Showing posts from January, 2010

Buildup/Breakdown #9: Okinawa

Amidst all the discussion of US - Japanese relations and the feelings of Guam being excluded from this process, or being yet again an object of US militarization, its easy to forget about the place where the Marines are coming from to Guam. Namely Okinawa.

Early on in the buildup process, people on Guam didn't know much about Okinawa, and despite years of this "transfer" looming over our heads, we still don't know very much. Those who have served there have some recollections of life there, but for the most part our imagining of Okinawa is defined solely by the premise that the people there, don't want the Marines there anymore and are thus sending them here. Some high-profile rapes by US Marines of Okinawan women and young girls have helped to cement this impression in people's minds. In a way, this lack of information has been helpful in pushing people to be distrusting of the buildup and those who are planning it. The lack of a strong connection with Okinaw…

Buildup/Breakdown #8: Something for Everyone

As I said when I was interviewed for the short documentary below on the military buildup, there is a place for everyone on this island in terms of critiquing this buildup.

When you look at the Draft Environmental Impact Statement itself, and its thousands upon thousands of pages, even if you are overwhelmed or feel intimidated by its massive size, paralysis or apathy is the last thing you should be feeling. The buildup is so massive and will not only affect, but damage so many things, so that there is simply no room for any conscious detatchment. If the buildup was something which was going to be merely good for Guam, or be some good, mixed with some bad, then the DEIS would be a few hundred pages long, or would be split up into several different documents. But when each of us either look at that document (ya hongge yu', esta meggai hu taitai yan atan ayu), or even just hear about its scope and delirious depth, then we must realize, that there is something in that tome for each and…

Chamorro Public Service Post #15: Pues Adios, Esta Ki

A lot of people end up visiting this blog because they are searching around the internet for lyrics to Chamorro songs. Over the years I’ve pasted a couple here and there, but haven’t really kept up with it as much as I should. I complain all the time about there not being enough internet presence for the Chamorro language and for Chamorro thoughts and so I feel bad when I inadvertently contribute to that absence.

På’go, gaige yu’ gi i gima’ iyo-ku grandfather. Desde i ma’pos’ña na mes, kumakatre gui’. Kana’ hineart attack gui’, ya sumaga’ gui’ gi i espitåt para tres meses. Mana’huyong gi i ma’pos na mes, ya sumåsaga’ gui’ gi i gima’, lao ti ha hulat tumohgue sin ayuda. Kada na puengge måtto yu’ gi i gima’-ña para i tetno-hu pumulan gui’.

Gi este na tiempo, tåya’ internet, pues siña hu usa este para bai hu fanhasso. Manhasso yu’ put i lina’la’-hu pat i guinife-hu. Buente i chinathinasso-ku siha lokkue’.

Tonight, I was trying to figure out what would be the best song to share the lyrics fo…

Buildup/Breakdown #7: Youtube

I've written over the past week in various ways, that the organizing against the military buildup on Guam (or the critiquing of it) has helped spur alot of new activity and new creativity. One of the primary outlets that we've seen this energy and this concern expressed is through Youtube.

The uploading of footage or clips of people giving some very insightful and emotional testimony has been the largest presence, but there have been small attempts by others to create short videso to make use of the medium and also get the word out about what is going on.

In the past three weeks, these videos have all together been viewed thousands of times, and for Guam related videos which don't involve nearly naked women or high school children beating each other up, this is a very big deal. Across Youtube, you'll find ways in which people are using it for critical and progressive causes, but Guam and Chamorros have yet to take advantage of this yet (except for a few scattered examp…

Teaching Ta'lo

If I don't post for a few days, its not because nothing is going on.
Its because I started teaching again this week at UOG and it means I still haven't finished my syllabi for my five classes.
Puede ha' para bai hu na'funhayan todu, yan puede ha' lokkue' este na semester maolekna kinu i ma'pos.

Oceania is not complete without Guam, and Guam is not free...

It is interesting when I periodically check up on other territories and colonies to see how their state of affairs are going. Sometimes it is an experience akin to looking in the mirrior and discovering that the reflection, which looks so much like you is in truth somebody else! Other times it feels like reading a book which everyone around you tells you that you will love, that is totally everything you look for in a book, which will truly connect with you, but which ends up feeling like a gross invasive, a horrid misrepresentation in the end.
Stalking other colonies can sometimes create in me feelings of jealousy and envy at how much better they have, how much stronger they seem to be, about how much less strategically important they are, or how much more together they are about their issues. And of course, in the cases of some colonies, which are now states, although their indigenous people might claim otherwise, I have to look at them and emit a sigh of relief that I am not in thei…

Buildup/Breakdown #6: Creativity

Chamorro activism on Guam has experienced a huge upsurge in recent weeks because of the fear, concern and anger over the military buildup and the DEIS. There are plenty of new faces out there, new voices, and most importantly plenty of new tactics and strategies being employed.

After the protests and very visible spectacles of Chamorro activists and groups such as Nasion Chamoru from the early and mid 1990’s, it was commonsensical for years to say that that sort of grassroots, nationalistic, progressive and inherently decolonial activism was dead. Although time passed, there were some very important victories, and a few big losses, it didn’t seem like the activists were changing as the island around them changed because of what they had done and accomplished. So for instance, the 1990’s was the decade for vibrant and shocking protests. They weren’t shocking because of any of the particular acts that the protestors conducted, but rather shocking simply because they existed. For an islan…

Minagahet Zine Has Moved

Minagahet Zinewas started at the community website network Geocities in 2003. The space was free, uploading and downloading was easy to use, and at that time, almost everyone who had a website, but wasn't really good at making websites was on there.

Late last year Geocities closed down, leading to the erasing and closing of thousands of peoples' pages. Fortunately I was able to save Minagahet Zine by upgrading its status. Unfortunately, its sister site Kopbla Amerika was not saved, and so I will have to figure out a place to archive and possibly republish the information and articles which could be found there.

So after six years of it being located at "" you can now visit Minagahet Zine at!

I uploaded the latest issue there last week, but I am slowly updating all its archived pages one by one.

Be sure to update your bookmarks!

Ya Si Yu'us Ma'ase nu Hamyo ni' sumapopotte ham desde dos mit tres. Gua…

Buildup/Breakdown #5: Guamanian

I wrote a letter to the editor of The Pacific Daily News about why it seemed that only Chamorros are the one's on Guam who care about things such as decolonization, militarization, colonialism, imperialism, human rights and so on. My response was a pragmatic one, no real suprises there. This is the homeland of the Chamorro people, it has been there home for centuries, for millenia, and so regardless of how much you love the United States, and sleep with caressing your US passport each night, the cold-hard truth is that this land was taken from the Chamorro people in the 17th century, and different colonizers have come up with different claims to owning the island, but they all just try to cover over or legitimize the same old colonial wound. Just like with Native Americans and their various forms of loss and colonial trauma, they may find everyday ways to act like it doesn't matter, or it was all for the better, but it still hurts and there will always be a way in which the cu…

Buildup/Breakdown #4: Tano'

I've quoted this passage before, but its so helpful in explaining Guam's history and contemporary reality, that I have to quote it again. In Robert Underwood's afterword for the book Campaign For Political Rights on the Island of Guam (1899-1950) written by Penelope Bordallo Hofschneider, he makes a crucial point in understanding postwar Chamorro activism or radicalism in Guam. Prior to World War II, the ways in which Chamorros were radicalized, in particular against the United States were far and few between. Individuals who were vocally or openly critical of the United States Navy and its policies were very rare, and only in a handful of families was this critique passed down and became a party of their legacy or identity.

Everything changed however in postwar Guam and the reason was tano' or land. The trauma of the postwar massive landtakings by the United States military became something which could radicalize any Chamorro, from a soldier, to a nurse, a teacher or a…

Buildup/Breakdown #3: The Boonie Stompers

Most people think that a successful social movement or coalition is dependent upon people thinking the same things, coming from the same places, or being on the same page. Its easy to believe this sort of thing, since if let's say we're all Chamorro in a group, or we're all students, or we're all people who play World of Warcraft, we'd all understand each other better and get along better.

Commonsensically, este i minagahet. Yanggen mamparehu i taotao siha, siempre manakonfotme siha. But, when we are talking about a social movement, a public collection of people who are working towards tearing something down, building something and changing a society, the opposite is actually true. Your movement is stronger, the more different types of people are involved, and the more open your group appears to be.

One of the weaknesses of activism on Guam is the impression that those who are involved in it all comes from same place, are all culled from the same social source. They…