Wednesday, February 03, 2010

GUAM DEIS

MINAGAHET ZINE
"GUAM DEIS"
Volume 8 Issue 1
January 10, 2010

Hafa Adai, yan welcome to i mina'kuarenta unu na Minagahet.

While speaking to a friend the other day she remarked that what is happening right now on Guam is the most pivotal moment in our lives, we will find the near future of this island and everyone on it defined by what happens in the next few months and then, the next few years. My friend was of course referring to the massive military buildup which the United States Department of Defense has been planning since at least 2005, and is less than a year away from "officially" starting. My friend went so far as to say that this will be what for us, what I Tiempon Chapones or World War II was for our parents and grandparents. Ti manggaige hit pa'go gi i parehu na klasin gera, lao guaha minagahet gi este na sinangan.
Even if you look objectively at the buildup and what is being planned for Guam and how it will likely be impacted, then this is not hyperbole. Very serious problems loom on the horizon. Guam will, over the next few years be hit with a literal time bomb, meaning that it will be forced to undergo 20 years of natural population growth in just 5. At its peak of military construction Guam's population will increase by 80,000 people. All public services from utilities, to health care, to infrastructure such as roads will all be strained by this increase. Teneki manlinemlem hit gi 2015 put Guahan.
For those of you who don't know, last November, the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the military buildup was released, and the Government and people of Guam have until February 17th to read this document and respond to it. The DEIS is i guinifen i militat, it is basically full of their dreams. The dreams they have for what they want to do to the island, and also dreams meaning how optimistic they are about how limited the negative impacts will be. The DEIS itself is ominous and almost seems to take on a life all its own. It is more than 8,000 pages long, and as you pour through its pages, you can actually feel the life being drained from you. The sheer volume of what Guam will face itself should send everyone into the streets to protest. Not only will at least 8,600 Marines and their 9,000 dependents be transferred from Okinawa to Guam, but the buildup also entrails the creation of a missile defense task force, dredging of Apra Harbor to make way for an aircraft berth and also massive amount of construction for housing and land to be leased or bought to make way for training and firing ranges. All in all the DEIS estimates that the military, in addition to the 30% of the island they already control, will seek to obtain at least 2300 more acres.
It is crucial that during this short period of comment for the DEIS, that people on Guam make known their concerns, their discontent and their frustration. There are a multitude of ways in which we can do these things, both within the system and without it. Those who are interested can read through the DEIS and provide some comments or questions, raise concerns or suggest alternatives and give them all the Joint Guam Program Office before the February 17th deadline. For those who see this commenting process as a farce, and that our comments don't really matter, just as our interests have not value here since Guam wasn't even consulted as to whether or not it wanted or could handle this buildup, there are other venues as well. There are groups who are trying to organize and mobilize people. They are reading through the DEIS and disseminating its contents, picking out the problematic or scary parts so that people who don't have time to scan through an 8,000 page monster of a document can still be informed. They are also planning demonstrations and protests, working to put pressure on Guam's leaders and regulatory agencies, to not just rubber stamp this DEIS, but to actively challenge it.
For those of you who are looking for information, you are in luck as there are a number of websites out there which are actively collecting and disseminating information on the buildup. First off we have the usual suspects the Guam-Guam-Guam Blog, and the Decolonize Guam Blog. But recently two more websites dedicated to a more critical and progressive take on events on Guam ( in particular related to militarization) have appeared. They are Mil-Marianas and We Are Guahan. The Para Guahan website also has information about how to get involved in resisting or critiquing the military buildup.
Put fin, in this issue of Minagahet Zine, I've brought together a number of different articles on the military buildup. One thing that has given me much hope over the past few months, is how many people have appeared (kalang ginne taya' gi hinasso-ku) to not only pass on information, but also speak up and stand out. Since this round of militarization was first announced in 2005, there are been plenty of grumbling on Guam, but very few people writing about it, thinking about it and providing some commentary to the struggle. I'm glad to no longer feel like this is the case, as I now see around me many others who are writing and seeking to articulate in creative and urgent ways, what is happening on Guam now and what lies ahead for us if we don't act now.
Meggai para ta cho'gue, pues sa' hafa sigi un taitai este? Fanhuyong yan fanachu!
Sahuma Minagahet yan Na'suha Dinagi

Sahuma
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ARTICLES

The Real Story Behind the Marianas Military Buildup

by Koohan Paik
A Military Buildup Fact Sheet

"The Military Buildup is NOT a “done deal," as the Pacific Daily News would have us believe... So, it isn't a "done deal" after all. It is a future that can be shaped by the strategy and foresight of the people, starting at the grassroots."
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Who Can We Trust?

by Kie Susuico
Testimony Given to the 30th Guam Legislature

"This is why we cannot allow Pagat to become another name on the list of places where the u.s. has uprooted our people and severed our connection to the land, wiping all traces of our history off the face of the island like they've done in Sumai, Fena, Me'po, Ypao, Ulunao, Litekyan, Jinapsan, Talage and Machananao, just to name a few."
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Guam Resists Military Colonization

by Ann Wright
From Common Dreams

"Guam officials said that they too have been perturbed about the extraordinarily high expenditures on US military base facilities, when the Government of Guam is strapped financially. The officials said they were amazed and horrified when they learned that the Air Force recently built an on-base animal kennel for $27 million, with each animal space costing $100,000, when locally, the government is unable to provide sufficient infrastructure for its citizens, much less animals."
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Militarization on Guam and the Erasing of Places

by Sasha Davis
Written after a research trip to the Marianas in 2007

"These military plans view Guam through a distinctly colonial eye. Preserving historical sites, maintaining the island’s environmental integrity, continuing access for cultural practices, establishing original land ownership; these factors are erased through the representations of place portrayed in the maps and plans the military produces. What is left off these maps? What exists under the red dashed lines of future firing ranges?"
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Hi! We're Guam, Nice to Meet You

by Desiree Taimanglo Ventura
From The Drowning Mermaid

"This Organic Act is something that you really need to understand if you are trying to give us advice. You can't tell us to run to our local government, because the truth is... our local government isn't real. Our governor and locally elected leaders do not really run the island. Our island is actually run by the Department of the Interior. This means that any laws made on Guam can be reversed by Congress. The United States has complete power over us; and can legally do anything they want with the island and its people."
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Guam as a Modern Day Bikini

by Patrick Thibodeau
From the Guam Blog

"Guam has no choice in the build-up. The interests of the people of Guam are secondary to U.S. strategic needs. The people of Bikini lost their entire island. Guam’s people have lost a third of their island to the military and stand to lose more. Disfranchised from voting and out of mind in Washington, Guam has no more voice in the build-up than the Bikini islanders did."
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Negotiating Our Future

Tinige' Si Michael Lujan Bevacqua
From Guamology

"There are always two ways in which a community can respond to a crisis, the first is to cling to the ways things are and just pray that all will be okay. The second is to try something different. Even if it seems radical, crazy or impossible, a period of difficulty can be the best incentive to try something else, to work to free yourself from dependency or work to build your own sustainability. As Guam faces this military buildup and the possible benefits, changes and damages that it will bring to Guam, which path do you think we should take?"
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Chamorros Must Weigh Pros and Cons of Self-Determination

by Wyld Hook
"When the Chamorros of Guam are debating future political status, they must consider the pros and cons. Many point to the trickle of Military Spending and sub-standard social assistance as invaluable benefits that the U.S. bestows upon the Guamanians. However, it’s the United States that benefits far more from Guam ."

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Hita Guahan! Chamorro Testimonies at the United Nations - 2008

Hita Guåhan is a compilation of testimonies presented by Chamorus from Guåhan to the United Nations in New York in 2008. These testimonies carry on the legacy of more than 20 years of Chamorus who’ve appealed to the United Nations on behalf of Guam and Chamoru human rights. It can be downloaded free of charge by clicking the above link.

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