Showing posts from August, 2009

Isla Para Ladrones

Click this link and check out below the lyrics for a beautiful song titled "Isla Para Ladrones" by the band J.R. Jones.

Its a contemporary sound, but with a curious ancient feel as well. Its a rock song about Chamorros and their long-standing struggles. The title for those who don't know refers to the name that Guam and Chamorros were given by the Spanish, which called them "thieves" and their land an island full of them.

This is a conscious song not just in the sense that it is a rethinking of history and culture and Chamorro identity, but that its also made with the explicit intent that it be used as a tool for the creating of consciousness and the supporting of movements on Guam and amongst Chamorros for their sovereignty and decolonization. According to the band's description this song is "dedicated to our ancestors and to the undying efforts of the Nasion Chamoru. Our intentions with this song is to help promote the spirit of the Nasi…

Acts of Peace: Resistance, Resilience and Respect

Next month a historic event will take place on Guam. A gathering of women activists from ten different regions, (Guam, Okinawa, Japan, US, Puerto Rico, Philippines, The Marshall Islands, Belau, South Korea and Australia) will take place from September 14-19th at the University of Guam. This gathering will be the 7th of its kind, and brings together activists who are working with each other and within their regions to mitigate existing negative impacts of militarization and decrease its influence in the world. The name of this gathering in Chamorro is "CHinemma’, Nina’maolek, yan Inarespetu para Direchon Taotao" which in English translates to, "Resistance, Resilience, and Respect for Human Rights." The link to the conference blog is here.

For those of you who don't know, militarization, as it sounds can refer to a process through which a place becomes inundated with military, power, technology, influence. Guam, since World War II has undergone generational period…

How to Get Rid of an Empire

Three Good Reasons to Liquidate Our Empire: And Ten Steps to Take to Do SoThursday 30 July 2009 by: Chalmers Johnson | Visit article original @ TomDispatch.comHowever ambitious President Barack Obama’s domestic plans, one unacknowledged issue has the potential to destroy any reform efforts he might launch. Think of it as the 800-pound gorilla in the American living room: our longstanding reliance on imperialism and militarism in our relations with other countries and the vast, potentially ruinous global empire of bases that goes with it. The failure to begin to deal with our bloated military establishment and the profligate use of it in missions for which it is hopelessly inappropriate will, sooner rather than later, condemn the United States to a devastating trio of consequences: imperial overstretch, perpetual war, and insolvency, leading to a likely collapse similar to that of the former Soviet Union.According to the 2008 official Pentagon inventory of our military bas…

Guam Resists Military Colonization

Last month I had the privilege of meeting peace and US demilitarization activist Ann Wright while she was in Guam meeting with the group Codepink Osaka. I got to attend the meeting, where they not only talked about what is going on in Japan right now, but also wanted to hear more of the stories of Guam and Chamorros and their particular struggles against US militarization.

The meeting was an interesting one, as translators were used and made communication difficult, but it was still an exciting experience for me. Meeting Ann Wright was a great pleasure. She is someone who I'd seen interviewed on Cable News, read plenty about on the internet and long admired for her willingness to not only speak out against the Iraq War, but even go so far as to resign from her position in the United States State Department after the United States invaded Iraq in 2003. The years since the Iraq War started have been filed with plenty of retired military or diplomatic officers from the US, who now tha…

Act of Decolonization #14: Sota i Manmapongle

As I wrote in my master's thesis in Ethnic Studies, sometimes the key to making decolonization possible, is simply being able to talk about it without one's brain exploding. It is about talking about what sorts of rational things would happen if Guam changed its political status and its political relationship to the United States. As Guam is mired in the decolonial deadlock, most resist vehemently the idea of Guam being decolonized, or being changed at that level. They resist discussing decolonization to keep things from changing, to prevent and preclude even those discussions.

Often times, the strategies in order to prevent the discussion of decolonization from taking place, is to ask questions. They appear on the surface like serious questions, they can be about health care, economy, defense. They are all tied to things which are thought to be essential to life, basic things, and all the person appears to be doing on the surface is asking questions about how things would func…

Taya Este Simana

Despensa yu', but there probably won't be much on this blog for the next few days. I'm starting teaching at UOG in a few hours and so things will be crazy as I finalize my syllabi (syllabuses) and try to familiarize myself with how to teach English Composition ( in addition to the Guam History classes I'm teaching).
I will be back soon though, as there is simply too much going on out there, to not be writing and blogging about it!

I'm F**k**g My Dissertation

Contrary to the rumors that are circulating that I'm already done with my Ph.D. I still have some revisions left to do. Ti dinagi este, lao ti mismo munhayan yu'. I did defend in June, and I did walk in my graduation, but there is still one more big hurdle na bai hu tayoki in order to finish.

As for the revisions, to say that the past month or so of writing has been frustrating is very kind, and is nowhere close to expressing my actual feelings. Some of the revisions are good and will make the dissertation more solid and improve it, others are tedious and I loathe or resist because of the way they came primarily from an antagonistic committee member at my defense. But still I'm forcing myself to work and to write. But its difficult to find time to write for hours or days at a time (especially now that I'm back in Guam). So my writing comes in (as my male' Nicole calls them) chunks. Small or large pieces of time here and there. Maybe a page, a paragraph of something…

Republican Death Trip

Published on Friday, August 14, 2009 by The New York Times
Republican Death Trip
by Paul Krugman

“I am in this race because I don’t want to see us spend the next year re-fighting the Washington battles of the 1990s. I don’t want to pit Blue America against Red America; I want to lead a United States of America.” So declared Barack Obama in November 2007, making the case that Democrats should nominate him, rather than one of his rivals, because he could free the nation from the bitter partisanship of the past.

Some of us were skeptical. A couple of months after Mr. Obama gave that speech, I warned that his vision of a “different kind of politics” was a vain hope, that any Democrat who made it to the White House would face “an unending procession of wild charges and fake scandals, dutifully given credence by major media organizations that somehow can’t bring themselves to declare the accusations unequivocally false.”

So, how’s it going?

Sure enough, President Obama is now facing the same ki…

The Open Veins Beneath the Border

For years while I was living in San Diego, I became accustomed to having "the border" or the border between the United States, California, San Diego and Mexico be a central part of my life and its conversations. Although I was never the most knowledgeable person on border issues, during my time in Ethnic Studies, I read a few books, got to hear from faculty who do the research, heard plenty of stories. As the border represented one of those gaping wounds, that a nation attempts to cover over, by putting police, military units, fences, drones, it was also an ideal intellectual site for talking about issues of violence, the issues of race, citizenship, trade, transnationalism, health.

But at the same time, living in San Diego, so many of these issues were not academic, because the communities were literally right there. As I went to different activist meetings or social justice events, I would hear even more stories and meet more people, who live in the "shadow of the bord…