Saturday, February 28, 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've often used in my work from Laura Souder's seminal article "Psyche Under Siege" which discusses the psychological dependency and feelings of loyalty that Chamorros feel for the United States, that trap them in a subordinate and feeble relationship with it. The quote is commensencial was strikes deep into the bone of every single Chamorro, it is a quote that dictates so much of our lives, how we see ourselves in the world, what we as a people or an island are or aren't capable of. It speaks so much to the predicament of the island today, why a massive unilateral military buildup, which could literally shatter the island, is welcomed and celebrated.

This the logic that pins us down, that insists that we continue to kiss the hand that feeds us, that we never question the mandates of that hand, that we never look past it, but continually submit to it, since there is nothing possible without it.

“Naughty, naughty, you should not bite the hand that feeds you. Remember, life boils down to this, he who holds the purse strings rules the roost.”

I know its impossible, but until the political status of Guam does change, I think that this should be our national anthem. We can even translate it into Chamorro and invite Nine Inch Nails to come and perform at Liberation Day!
Besides, most national anthems are pretty boring, they are sung like droning dirges. I think it would nice to have an anthem that taunts you as you sing it, such as the final verses of the song where shouts over and over "Will you stay down on your knees?"

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

The Hand that Feeds
Nine Inch Nails

You're keeping in step
In the line
Got your chin held high and you feel just fine
Because you do
What you're told
But inside your heart it is black and it's hollow and it's cold

Just how deep do you believe?
Will you bite the hand that feeds?
Will you chew until it bleeds?
Can you get up off your knees?
Are you brave enough to see?
Do you want to change it?

What if this whole crusade's
A charade
And behind it all there's a price to be paid
For the blood
On which we dine
Justified in the name of the holy and the divine

Just how deep do you believe?
Will you bite the hand that feeds?
Will you chew until it bleeds?
Can you get up off your knees?
Are you brave enough to see?
Do you want to change it?

So naive
I keep holding on to what I want to believe
I can see
But I keep holding on and on and on and on

Will you bite the hand that feeds you?
Will you stay down on your knees?
Will you stay down on your knees?
Will you stay down on your knees?
Will you stay down on your knees?
Will you stay down on your knees?
Will you stay down on your knees?
Will you stay down on your knees?






1 comment:

roldy said...

it's a kind of arrested development that stifles the growth of a person by preventing dialogue and critique. and it shifts the perspective from what we want to what others want from us. it parallels domestic violence psychology regarding victims/abusers because in essence, that's what it is: an abusive relationship.

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