Showing posts from February, 2009

Because the Hand that Gives, Rules

Just finished up another long day of writing about Chamorro sovereignty, political status and American colonialism. Five hours non-stop at Java Hut in Oka'. As I wrote last week, when I'm writing, music is essential in keeping me motivated and awake. Today, as I was writing one song in particular came on, and its lyrics clicked for me, with what I was writing.

The song was "The Hand that Feeds" by Nine Inch Nails. And as soon as my mind got coiled into the words, I was reminded of a certain quote from a Chamorro scholar. The song is all about somebody who is stuck in a position of subordination, kneeling before someone who controls them. They don't seem to know anything is wrong most of the time, but these position of being controlled actually leaves them hollow inside. The chorus calls upon the kneeling object of the song to rise up and to bite the hand that appears to feed it, to chew it up and reject their dominance and power.

This reminded me of a quote that I&…

Work in Progress #1 - A Pulpy Painting

Since I've come back to Guam I've been painting a lot more. I'm known on Guam as an artist in addition to be an activist, a writer, a scholar and the grandson of my grandparents. I sold at the Lunar Calendar Festival last month, and also gave out some free art at the Free Art Friday a few weeks ago. I've made about twenty small abstract pieces since the new year and I've already sold or given away half of them. I'm painting a few more this week, and getting them matted and ready for next week's 2nd Isla Art Fair at the University of Guam.

Since all this art stuff is going around in my mind and blood, and generally keeping me from writing my dissertation, I thought I'd share a piece I painted over the summer last year. But first some background.

The small art pieces I sell on Guam are different than what I've been painting over the past few years while living in San Diego. In the states, most everything I paint has been women's faces or sunsets. On…

Democracy and Defense

I should be writing my dissertation, and dumiddide' dumiddide' I am, but there is so much going on Guam right now that always seems to keep me from it. So much of it is related to the military buildup that has been looming on the island's horizon since 2005.

A little more than a year from now, in the summer of 2010, the construction for the proposed military buildup of Guam will "officially" begin. The next few months are thus crucial since the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for that construction will soon be released and a short period will be provided during which we can make comments on the DEIS, and whether or not its realistic, whether or not its comprehensive or detailed enough and lastly whether or not their mitigation suggestions for the impacts that will be caused are worth the ink they are printed with.

Until the DEIS is released, there is plenty to do in terms of organizing events or possibly even protests. Getting the word out in different ways an…

The Fantasy of Balance

Last month, my department at UCSD wrote a statement regarding the Israeli invasion into Gaza. It was posted on our department's website and within a few days our department chair was already getting "polite" harassing emails from pro-Israeli students who felt that their entire foundation in the universe had been shaken because somebody had dared to state a number of very obvious things about Israel and its colonial control over the Occupied Territories. Before continuing, I'm pasting below the statement in question:

Statement on Racial Violence in the Gaza Strip

The faculty and graduate students in the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of California San Diego condemn the most recent actions by the State of Israel in the Gaza Strip, commencing with the air strikes that began on December 27, 2008 and the ground invasions, which started on January 4, 2009. Both have resulted in the death and mutilation of a large number of Palestinian civilians. While Israel …

Kuentos Geek Gi Fino' Chamoru - Rock Star Band

I am a geek and I am a geek about a lot of different things, comics, movies, manga, anime, video games. But the biggest thing that I am a geek about is Chamorro stuff. I love using the Chamorro language, writing in it, singing in it. I love learning all I can about Chamorro things, reading about them, writing about them. So I am un gof dongkalu na geek Chamoru.

But as a big fat Chamorro geek, I often find myself frustrated. Although there are plenty of young Chamorros out there that I can speak to about my geek loves, there is practically no one out there who I can speak to about these things in the Chamorro language. I can speak to my grand parents and plenty of older relatives in Chamorro about some things. For instance I can talk to them about the things they regularly discuss, such as the war (World War II), their childhoods, family stuff, or even The Young and the Restless. But if I want to have a discussion about which is the best Star Trek movie, or which English voice actor doe…

Critiquing the Military Buildup of Guam Part 2

Next week on Tuesday, February 17, 2009, from 5:30 - 7:30 pm, the Univeristy of Guam will host its second "Critiquing the Military Buildup up Forum of Guahan," which brings together government officials and community representatives together to present, share and critique what the next few years and the planned military buildup hold in store for Guam.

I had the privilege of representing Famoksaiyan at the first meeting, and spoke primarily of the need to think through this entire buildup through the lens of colonialism, and hoped that people would stop seeing this has something that we are powerless against and can't do anything about. For more information on the first meeting click here.

For the upcoming forum, the list of presenters are: Representatives from the Governor’s Office, the Chairperson and Vice Chairperson of the Legislative Committee on the Military Build-Up, a UOG professor, and community action groups (I Nasion Chamoru and Conscious Living). As far as I kno…

Congress Moves to Limit Obama's Executive Power

Fihu hu hungok na kalang mana'acha i Democrats yan i Republicans gi lagu. Esta hu tungo' na kalang mamparerehu i dos na ineto guini giya Guahan, lao gi lagu, sa' mas dongkalu i inteno siha yan i tano' siha, guaha diferensia.

Taitai este na tinige' gi pappa' ya puede ha' un komprende sa' hafa hu abobona i intenon Democrat kinu i intenon Republicans. Para ocho anos, i Republicans muna'lamon Si George W. Bush. Ma na'i gui' gusto gi todu i minalago-na. Sen magof hu na matulaika este.


Published on Thursday, February 12, 2009 by
Congress Takes First Step to Impose Limits on Obama's Executive Power
by Glenn Greenwald

Earlier this week, I wrote about the State Secrets Protection Act of 2008, which was co-sponsored by numerous key Senators [including Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton, as well as the Senate Judiciary Committee's Chair (Pat Leahy) and ranking member (Arlen Specter)], and which was approved by the Judiciary…

Free Art Friday

A few weeks ago I was forwarded this article from Dublin, Ireland by Fil Alcon, the owner of the Guam Gallery of Art at the Chamorro Village:

Out of cash? Pick up free art on streets of Dublin
Fri Jan 23, 2009 11:33am EST

DUBLIN (Reuters Life!) - The financial crisis has hit Ireland especially hard, so Dubliners will appreciate getting a little surprise for nothing. The "Free Art Friday" movement has reached the Irish capital.

The group, with "no known creators or hierarchy," asks established artists and amateurs to leave pieces of art at random places -- on benches, cash machines or telephone booths -- for the next passer-by to pick up and take home if they wish.

It is absolutely free but there is a note with an e-mail address at the back if they want to thank their donor.

"Free Art Friday is a terrific idea," said artist Sean Hillen, whose photo montage prints were among the hundreds of items scattered around the city throughout Friday.