Thursday, November 24, 2011

Okinawa Dreams #2: Guam Leads the Way

My trip to Okinawa is a solidarity trip, a networking trip, and in many ways a research trip. It is different than my trips in the past to South Korea and Hiroshima and Nagasaki, because this time I am travelling with a large delegation from Guam. We are all friends and have worked together before on various activist projects and so the time of travelling and waiting passes fairly easily since we always have things to talk or joke about.

One issue which Guam was discussing a great deal when we left, that we have carried with us as we've come to Okinawa, is the recent lawsuit by Dave "Arnold" Davis, suing the Guam Election Commission in Federal Court for not allowing him to register to vote in a self-determination plebiscite. Davis has been threatening this for years, and even tried to get the US Department of Justice to investigate a few years back. They declined. The timing of the lawsuit was no doubt spurred on by the recent revival of decolonization efforts at the Governmental level. For the first time in more than a decade, self-determination and decolonization are on the political table, and while at this point it is pinat rhetoric, the momentum could build, and we could be on the verge of a political status vote in the the next few years. American apologists in Guam, such as Davis, are no doubt concerned, not really because they believe Guam will vote to sever ties with the US, but more so because of the principle of the thing. They refuse to give even an inch of US power over anything, even if it is a simple vote, which on the legal, intellectual and moral merits you cannot argue against. Such is the definition of an apologist. Someone who as the First President Bush noted, will not apology for the US, no matter what the facts are.

For a few days, my blogs had thousands more hits than usual because apparently conservatives were using this blog as an example of the anti-American rhetoric and hatred that Davis is up against in Guam. From messages boards, to blogs, to The National Review, conservatives across the US were clicking on a link that led them here. If my blog allowed anonymous comments I probably would have gotten a thousand terrible conservative cuts to death, with people who had no idea what they were talking about, but simply read something that they didn't like (or were supposed to be enraged at because of how it was presented), and wanted to mouth off about it and connect it to feelings of how they feel like this represents how America is heading in the wrong direction and if THEY were still in charge, it wouldn't.

There has been so much talk about this for the past few days, and although those of us who believe in the self-determination plebiscite as mandated by Guam law na'triste este na asunto. Sa' achokka' mamfitme ham gi i hinenggen-mami, mampos dangkalo yan fotte i US, ya anggen ma kontra ham, ai adai. Sina puru ha' dinimalas para Hami. Siha Goliath, yan Hami dikike'na kinu Si Dabit.

After reading so many articles attacking the self-determination law, all of which contained little to no knowledge or understanding about Guam, I was surprised to find yesterday a random article from a non-local website that actually supported in principle the self-determination law. The article was sent by way of the Reality Zone blog. It comes from a website I have been a longtime supporter and follower of Antiwar.com. My blog has been linked there a few times and I was even quoted once in an article posted there in 2006. The author is Justin Raimondo, who is a libertarian and as such occupies a pretty consistent conservative philisophical and political position, which puts him at odds with almost everything that self-proclaimed political party and cultural conservatives profess to hold dear.

I'll paste the article below for those interested. He is not very knowledgeable about Guam, but at least he looks at the self-determination argument through the legal framework it should be viewed through. Most opponents of the self-determination law see it as deprived rights to people, the rights to an election. Yet the purpose of the election is clearly to exercise a right that is not meant to be held by just anyone who lives in a certain place. If you look at it only through the idea of discrimination and that everyone who lives in a place should have equal rights and the same stake, you are probably ignoring history for very convenient reasons. You are working to cover up the historical inequalities and injustices that the process is meant to finally resolve.

To read the article "Guam Shows the Way" click here.

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