Showing posts from 2010

More on Jeju Protests

More updates and information on the situation in Gangjeong on Jeju Island, South Korea.
The first comes from Sung Hee Choi who runs the very informative blog No Base Stories Korea. She is currently in Jeju and working with the villagers of Gangjeong. According to her most recent update, protestors were forcibly prevented from setting up a vigil outside of the Jeju Assembly building, two of the protestors were injured by police. According to Sung-Hee: Yesterday, while I was in the village, the Pan Island Committeee Against the Military Base confronted the Jeju City authorities and police as the city did not allow the activists' tent vigil in front of the Island assembly. One member was arrested and two women - of whom one was greatly wounded in her face - were carried to the hospital. The second comes from the blog Ten Thousand Things, which gives more information on the ecological importance of Jeju and Gangjeong, and why it is a travesty for a Navy base for US and South Korean troo…

Gangjeong Update, Jeju Island, South Korea

I'm writing a post right now about the "beauty" of the current situation in Gangjeong Village on Jeju Island South Korea where the people there have been resolutely resisting the building of a 400,000 square meter base which will be a dock for Aegis Destroyers from the US and South Korean militaries. Protests and civil disobedience were begun to stop construction, 34 people were arrested yesterday and I'm waiting for more details to say more. But in the meantime, I wanted to share some pictures from the current attempts to stall construction and also share a statement of solidarity with the people of Gangjeong from Japan.


【緊急声明】 Urgent statement 긴급 성명


We oppose the construction plan of a navel base on Jeju Island, Republic of Korea.
우리는 남한 제주도 해군 기지 계획 건설에 반대합니다

The government of ROK is about to force through the startup of …

Third World Native America

I want to write a longer post about how I detest the use of the "Third World" trope to try to call attention to how unfortunate or wrong things are in the United States. One of the reasons why I loathe it is because so much of that complaint is secret exceptionalist strain, an assumption that of all the places in the world where bad things should happen, none of it should be in the United States. Whether natural disasters, shootings and violence, social breakdown, government corruption, whenever something which tests the cognitive limits of people in the United States, the Third World trope emerges to provide some sense of what happened. It is a way of letting a bit of chaos into the homeland, some nasty, brutish, dark slivers of discourse get to sneak in and give some color and some understanding to something which is supposed to be beyond the white-picket-fence-comprehension of Americans. The worst part about this citation of the Third World is how it can help to reinforce…


This week for my column When the Moon Waxes in the Marianas Variety I wrote about video games. I wrote about how for most of my life I harbored a very secret dream, un gof mana'atok na guinife, that somehow, someday the cards of fate fall in place around me and I get the chance to make a living by playing video games that I enjoy.

Although most people know me as an activist, an academic, an artist, most people don't know me as a video game geek. My brothers and I poured plenty of our lives long ago into games like Final Fantasy 3, The Secret of Mana, NBA Live 95 on the SNES. I later poured some more of my life into some Gamecube games like Eternal Darkness, Super Smash Brothers Melee and my first online game Phantasy Star Online. When I started grad school all of this video game playing stopped as I switched my spare time mode from hours staring at the TV screen with a controller in my hands, to hours spent reading books and searching through archives. The only real video gam…

Interesting Week

This past week, in Washington D.C., "Don't Ask Don't Tell" was finally repealed and War Reparations for Chamorros was once again defeated.


Message from President Obama

Friend --

Moments ago, the Senate voted to end "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

When that bill reaches my desk, I will sign it, and this discriminatory law will be repealed.

Gay and lesbian service members -- brave Americans who enable our freedoms -- will no longer have to hide who they are.

The fight for civil rights, a struggle that continues, will no longer include this one.

This victory belongs to you. Without your commitment, the promise I made as a candidate would have remained just that.

Instead, you helped prove again that no one should underestimate this movement. Every phone call to a senator on the fence, every letter to the editor in a local paper, and every message in a congressional inbox makes it clear to those who would stand in the way of justice: We …

Act of Decolonization # 18: Rejecting Colonial Logic

One of the things which has frustrated me about the Chamorro language, as someone who uses it everyday, writes in it and is passionate about its revitalization is how weak our general usage of the Chamorro language is. And when I say weak, I mean how superficial it is. The Chamorro language is a social thing, something used for casual talk, even emotionally important talk, connecting to old friends or elders, but something which fills the time with chatter and banter until people switch to English to talk about more important things.

I often say that we can see the colonization of Guam, its effects in our lives through the way we divide things into the limited and supplementary local and the essential and central colonial. So as I wrote in my masters in Micronesian Studies, even if things are constantly blurred in our lives, there are moments when we make clear distinctions and take strong stands on what is Chamorro and what is not Chamorro. What is local and not local. What is Ameri…

North Korea Threatens World's Remaining Unicron Population; US and South Korea Announce Joint Exercises

The Korean peninsula has been in the news on Guam for the past few weeks after a North Korean attack killed two South Korean Marines and two civilians on the island of Yeonpyeong which both nations claim to be on their side of the border.

I have found the coverage of the issue to be frustratingly simple and incomplete, following the predictable narrative of blaming North Korea for naked aggression despite the fact that the South Korean Government has admitted firing first. They claim they were not directed at North Korea, but just part of a training exercise which was simulating a possible attack on North Korea and involved 70,000 troops near the North-South border.

I traveled to South Korea earlier this year on a research trip in order to interview different communities affected by US bases there and also activists working towards the reunification of the Koreas. My entire trip was completely overshadowed by an earlier incident on the Korean peninsula, the sinking of the South Korea…

Lesson of Peace from Times of War

I wrote about last week that I was working with the Office of Senator Frank Blas Jr. on their Real Stories. Real People. project, which has been working to collect the stories of our manamko' who survived World War II and also push for war reparations with the US Government. Most of the discussion on island around World War II happens around July of each year when the island transforms itself to celebrate Liberation Day. This year the Senator's office wanted to do something different and try and get the island to remember its history and this important event, not when the war ended, but when it began, in December.
Part of my job with the office was conducting researching and helping the Senator write four columns on what sort of lessons we might draw about the war, by looking at it from its tragic and traumatic beginnings, rather than its celebratory and grateful ending. These columns were published in the Marianas Variety over the past month. I've decided to collect them…