Friday, January 29, 2010

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 everyone of us. There is some small glint of damage, some small or big shred of negativity that will touch you and impact you regardless of how much or how little you are paying attention. This is not an issue where only those who are screaming at the tops of their lungs are the ones who will be affected. This is something that everyone from the activist with the sign by the roadside, to the clueless student killing time until they hit the real world, to i amko' hating on their always-absent children will all get hit by.

As with any massive trauma or shock to a system, there are those for whom the impact will be negative, disorientating and something which they don't have the means to mitigate or master, and there will be those who have the resources to make sure that the disaster works to their advantage and is something they can profit from.

My point in saying all this, is that whenever any trauma hits a community or is on the verge of hitting a community, you can make general statements about how it will affect everyone and who it will affect the most. Trauma does not discriminate and always operates with a wide open tent, where anyone and everyone is forcibly welcomed it. The response, the preparation and the reaction should also be as inclusive as possible. In resisting this military buildup, in responding to it, there is a role for literally everyone. As of this moment, there is an open process of commenting on the buildup in which everyone can participate and submit. Soon there will be gatherings and protests at which there is plenty room for all.

This post was spurned by something I just received in my inbox. I know so many different people who are working on their comments or trying to organize others to write comments and send them off. At the University of Guam, all the Guam history professors are incorporating into our classes as the first assignment, the researching and the writing of a comment for the DEIS, and so this process will hopefully bolstered with at least a few hundred more comments (from those who most likely would not have paid attention otherwise).

The email that I received today however had a comment that was written by the 9 year old goddaughter of a friend. After attending a public meeting on the buildup, the 9 year old had asked if her godmother would help her write a comment. The 9 year old spoke her thoughts and her goddmother typed it down. I've pasted the comment below. If you know of anyone, hoben, amko', kalamya ni' palabras pat ma'a'nao nu manunuge', who has similar thoughts or concerns, but not the means to write it themselves, I suggest that you work with them as my friend did. Type it up for them, or help them with their thoughts.


I am a 9 year old girl who lives in Chalan Pago, Guam. I go to school at Santa Barbara Catholic School and one of my favorite hobbies is going to the beach and swimming. I am just learning how to snorkel and I like seeing many kinds of fish. I have gone on dolphin watch trips with my family and seeing the dolphins is one of the best times of my life.

I went to one of the military build up meetings and heard that the the military is going to destroy part of the reef and the home of the sea turtle and the spinner dolphin. I don't want you to do this because I love dolphins and turtles and want them to be here for when I have my own kids. Please do not hurt Guam's reef because it is an important part of our island.

If you destroy the reef, you will be destroying the coral. And also, if a tsunami comes to Guam, the whole island will be hurt because the reef won't be able to protect us. I think you should use what is already available and if your ships are too big, then they should go to some other place, not Guam.

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