's minimum wage of $8 per hour. The federal minimum wage of $6.55. Six dollars and fifty-five cents an hour.

Imagine trying to pay your bills on $6.55 an hour. Now imagine what will happen to thousands of vital service workers forced to live on poverty-level wages. A nauseating irony: many state employees may need to seek aid from the very state services that employ them.

This is absolutely outrageous. And the only way we can stop Arnold is by raising our voices as loud as possible in protest before 9 a.m. on Monday. Please sign our petition to Governor Schwarzenegger. On Monday morning, we'll deliver thousands of your signatures to the Governor's office:

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger,

Your announcement to cut the salaries of over 200,000 state workers to the federal minimum wage is unconscionable.

Instead of slashing pay for state employees, you should be fixing California's massive $15 billion budget deficit. Your proposal will make our budget crisis worse while delivering a serious blow to our struggling economy. As the recession deepens, gas prices skyrocket, stores close, and home foreclosures surge, the governor's wage cuts will force many working families over the financial edge.

To add insult to injury, you are slashing workers' wages instead of taking leadership to close the "Yacht Tax" loophole.

You may claim that you will pay state workers retroactively for wages lost during this budget crisis. But that won't pay their rent or prevent their home from being foreclosed upon before a state budget is eventually passed. Instead of closing the yacht tax loophole and so many other loopholes that favor the rich, you are borrowing on the backs of state workers.

We, the undersigned, call on you to stop preparing to push thousands of state employees to the brink of financial disaster and get back to the budget negotiating table.


The undersigned


The Courage Campaign is an independent political committee and online organizing network approaching 100,000 members that empowers grassroots and netroots activists to build a progressive California. In 2008, the Courage Campaign will catalyze action to increase California's importance in the race for the White House, hold our elected officials accountable, and block Blackwater's second attempt to build a base of operations on the Mexican border.
Whether it's helping kill the GOP's electoral college initiative "dirty trick," count the infamous "double bubble" votes in Los Angeles, re-brand the California Republican Party as the "Yacht Party," or block Blackwater's first attempt to build a base on our border, the Courage Campaign has waged many successful campaigns.

Our partners include, CREDO Mobile, Democracy for America,, United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW), CalPIRG, California Nurses Association, and Common Cause. The Courage Campaign is also a member of Progress Now's national network of statewide advocacy organizations. Our online organizing tools are powered by Blue State Digital.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Hafa na Liberasion #14: US Reoccupation Day

'Liberation or US re-occupation day?'
From the July 4, 2008
Marianas Variety


On July 21, 2008, the people of Guam will again celebrate our so-called "Liberation Day."

It is sad that our Chamorro leaders back in July 21, 1944, did not know that the American liberators became the re-occupation forces for the next 64 years.

As a result, Guam and the Chamorro people continue to remain under U.S. colonial rule to the present day, without any hope of exercising our human right to self-determination.

Dr. Dirk Ballendorf has stated in a 2004 letter that "?the Marianas was invaded and captured in order to build bases to launch planes to bomb the home islands of Japan. The liberation of the Chamorros was incidental to this main military objective."

The professor went on to say that "Guam, as an unincorporated territory, is a piece of property which, technically, Congress could sell if it desired."

We now celebrate our recapture from Japan and commemorate our colonization every year, every July 21st.

The following excerpts from a letter five years ago by American "liberators" Darrel Doss, Robert Arzenberger, Loran "Pee Wee" Day, Carilisle "Ki" Evans, and Elmer Mapes, stated "we have been honored as liberators, but did we truly liberate Guam? The answer is no. We only partially liberated you. The Congress of the United States could earn the title of true liberators by granting this paradise of the Pacific Commonwealth Status. Congress should also grant the citizens of Guam equal rights and voting privileges that we in the 50 states have enjoyed for years."

These statements, by a distinguished professor at UOG and the liberators themselves, bear witness that we are not truly liberated. So what kind of liberation do the people of Guam celebrate on July 21 every year?

Chamorro leaders and historians are so adamant and proud it seems to display just how unfortunate we are --- free, but subjugated; liberated, but occupied; proud, but second-class citizens; democratic, but colonized.

Maybe our so-called liberation means we are free as long as we remain under the control of the United States, a captured colony ? land and people and that's why our political status, return of stolen Chamorro homelands, war reparation, etc? are all but doomed.

Maybe this kind of liberation means massive military buildup that will not only ruin us, but is certain to change the course of the history of Guam and her Chamorro people forever, our free-doomed!

Celebrating liberation day? It should be "U.S. Re-occupation Day" with no end or true peace in sight! And our leaders and historians said, "Amen!"

Vicente "Fa'et" Garrido
Maga'lahi i Nasion Chamoru

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I Tigiri Kontra I Leon

Hunggan, esta hu tungo' na sina Guahu ha', gi entre todu i Chamoru, ni' ya-na umegga' cricket. I'm pretty sure, and people have backed me up on this, that I am the only Chamorro who likes watching and following cricket.

Ai adai, hunggan makkat este na tinaiga'chong. Lao esta payun yu' nu este na klasin siniente. Estaba, sina Guahu ha' ya-na umegga' Bollywood lokkue'. Fihu masangan yu' na likidu na Chamoru yu'.

So, not belonging to a "cricket culture" I don't have much access to cricket, and I'm not really sure how to get access to it. I'm not sure what channels I could watch it on, what websites you can see matches for free through. If there is radio stations that I can listen to matches online, I don't know which they are, or how to sign on.

Its a little bit frustrating.

When there are games on that I want to follow, my only real option is to follow them through websites such as Cricinfo. Cricinfo is (probably) the best international cricket website out there. Its full of articles, statistics, info on teams, and my sole salvation as a poor equiped cricket fan, live scores and match commentary.

Lives scores and match commentary, are strictly for those with vibrant yan mitkilot imaginations, or for those like me, like to work on other things with a cricket match being livescored in the taskbar. For those unfamiliar with these terms, different cricket websites offer lives scores which are updated regularly and provide info for who is batting, who is bowling, what the scores are, etc. Match commentary is when someone who is watching the match types up the action for you, so you can follow along.

It can actually be a depressing experience, since you get so little of the filler of the action, and must instead settle for the sublime content of the action, no images, none of that visual excitement, but all things which have to be processed as words and numbers.

Here for instance is a snippet of the match commentary that Cricinfo provided for the March 26-30 Test match in Chennai between India and South Africa. This match was exciting, even in just reading the match commentary, because if featured the fastest (and most blistering) Test triple century ever. Virender Sehwag, hit an almost ti hongge'yon 319 off 304 balls, with his 300 coming off only 278 balls. The next fastest triple century in Tests belongs to Matthew Hayden's innings against Zimbabwe in 2003, which took 84 more balls.

While the commentary in Test matches can sometimes drag on, because of their slower pace compared to Twenty20 and ODI matches, but in this regard Sehwag's innings did not disappoint.

Steyn to Sehwag, FOUR, Steyn bowls the slower ball wide outside off stump, Sehwag spots it and drives the ball through cover to bring up India's 200
Steyn to Sehwag, FOUR, short and wide outside off stump, Sehwag tries to cut without moving his feet, he edges it through the vacant slip cordon for four more to third man
Steyn to Sehwag, no run, good length delivery angling into off stump, Sehwag gets behind the line an defends confidently to cover
This is now the highest opening stand for India at the MA Chidambaram Stadium beating Gavaskar's and Srikanth's 200 against Pakistan in 1987.
Steyn to Sehwag, 1 run, full ball on off stump, Sehwag drives powerfully to mid-off for a single, Smith does the fielding
Steyn to Jaffer, FOUR, that one swung quite a bit into Jaffer who flicked it in the air past the two fielders at short midwicket, the ball runs through wide mid-on for four
Steyn to Jaffer, no run, Steyn swings another one into Jaffer from outside off, he defends it towards the off side

End of over 52 (13 runs) - India 210/0
W Jaffer 73* (162b 6x4 1x6)

V Sehwag 131* (150b 20x4 1x6)
DW Steyn 13-1-60-0
PL Harris 13-2-38-0

Harris to Sehwag, 2 runs, the length is a little shorter on leg stump from Harris, Sehwag moves towards leg and drives off the back foot through cover for two more
Harris to Sehwag, 1 run, Sehwag charges Harris and drives it straight back to the bowler, along the ground, Harris doesn't stop it cleanly an Sehwag scampers a single
Harris to Jaffer, no run, tossed up into the right-hander form round the wicket, defended on the front foot to silly point
Harris to Jaffer, no run, Jaffer leans forward and drives towards mid-on
Harris to Jaffer, no run, flighted delivery on off stump, Jaffer defends towards cover on the front foot
Harris to Jaffer, OUT, caught! finally South Africa have the breakthrough! Harris tosses one up outside off stump, Jaffer leans forward and plays a loose drive, the ball takes the outside edge and goes straight to Kallis at first slip who remains alert to take a straightforward catch
W Jaffer c Kallis b Harris 73 (250m 166b 6x4 1x6) SR: 43.97

Jaffer goes for a patient 73, which brings Rahul Dravid to the crease. He would have had the pads on in the dressing room for the longest time.

End of over 53 (3 runs) - India 213/1

PL Harris 14-2-41-1
DW Steyn 13-1-60-0

V Sehwag 134* (152b 20x4 1x6)

Steyn to Sehwag, FOUR, shot! That was on a good length but the room outside off stump allowed him to wait on the back foot and cut the ball wide of the fielder at third man
Steyn goes round the wicket to Sehwag.
Steyn to Sehwag, no run, good length delivery on middle and off, Sehwag moves back and plays the ball towards point
Steyn to Sehwag, no run, a sharp short ball at 140 kmh, Sehwag drops his wrists and lets it pass
Steyn to Sehwag, 1 run, a fuller ball on off stump, it was a bit slower as well, Sehwag adjusts and opens the face to play it late towards third man
Dravid prepares to face his first ball. Steyn goes over the wicket to him, there's a slip in place too, just one though.
Steyn to Dravid, no run, excellent first delivery, Steyn swings it into the blockhole, Dravid digs it out on the off side
Steyn to Dravid, no run, short of a length outside off stump, Dravid waits on the back foot and lets it go

With this triple century, Sehwag became one of only three people who have ever hit two triple centuries in their career. The other two being Brian Lara of the West Indies and Don Bradman of Australia.

Right now, as I type I'm waiting on another potentially explosive match to start, between my two favorite teams Sri Lanka and India. Over the next few weeks, they'll be playing a three test series and five ODIs in Sri Lanka.

Right now, the rain is delaying the start of the match, so let me tell you some of the reasons that I'm excited.

First off, this will be the Test debut of Ajantha Mendis, who kahnayi the Indian team last month in the Asia Cup final, when he went 6 for 13, propelling his team to victory.

Muttiah Muralitharan recently made his way to the apex of Test cricket with his passing of Shane Warne to become the record holder for most wickets taken. Both him and Warne are the only two to have reached this summit. Murali has claimed his going to be around for a while longer (he joked he's going to try and reach 1000 wickets before he retires), but people are already discussing that because of Mendis' similar status as a freak-genius for bowling, that Mendis is here to take the reigns. Only time, and how both fare in this Test series will tell.

Another exciting development is the return of Sachin Tendulkar, who has for the past few months been beset with injury and illness, and has played unevenly, poorly at some time and spectacular at others. He was the lead run scorer last year in the 4 Tests for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, scoring in the 2nd test a 154 not out, and in the last test a 153. In the Commonwealth Bank Series that followed, he was largely absent in the tournament itself, but redeemed himself marvelously in the finals versus Australia, where his 117 not out in the first game helped successful chase down the Australians, and his 91 in the second final helped push India to victory.
Sachin Tendulkar is one of my favorite players and so I'm excited to see him back.
One more thing to watch out for it how Sri Lanka fare against India with their most explosive all-rounder, Sanath Jayasuriya. While India's lineup features an array of tried, tested and reliable batsmen, Sri Lanka's lineup with two notable exceptions seems full of competent players who have yet though to carve out their niches. It will be interesting to see which one of Sri Lanka's players are able to step up to the task. I'm also hoping that Kumar Sangakkara, my favorite on the Sri Lankan team is on fire. I remember watching the livescore and reading the commentary for his incredible 192 against Australia last year, which almost saved the match for Sri Lanka. He also set a record last year by making scores of 150 an innings in four consecutive Test matches.

So with plenty of exciting cricket on the horizon, its time again for Fantasy Cricket!!! Pick your best 11 players from the Sri Lankan and Indian teams and get points based on their performances in the matches. If you want to play too, head to this link: Cricinfo - Fantasy Cricket

Team Guam this time around is:

TT Samaraweera
DPMD Jayawardene
TM Dilshan
R Dravid
SR Tendulkar
V Sehwag
KC Sangakkara
Harbhajan Singh
T Thushara
Z Khan
BAW Mendis

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Hafa na Liberasion? #13: Seven Crashes

A B-52 crashed on Guam yesterday, and at present two of the six crewmembers are reported dead, while four more are still missing.

The B-52 was flying on its way to take part in the Liberation Day festivities yesterday, by flying over the parade route with two 5-15s and an F-22.

I've spent the past week writing my dissertation and so Liberation Day completely crept up on me this year. Its a well known fact that I am no big fan of Liberation Day, my main reason being the first three words of the title of this post "Hafa na Liberasion?" This is the 11th in a line of posts, featuring my writings and the writings of others that I started last summer to create a space for alternative knowledge and ideas about the whole idea of Guam being liberated, yet continuing to be a colony.

As most people on island take this time of the year to celebrate the United States military and its positive presence on our lives and in our history, I would also like to take this opportunity to remind us of the negative impacts of the military on our island. The United States is celebrated for saving Chamorros in World War II, but little to no discussion takes place about the role their geopolitical machinations and their local lies played in making us a victim in that war. We celebrate the United States as a giver of life, something that creates prosperity and security, yet there is so much evidence that says that links the military presence on island to different terrifying environmental and health problems.

Today, as people solemnly memorialize this crash, it is nonetheless to remember that this is the seventh military aircraft incident that has happened on Guam since August of last year. I wrote a post titled "Six Crashes" in March of this year, providing the information on each of the incidents. For some of these incidents the aircraft were lost, for others just damaged or an accident took place.

B-52 Bomber
July 2008
Crashed 30 miles northwest of Apra Harbor

B-1 Bomber
March 2008
Collides with two emergency vehicles during a landing

Feb. 2008
Crashed two miles northeast of Ritidian

B-2 Bomber
Feb. 2008
Crashed shortly after takeoff at Anderson Air Force Base

Helicopter Sea Combat - 25
September 2007
Crashed during a training mission at Fena

2 F/A - 18 Hornets
August 2007
Collide during Valiant Shield traning, are able to land

F/A 18C Hornet
August 2007
Crashed 400 miles southeast of Guam

In the next six years, the massive military increases to the island will only make incidents such as this, more likely and possibly more dangerous.

Speaking of these sorts of things on Liberation Day is an almost unholy thing, esta hu tungo'. However, it is my hope that the idea that Robert Underwood proposed in his article "Red, Whitewash and Blue: Painting over the Chamorro experience" can someday be true. In his article Underwood argues that when Chamorros head out each Liberation Day and wait by the side of Marine Drive, waving flags, and acting in an almost super-patriotic way, they are not really celebrating the United States military or the United States, but rather themselves and their own survival.

This is a dream, but wishful dream. Anyone who looks at Guam today knows that this is not true. If it was, then what I am proposing we reflect on right now wouldn't be rejected, wouldn't be called anti-american or unpatriotic. It might be difficult, but it would be recognized as something critical that we consider. Liberation Day has become a holiday, a sort of huge orgy of patriotism that ends up continually increasing the presence and the intimacy of the American military in our lives on Guam. It creates the conditions for uncritical thinking, and therefore keeps all conditions status quos, ensures that no one can question the place of the military on Guam.

What Liberation Day should be, is a place where we do actively question the role of the military on Guam, where we do reflect accurately on its history and its impact (both positive and negative) on our island. If that were to take place, it would move us far closer to the spirit and meaning of liberation, instead of where we are at now, which is simply celebrating America, even at the expense of our island's economy, health, infrastructure and security.


Crash of B-52 bomber off Guam kills at least 2
By JAYMES SONG – 11 minutes ago

HONOLULU (AP) — The Air Force says at least two crew members are dead after the crash of a B-52 bomber off Guam.

Rescue teams are searching a vast area of the Pacific Ocean on Monday for the remaining four airmen.

The Coast Guard says six vessels, three helicopters, two F-15 fighter jets and a B-52 bomber are involved in the search.

The military says the B-52 was en route to a flyover in a parade when it crashed about 9:45 a.m. about 30 miles northwest of Apra Harbor. The plane was based at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

HONOLULU (AP) — Rescue crews were searching a vast area of floating debris and a sheen of oil Monday for crew members of an Air Force B-52 bomber that crashed off the island of Guam, officials said.

At least two people from the bomber's six-man crew were recovered from the waters, but their condition was not immediately available, the Coast Guard said.

Maj. Stuart Upton, a Pentagon spokesman, said the aircraft was unarmed.

Six vessels, three helicopters, two F-15 fighter jets and a B-52 bomber were involved in the search, which had covered about 70 square miles of ocean, said Coast Guard spokeswoman Lt. Elizabeth Buendia.

"We have an active search that's going to go on throughout the night," she said Monday. The Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force and local fire and police departments were involved.

The B-52 bomber based at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana was en route to conduct a flyover in a parade when it crashed around 9:45 a.m. Monday about 30 miles northwest of Apra Harbor, the Air Force said.

The Liberation Day parade celebrates the day when the U.S. military arrived on Guam to retake control of the island from Japan.

The Air Force said a board of officers will investigate the accident.

The accident is the second for the Air Force this year on Guam, a U.S. territory 3,700 miles southwest of Hawaii.

In February, a B-2 crashed at Andersen Air Force Base shortly after takeoff in the first-ever crash of a stealth bomber. Both pilots ejected safely. The military estimated the cost of the loss of the aircraft at $1.4 billion.

The B-52 is a long-range, heavy bomber that can refuel in mid air. Since the 159 foot-long bomber was first placed into service in 1955, it has been used for a wide range of missions from attacks to ocean surveillance. Two B-52s, in two hours, can monitor 140,000 square miles of ocean surface.

According to the Air Force's Web site, the B-52 Stratofortress has been the backbone of the manned strategic bomber force for the United States for more than four decades. It is capable of dropping or launching the widest array of weapons in the U.S. inventory, including cluster bombs and precision guided missiles.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Hafa na Liberasion? #12: Tumutuge'

I haven't been posting much lately, and I've been out of phone and email contact with most everyone lately since I've been struggling to finish an article that I'm writing about American colonialism, war and Chamorro resistance.

The article is taking longer than I had anticipated and I'm now two days past my deadline.

I won't be writing anything new on this blog for a few days, because right after this I've got my dissertaton to write as well.

Comic Con is next week and I swore to myself that I would only be able to go if I finished drafts of at least two of my chapters before the first day. So far I have one and a half done. If I can just finish this article in the next day or so, I should be fine for the remaining half of my second chapter. I'm thinking about dressing up for the event. With not much time left, I don't think I have many cosplay options. One suggestion ginnen i che'lu-hu Si Jack is Tsume from Wolf's Rain. Hmmmm, hekkua'.

I've been so wrapped up in writing about i tiempon Chapones, gera, yan pinadesin Chamoru that I've almost completely forgotten that Liberation Day is just around the corner. I don't know how everyone else intends to spend Liberation Day, but since I'm in San Diego, with a dissertation to write, I will be spending it writing about the negative impacts of American colonialism, militarism and imperialism on Chamorros.

Just to get the blog fresh, thought I'd post a section from the article I'm working on. I've chosen to share the section on the shifts that take place in Chamorro consciousness because of World War II, where an island full of people who did not think of themselves as Americans and really didn't care about being Americans, are suddenly transformed into an island full of people who could imagine themselves as being nothing other than American!

Hope you find it interesting, I'll post more details later on when, where and if it's getting published.


At the start of World War II, we see a Chamorro entangled in American colonialism, but ultimately a sovereign subject, one which does not accept American control over its fate or its identity. As Guam historian Robert Underwood notes, prior to the start of the war, “the Chamorro people were not Americans, did not see themselves as Americans-in-waiting, and probably did not care much about being American.”[1]

Just a few years later in a 1944, an American news article would proclaim that the Chamorros of Guam were most definitely Americans, and exceptional ones at that, as they possessed a “patriotism would put many a US citizens to shame?”[2] How did such a drastic shift take place? All answers point to the brutal experience that Chamorro endured for 32 months under Japanese occupation.[3] During this period, hundreds of Chamorros were killed through massacres, executions, bombings.

Chamorros were forced out of their homes to make way for Japanese soldiers and officers, and could at any moment be the subject of physical beatings or humiliations. An unknown number of Chamorro women were raped, and the entire island was enslaved in order to provide food for the occupying Japanese military. Chamorros were prohibited from speaking English, and were often beaten or executed if the Japanese suspected that they were in anyway assisting the Americans.

The Japanese claimed to have expelled the United States so that they could include Chamorros in the brand new propserous empire comprised of all the Asiatic (and Pacific) peoples. However, as their occupation of Guam become progressively more and more brutal Chamorros saw through this rhetoric very quickly.[4]

The United States military would return to re-occupy Guam in 1944. Their invasion which began on July 21st, would be preceded by a massive bombing campaign which resulted in more Chamorro deaths and whose intention was to destroy every structure on the island. The intentions of the United States in returning to Guam were far from altruistic, and despite what mythology has been created today by both the military and Chamorros, Guam was not retaken to liberate the Chamorro people from Japanese oppression.[5] That was just a fortunate byproduct of a broader military strategy. Given its valuable geographic position the edge of Asia, Guam was considered to be a key base in continuing the military push Westward against the Japanese.

In her article “Psyche Under Siege: Uncle Sam Look What You’ve Done to Us,” Chamorro feminist scholar Laura Souder provides one possible explanation for this drastic shift.[6] She notes that despite the fact that America’s intentions were not altruistic, they did nonetheless space Chamorros from any further massacres, beheadings or forced labor under the Japanese. She contends that given the prominence of reciprocity in Chamorro culture at the time, this liberating gesture by the United States, would be treated just as if it were some other generous social act or form of assistance, and use the concept of chenchule’ to respond. Chenchule’ is a sort of active family/clan memory which recalls different individual and collective acts of generosity, reciprocity, obligation and responsibility.[7] The intentions of the United States are irrelevant. What matters is the massive debt that is incurred when this “invasion of Guam” is incorporated into the worldview of Chamorros.[8]

Thus, even after having their island and way of life destroyed both by Japanese brutality and American indiscriminate bombing, Souder states that Chamorros offered up what they could, “In deeply felt acts of Chamorro reciprocity, our people extended the most valuable of their possessions, albeit the only possessions they had to give- land and their very spirits, to Uncle Sam.”[9]

This theorization is attractive, but can be deceiving. It gives the Chamorro a form of agency in this desperate and disastrous moment of their history. It provides an indigenous explanation for the radical shift in how they understood their relationship to their colonizer, by arguing that the intimacy that emerges from the war, is the choice of Chamorros and not necessarily a victory for American colonialism.[10]

But as this explanation provides a semi-sovereign space for Chamorro, it is deceiving, since the drastic change that takes place in Chamorros, happens precisely because of the loss of that sovereign space. What happens during the trauma of the Japanese occupation is that the hegemonic idea amongst Chamorros that they exist independently of the United States evaporates and is quickly replaced with a new-enhanced version of the pre-war colonial assertion of Chamorro nothingness and lack of value. In war, this idea is taken to its next logical step, namely that if the Chamorro is nothing and America is everything, then the Chamorro cannot survive without the United States.

During World War II, or i tiempon Chapones, Chamorro experiences of forced labor, concentration camps and drunken massacres, all help instigate a comparison of colonialisms, through which the American brand emerges fresh, innocent and freedom-smelling.[11]
The racist and colonial, self-aggrandizing narratives that sought to colonize Chamorros during the pre-war era, were suddenly no longer abstract, silly or hypocritical. As 22,000 Chamorros sought to weather the typhoon of Japanese occupation, they found themselves now actively clinging to the ideas that America was great, was powerful and most importantly was their master, their savior, who would use its great military might to protect them. When American returns and reoccupies the island in 1944, these narratives have gained sudden incredibly consistency. The self-aggrandizing stories of the Naval greatness, and therefore by default the colonial slander of Chamorro backwardness and need for civilizing, all achieved the status of being hegemonic truths. The ideas that the Chamorro is static, incomplete, dependent were no longer a rogue narratives in Guam, which Chamorros refused to engage with, but had now become incredibly intimate ideas, which pierced the very core of how Chamorros perceived themselves. Therefore, the Chamorro which is “liberated” in World War II is no longer the indifferent native whose life is a daily struggle to passively resist and avoid their colonial master. The Chamorro is now that colonial thing which is always dependent, always in need of intervention, and always of course, in need of some sort of liberation.

We can perceive this change in Chamorro identification through an August 10, 1944 letter written by six Chamorros expressing their gratitude to the United States for saving their people from the Japanese. As these Chamorros commend the President of the United States and the Commander of the Pacific Fleet, Admiral Charles Nimitz for the liberation of their island, they inadvertently articulate the new subordinated subjectivity of Chamorros.

Five of these six signatories were Chamorros who would be considered manakhilo’ in terms of social standing and ginefsaga’.[12] All six had also found comfortable niches in the pre-war colonial regime, whether as judges, administrative officials or educators, and would continue in these privileged roles after the war.[13]

In this letter, they claim to express “on behalf of the people of Guam” the “heartfelt thanks” the Chamorro people feel for the American recapture of Guam by “the strong and invincible forces under [Admiral Nimitz’s] command.[14] Beyond the obvious sweet talking of these colonial subjects before their powerful master, the letter’s tone and sentiment expresses very well the changes that were taking place in public discourse after the war, and how the relationship between the Chamorro and the United States would be understood. In offering their thanks, the authors of this letter refer to the United States as “our common nation,” despite their cognizance that the United States in almost every sense of the word, meaning government, people, media, didn’t feel that way, and in 1944 Chamorros were still colonial subjects who lived at the whim of the United States Navy. The letter goes on to describe how the only thing that maintained the Chamorros’ mental and physical health was the power of American ideas and the American military. According to the letter, “what kept us throughout the thirty two months of Japanese oppression was our determined reliance upon our mother country’s power, sense of justice and national brotherhood.”[15] Although the Chamorro clearly survives World War II, this letter indicates the terms and contractual limits of that life, as it will always appear to be an effect of the United States.[16]


[1] Robert Underwood, “Teaching Guam’s History in Guam High Schools,” in Guam History Perspectives, ed. Lee Carter, Rosa Carter, William Wuerch (University of Guam, Mangilao, Guam, 1997), 7.
[2] Crecencis Cespedes, America to the Rescue, 1994, 48.
[3] The most complete account of the Chamorro experience on Guam during World War II is, Tony Palomo, Island in Agony, (Self-published, Hagatna, Guam, 2004).
[4] Statement taking over Guam.
[5] Camacho
[6] Laura Torres Souder, “Psyche Under Siege: Uncle Sam, Look What You’ve Done to Us.” Sustainable Development or Malignant Growth? (Suva, Fiji. Marama Publications, 1994), 193-194.
[7] According to Robert Underwood, “Reciprocity is the optimal value in Chamorro culture; you assist and you expect assistance in return; you sacrifice now so that someone will sacrifice for you later; you give chenchule’ now in the full expectation of receiving chenchule’ in your time of need or the need of your loved ones later on.” Uncle Sam, Sam My Dear Old Uncle Sam, Won’t you Please Be Kind to Guam, Thinking Out Loud Lecture Series. University of Guam, Mangilao, Guam. 20 August 2003.
[8] Brandon Cruz, “Debt of renaming road imposes on Guahan.” Pacific Daily News, 10 February 2004.
[9] Souder, 193.
[10] For other interventions which take on the same sort of intervention in terms of revealing agency see, Robert Underwood, “Red, Whitewash and Blue: Painting over the Chamorro Experience,” Pacific Daily News, 17 July 1977, 6-8. and, Vicente M. Diaz, “Deliberating “Liberation Day”: Identity, History, Memory and War in Guam,” Perilous Memories: The Asia Pacific War(s). T. Fujitani, Geoffrey M. White and Lisa Yoneyama Eds., (Duke University Press, Durham, North Carolina, 2001).
[11] Tiempon Chapoñes: Literally “the Japanese time.”
[12] Manakhilo’: Elite or rich person; Ginefsaga’: Wealth
[13] Francisco Baza Leon Guerrero, Vicente Camacho, Agueda Johnston, Jose Manibusan, Jose Roberto and one name I can’t read.
[14] Don Farrell, Liberation – 1944, (Micronesian Productions, Tamuning, Guam), 181.
[15] Ibid.
[16] Michael Lujan Bevacqua, The Scene of Liberation, Paper presented at the 14th Biennial Asian Pacific American Student Conference, Oberlin, Ohio, 17 February 2006.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Ayuda South End Press!

I came across a post on my friend Maile's blog the maile vine, where she posted a request for support recently made by South End Press. I'm posting the entire request letter below for you to check out and learn more about their situation.

This year, the financial woes of Borders bookstores have hit South End Press especially hard. As a way to deal with its own troubles, Borders returned massive amounts of books. This means fewer copies of classics by South End authors like bell hooks, Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, and Vandana Shiva on the shelf for book browsers to happen upon. And as Borders returns came at the same time as end-of- semester returns it also means that for several months South End Press will receive no payments from our trade distributor–our main source of income. It hurts living paycheck to paycheck, especially when the checks don’t come.

Our worry about how to deal with the immediate cash crisis saps time that we would otherwise spend on publishing and promoting new books, and on trying to do our part in building a better world. For more than 30 years, we have found ways to carry on. We are committed to surviving this crisis, but we need your help to ensure that we can keep publishing new titles. The Right has strategically funded its own presses and media; the left must do the same.

This is why we’re inviting you to join the CSP Movement: we can’t afford to confuse independence with isolated individual efforts. South End has remained independent only because of the success of our community interdependence.

The ability of South End Press to sustain democratic movements advancing social and economic justice pivots on a community-based model. So does the fact that we manage our own labor collectively, that we work daily to invert the pernicious hierarchies of the publishing industry, that we try to create the change we hope to see in the broader world. So does the fact that we don’t answer to a corporate marketing and sales department, that while we too are struggling to survive in a capitalist system our mission remains the same: to publish books we believe in, books that bring critical, radical perspectives to bear on issues that matter. None of this would be possible without the support of an entire community of readers, activists, ruminators, and dreamers.

But community starts with people. With you. And with me. Consider this: it costs roughly $30,000 just to produce one new book, even with a lot of donated labor. That’s a big number for most of us, maybe even feels impossible to visualize. But that’s where the power of us, and Community Supported Publishing Movement, comes in: If you join the official CSP program, that’s building toward our goal of 1000 enrolled members by the end of the year. That means that we could produce at least 8 books like the recent groundbreaker The Revolution Will Not Be Funded. And if South End Press were no more, who would be willing to publish the next Exile and Pride: Queerness, Disability and Liberation; Ain’t I a Woman; or Outsiders Within: Writing on Transracial Adoption? Censorship takes many forms.

South End Press needs many $10, $25, $50, $100, and $500 contributions to put a new book into the world. We have finished manuscripts waiting to be produced, but we might not have the money to print and promote them. Please respond soon, as we are facing our worst times in the coming months. Your membership in the CSP movement will ensure that South End continues advancing our movements for social justice; not because there’s a market for it but because we demand it.

I hope you'll take some time, and some of your money (and or like me credit) and support them. Sen mangge este na inetnon. Gof impottante i che'chon-niha. Put fabot, ayuda siha. Yanggen gaikepble hao, fanmamahan lepblo siha.

South End Press is a very good press, and one I've dreamed about being published by for a long time (na'funhayan i eskuela-mu fine'nina!). As a grad student I often tell myself that I'm so strapped for money that I have to buy the cheapest crap in order to get by. But I'm slowly learning that it would be far better (even if it costs more) to invest my meager monies in important social justice/alternative projects such as South End.

So on the advice of Maile, I purchased a few books from South End, most notably the volume Islands in Captivity, which is drawn from testimony given at the 1993 Peoples' International Tribunal, which was organized primarily to commemorate the centennial of the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom, but also included evidence of other American crimes. I difunton Angel Leon Guerrero Santos was present at this event and provided testimony as to American colonialism in Guam. I've heard from others about his time there, but never actually read his statement. I'm really looking forward to getting my copy and finally checking it out.

Another book that I was very interested in and ended up purchasing is Manifestos on the Future of Food and Seed, edited by Vandana Shiva. As I prepare to move back to Guam for the next year, I am starting to pay more attention to the issues of sustainable agricultural and farming. An July 15th Pacific Daily News article titled "Farmers Face Difficulties," outlines how rising costs of supplies and the inconsistent market for fresh fruits and vegetables on Guam is making farming a more and more difficult vocation. The majority of Guam's fruits and vegetables are imported from off-island, and grocery vendors tend to only purchase local foods while waiting for off-island shipments to arrive. This preference for off-island goods makes it difficult to sustain a local farming economy.

My family has some small plots of land in Talo'fo'fo', and I'm determined to try and plant some small gardens there, as experiments or test runs, in hopes for eventually building a larger communal farming operation there.

When I was a young boy on Guam and my family lived in Talo'fo'fo' we had a small pineapple farm on this property. Depending on how much time I have on my hands (and with my dissertation still waiting to be written, probably not much), this might not be an option, but I would still like to eventually build something on the property. Before I was born, my great grandfather Tun Emo' (Kabesa) farmed on the land and on other parcels outside of the village. I have heard so many stories about my great grandfather and his love for the land, and so I would like to in someway carry on that tradition. I'm hoping that this book will give me some insight before moving forward with this.

I also purchased When the Prisoners Ran Walpole, just out of curiousity. My male' Nicole Santos gave me several years ago, a copy of Are Prisons Obsolete? by Angela Davis. Prior to reading that book I hadn't heard about the prison abolitionist movement, and never really considered that there were alternatives to the modern system of punishment and incarceration. Every once in a while I enjoy reading up on this, and so this book sounded very interesting in that regard.

One other reason that I'm supporting South End Press is a selfish and self-serving one. I have a chapter in a book that they will hopefully publish sometime in the next year. In 2004 I was fortuante enough to be invited to attend and present at the Sovereignty Matters conference at Columbia University. Later, my paper "Everything You Wanted to Know About Guam, But Were Afraid to Ask Zizek" was accepted to be published in a volume comprised of papers presented at the conference, titled Sovereign Acts.

According to the editor Frances Negron Muntaner, who was also the main organizer for the 2004 conference, the volume was supposed to be published this August, but it doesn't look like that will happen. I'm really hoping it does get published soon, since it will be an important companion to an existing text which was derived from a conference with the exact same name. Last year the volume Sovereignty Matters: Location of Contestation and Possibility in Indigenous Struggles for Self-Determination was published. It featured for those concerned with Guam and Chamorro issues, an article by Chamorro sociologist Michael Perez titled "Chamorro Resistance and Prospects for Sovereignty in Guam." The piece is a good history of the recent anti-colonial movements that have taken place on Guam, especially at the international level, meaning dealing with the United Nations.

I think that my piece in the Sovereign Acts volume will be a good addition to that historical discussion the piece starts. My paper is much more theoretical and relocates sovereignty in different spheres, away from the more abstract, mainstream versions. I've pasted below, an excerpt from the article:


Very few people know this but we are currently living in the 2nd decade of United Nation’s efforts to officially eradicate colonialism.[1] While colonialism is something which is often invoked as a metaphor, a faded, worn and dirty, dirty lens through which the world today is politicized, implying that either something which was banished has returned and must be sent back to the abyss, or that it has evolved into a more hybrid, and dangerous creature, it is important to remember that it still exists.[2]

Those who seek to articulate oppression or injustice use “colonization” to make clear the inequality of a relationship, the extension of such violence and exploitation to a structural level, and also draw a clear genealogical connection to the brutal imagery of previous ages of domination.[3] On the other end of the spectrum, we find the assertion of a Tony Blair aide in 2003, that precisely what the world needs now, is colonialism.[4] The decolonized and developing world is failing to meet the promise of the international fraternity it was allowed to join, and so for those seeking to wield the sword of Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri’s Empire, they are infected with a hearty longing for colonialism.[5]

For those then who continue to swim in colonialism proper, which is a group comprised primarily of small island non-nations, such as Guam, American Samoa and Puerto Rico, their lot is an comfortable, curious and yet maddening one all at once. In a world which has “gotten over” colonialism, but where the “failures” of decolonization seem to create epidemics of imperialistic nostalgia amongst both the formerly colonizer and colonized, ambiguous political status of Guam has been called by Guam scholar Robert Underwood, a comfortable one, but as Guam nonetheless floats atop a sea of banal political inclusions and exclusions, colonial nonetheless.[6] If we were to redefine colonialism to match the nature of a colony such as Guam today, we would quickly abandon discussions marked by terms such as oppression and subjugation and instead trot out terms such as, patriotism, liberation, dependency, banality, ambiguity and strategic military necessity. People on Guam are eligible for some Federal programs like welfare and food stamps, but are not able to vote for President. They can join the United States military, travel freely with a United States passport, and are US citizens whose political protections and rights are not derived from the United States Constitution, but an act of Congress. They do not pay Federal income taxes, and instead of full Senators or Representatives, receive a single non-voting Delegate to the United States Congress.

This ambiguity however isn’t duplicated in strategic military terms, as Guam is clearly one of the most crucial global sites for the projection of American military power, and has been since it was first taken in 1898. Listed by Foreign Policy magazine as one of the six most important US bases in the world, and often referred to by military commanders as things like the “tip of America’s spear” or “an unsinkable aircraft carrier” Guam has been crucial in conflicts from World War II, Korea, Vietnam in securing American economic and strategic interests throughout the Pacific and Asia.[7] At present in light of recent defense compact renegotiations in Asia, Guam is poised to receive the military presence which will be transferred out of bases in South Korea and Japan.[8] By 2014, the estimated total population increase to Guam, combining military personnel, dependents and support staff, will be 55,000, accompanied by a barrage of bombers, unmanned surveillance vehicles, Stryker tanks, and nuclear submarines.[9] The current population of Guam is only 168,000, and 1/3 of its 212 square miles is already controlled by the United States military.

HUGUA – between two deadlocks…
As I Chamorro from Guam, I see my island and its indigenous people trapped in a ghostly place, wedged between two menacing deadlocks. The first is referred to by Slavoj Zizek as “the liberal democratic deadlock,” the second I have often referred to in my work as the decolonial deadlock.”[10] Both of these deadlock insist that no other arrangement of the social or political order is possible or advisable, and therefore in the fear of the world, the island or society regressing into a previous evolutionary form, resist any and all radical or fundamental change.

For the liberal democratic deadlock, we find it best exemplified through the amateurish Hegelian reading of Francis Fukuyama which led him to proclaim the world had reached “the end of History.” [11] The Cold War for Fukuyama represented the last moment of “History” where equal opposites or even comparable antagonists faced off to decide the fate of the world or its course. With the United States the victor, the form of government and society it represents has won as well, there will be no more real changes in the world order, a victor has been declared, and all will either bend and assimilate to its will, or will be broken or obliterated.[12]

The decolonial deadlock is an overall resistance or reticence in Guam today, towards any need or even discussion of Guam’s decolonization. It is an either passive or active hegemonic formation, which circles around the idea that the best possible political and social configuration in Guam has been reached through its colonial relationship to the United States and nothing more need be done. The sort of sinthome or discursive mantra that props up this miasma, is the idea that the Chamorro is impossible, and can only exist as a loyal and dependent appendage of the United States. For Chamorros who accept this premise for life, then there is nothing more horrifying, to be forcefully resisted than decolonization, because of the threat it poses in weakening the influence and interests of the United States in Guam.

In this essay I am interested in exploring this ghostly place of Guam moving from democracy, to leprosy, to family, to tano’, and lastly to resistance, paying particular attention along the way to issues of culture and sovereignty.[13] In terms of culture I want to address both the colonizing and decolonizing realities and potentialities in Chamorro culture. The way it can on one hand constrict and constrain Chamorros by becoming a marker of their pathology and their corrupting influence which inevitably taints the “happy ending” the liberal democratic deadlock promises Guam. In another way however, culture is a political and mobilizing force, especially in the way it cannot help but embody, in passive or active conflict with the stories of necessary American greatness in Guam, an alternative vision, narrative or understanding of the world. My ultimate intent in this essay is to articulate Chamorro culture in Guam as a necessary catalyst for decolonization or assertions/expressions of Chamorro sovereignty, and the means through which the decolonial deadlock there might be broken.


[1] The United Nations, Press Release Reference Paper No. 44, 2 July 2005.
[2] The term “coloniality” has been created in order to address the ways in which imperialist and colonial power remains, despite the spectacle of transferred sovereignty, which characterized the “decolonizing” of the majority of the world’s population over the past century. As I will explain in slightly more detail later in this paper, there is something important and critically useful about maintaining a distinction between those who are still entangled in “colonialism” and those who were in different ways pushed or allowed into “coloniality.” Walter Mignolo, Local Histories/Global Designs: Coloniality, Subaltern Knowledges and Border Thinking, (Princeton, Pinceton, 2000).
[3] This was made clear to me recently during a conversation with one of my friends about a proposal she was submitting for the 2007 US Social Forum regarding Guam and its status as a colony of the United States. While putting her proposal together, she had come across an existing proposal for the forum titled “U.S. Colonialisms.” She contacted the organizer to see what the content of their presentations would be and if it would be possible to join them. Interestingly enough, none of the communities covered by this panel were from the current “colonies” of the United States, but were instead US minority communities which were using the metaphor of “colonialism” to articulate their victimization. After suggesting that Guam would be an important addition to this panel, my friend was rebuffed through the curious argument that “Look, Puerto Rico is a colony, and we haven’t asked Puerto Ricans to be a part of this. Why should we ask Guam?” Tiffany Lacsado, Telephone Communication, 12 May 2007.
[4] Robert Cooper, “The post-modern state,” The Observer, 7 April 2002. Daniel Vernet, “Postmodern Imperialism” Le Monde, 24 April 2003.
[5] Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Empire (Cambridge, Mass. Harvard University, 2001).
[6] Robert Underwood, The Status of Having No Status. Speech presented at the annual College of Arts and Sciences Research Conference. University of Guam, Mangilao, Guam, April 26, 1999.
[7] Daniel Widome, “The List: The Six Most Important U.S. Military Bases,” Foreign Policy,, May 2006. Christian Caryl, “America’s Unsinkable Fleet: Why the US Military is Pouring Forces into a Remote West Pacific Island,” Newsweek International, 26 February 2007.
[8] Gene Park, “7,000 Marines, Pentagon announces shift to Guam,” The Pacific Daily News, 30 October 2005. Clint Ridgell, “What to do with 8,000 Marines?” KUAM,, 2 May 2006.
[9] Elenoa Baselala, “Marines Relocation Angers the Indigenous: They Say It Could Mean the End of Their Race,” Island Business, May 2007.
[10] Slavoj Zizek, Iraq: The Borrowed Kettle, (London, Verso, 2004). Michael Lujan Bevacqua, Everything You Wanted to Know About Guam But Were Afraid to Ask Zizek, (M.A. Thesis, University of California, San Diego, 2007).
[11] Francis Fukuyama, The End of History and the Last Man, (New York, Free Press, 1992).
[12] Slavoj Zizek, Welcome to the Desert of the Real, (London, Verso, 2003).
[13] Tano’: The Chamorro word for land.


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