Showing posts from January, 2012

Historic Hagatna

This past Saturday I took my Guam History students for a historical scavenger hunt in the historic area of Hagatna. It was a fun experience as I gave them 10 vague clues that were connected to different things in hopes of forcing them to go around and try to find what connections I was referring to. My students learned far more than they probably thought they would, the most important lesson being a simple one; history is everywhere, and it is always there in layers upon layers. Just because you drive by it or have a vague idea of what is there, it doesn't mean that you know it or understand it. People who have been to Hagatna countless times, found that they basically knew nothing about it.

While I was waiting for the students to finish their rounds I decided to take some pictures of different sites around Guam's capital and formerly largest village. I found a couple things I hadn't noticed before, which is always nice as a historian. Although I may know more than most ab…

Worlds Within Worlds

I don't follow sports much anymore, unless you include eSports as I am an avid spectator of professional Starcraft 2 gaming. I did catch this though earlier on MSN and so I thought to post it here. It isn't really about sports, but more so about politeness and respect for differing opinions and the role that Facebook and other social media plays in terms of creating the public identities of people. As people create a virtual world that is an overlay of their everyday lives, is something lost when they tend to favor their Facebook world instead of the world around them in terms of their expression and the meaning they find in their lives? For example, is something lost when you are sitting in a room with friends talking, but you are continually on your phone chatting with people on your Facebook? Or are both circles the same? Can they co-exist or does favoring one make you value less the other?

I always wonder about this as it is becoming increasingly difficult to get students …

Addicted to Racism

Check out this article below from KUAM. It deals with meetings that the Federated States of Micronesia Association of Guam had in order to draw up some plans on how to deal with violence and crimes that are being attributed to the Micronesian community of Guam, in particular the Chuukese. They even created an education plan with alot of ideas on how to alleviate the social problems within Micronesian communities and those which spill out into the general public.

I don't want to speak to the specific issue of Micronesians in Guam, as the available language and ideas makes it almost impossible to have a productive conversation. The "Micronesian problem" is what it is usually referred to as, and it is a textbook example of how a class or group of people become associated, in a way which becomes too commonsensically and too natural, with the ills of the world.

Every society has problems, and every ethnic group has problems or roles in creating those problems. The problem h…

A Year of Decolonizing Cheaply

Last year I was confirmed as the new Chairperson for the Independence Task Force for the Commission on Decolonization for Guam. The Decolonization Commission is tasked with guiding the process by which Chamorros will exercise their right to self-determination and select the next future status for the island. As part of the Commission there are three task forces, one for each of the three potential options: independence, statehood and free association.

There is pretty much taya' support nowadays for these task forces, but I'm trying to do my best to get things started without any budget. A temporary website will be up soon that myself and my girlfriend are working on. A meeting will hopefully be taking place before the end of the month of Task Force members to start work on creating a position paper on why independence is the best option for Guam. I'm also creating a listserv for events and news related to decolonization and independence.

I have also decided to start a ir…

Think Lightly of Yourself

“The World, Deeply” Michael Lujan Bevacqua
The Marianas Variety

Every once in a while I leaf through the pages of “The Book of Five Rings” by legendary 17th century samurai warrior Miyamoto Musashi. This text, famous for the way it brings together philosophy and strategy, is where I sometimes turn to when seeking some pidasun finayi, or fragments of wisdom. For example, when I find myself at a crossroads in terms of activism, or needing a hint of guidance on how to approach some aspect of community engagement, empowerment or consciousness raising, I find that Musashi sometimes has some great, profound, sometimes vague insights.

Last year during the ideologically turbulent DEIS comment period on the Guam military buildup, I found some solace through Musashi’s notion that you should (in Chamorro) "Tungo’ i enimigu-mu, tungo’ i sapblå-ña." Or, in English, “Know your enemy, know his sword.”

Part of the wisdom of this quote is that in order to defeat your enemy, in orde…

A Moment Without Facebook

I love going to Anao in Yigo. I've only been there a few times, but I really enjoy it each time I go.

For those of you who haven't heard of Anao, it's north of Hanom, almost on the edge of Anderson. In order to get there you hike for about 20 mins through some jungle and then get to the cliff's edge where a trail will take you down several hundred feet to the rocky limestone shore. There are some pretty cool features once you reach the limestone shore for those who love natural beauty. There is a massive rock that some people call "the pinnacle" that sticks conspciously out of the rest of the fairly flat limestone.

When I took my History of Guam and World History 2 students to Anao last week, we explored to the north and found a pretty neat cove. There was a large rock, well over twenty feet high that stuck out past the shore, and was connected by a narrow land bridge. Several of my students and I climbed up it to take pictures.

I recommend visiting Anao, it …

Really and Not Really Existing Colonialism

Last year anthropologist David Vine visited Guam as part of a research trip where he visited areas around the world where communities were protesting (in various ways) the presence of US bases near them. While this is his most current research project, he is best known for his work on chronicling the plight of the Chagos Islanders, who come from the island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean. If you are in the military you have most likely heard about the base there. If you are a fan of the live-action Transformers films then you might remember it being featured as a secure location where a sliver of the infamous all-spark is kept safe. If you are someone, who like me keeps lists of the not-so-great-things that have been done by the US over its history, than Diego Garcia is a particularly gross and recent atrocity.

Through postwar collusion between the US and British governments, the people living in Diego Garcia were first tricked into leaving their island and barred from returning, …

A New Semester

Not sure when I'll be able to blog something, this week is crazy.

I taught two winter intersession courses at UOG that finished last week, and now this week I start teaching six classes at UOG for the Spring 2012 semester. Six classes is quite a load, and they are four different classes, meaning that I have to prepare for four different lectures, discussions each week, and then without any TAs or any other support, have to grade the work of 150 students.

I have so many thoughts swirling around my head, but just not enough time to type it into this blog.

I hope that once things calm down this semester, maybe next week I'll be back.

Gotta Catch 'Em All!

“Gotta Catch ‘Em All!”
Michael Lujan Bevacqua
Marianas Variety

It is interesting to contrast the 2012 Republican primary with the 2008 Democratic primary. In 2008, Democrats were overcome with stressful joy at the prospect of having so many great candidates, two of whom (Clinton and Obama) would be historic and nation-changing figures if elected. Fast forward to the Republican’s 2012 and we see a huge array of candidates, but little consistent enthusiasm.

In the last half of this year, Republicans have flirted with more “frontrunners” than Newt Gingrich has marriages. It will all be coming to a close soon, as the endless string of debates about who loves troops, tax cuts and Ronnie Reagan more will be eclipsed by the actual primary contests. Just as with the Democratic debates of 2008, little was yielded from them, as candidates are often more in agreement than disagreement, and did their best to score points by hitting each other with meaningless, witty one-liners. Before th…

What Next for #OWS?

Published on Tuesday, January 10, 2012
 by The Nation
"Occupy Wall Street: Why Now? What's Next?"
Naomi Klein and Yotam Marom in Conversation About Occupy Wall Street

by Naomi Klein and Yotam Marom

The following conversation was recorded recently in New York City:

Naomi Klein: One of the things that’s most mysterious about this moment is “Why now?” People have been fighting austerity measures and calling out abuses by the banks for a couple of years, with basically the same analysis: “We won’t pay for your crisis.” But it just didn’t seem to take off, at least in the US. There were marches and there were political projects and there were protests like Bloombergville, but they were largely ignored. There really was not anything on a mass scale, nothing that really struck a nerve. And now suddenly, this group of people in a park set off something extraordinary. So how do you account for that, having been involved in Occupy Wall Street since the beginning, but also in ea…


Everyone hates "politics." It is almost funny how it works. How people sneer, and jeer and frown when something happens and its "political." On Guam for example people say or think these things so much and so often it makes you wonder what they expect?

In an ideal world, government is supposed to work for the good of all and run based on strong principles. The same goes for those elected into the government or working in it. But we don't live in an ideal world. We may pine for it, dream about it. But in truth, the ideal world only exists to make us feel crappy about the world that we have. The ideal world also exists to be an excuse to keep us from acting in this world. No one has the ideal form of government, but for the majority of people, if their government is found wanting, they fill the void of inadequacy or mediocrity not with engagement, hardwork and a determination to fix things. Instead, they fill the gap with complaints that make them feel like they…