Showing posts from March, 2012

Deep Waters

I ran into Kel Muna the other day in the parking lot of UOG and he had some exciting news. Last year him and Don helped organize the Guam International Film Festival. It was a huge success, bringing in dozens of films from the Pacific and elsewhere to Guam. They are organizing a second film festival to take place this Fall in either September or October. I am so excited about this, I am absolutely planning on submitting a short film for consideration. No ideas what it'll be about yet, but I will for sure submit something.

In the meantime, the Muna Brothers are helping organize for Pacific Islanders in Communication, a screening tomorrow (3/30) titled "Deep Water" and features to films, one from the Marianas The Insular Empire, and one from Hawai'i Under a Jarvis Moon. I'm looking forward to this screen tomorrow night. If you have the time, an gailugat hao, saonao lokkue'.

Huegon Ninalang Siha

In egga' i "Huegon Ninalang Siha" gi i ma'pos na simana.

Ya-hu didide', lao nanalang ha' yu'.

Mas maolek i lepblo kinu i kachido.

Lao kao nina'manman hao ni este?

Siempre ahe', sa' sesso taiguihi.

Komo lepblo fine'nina, fihu i orihinat i mas maolek yan kabales.

I kachido ti nahong, sa' meggai ginnen i lepblo ti un kubre, ti un na'annok.

Para ayu ni' gumaiya i lepblo kalang mantrinaiduti siha ni taimanu na mafa'diferentes i mubi.

Siempre este un tungo' anggen taiguini hao.

Anggen mata'ta'chong hao gi i fanegga'an  ya sesso un essalaoggue i screen taiguini:

"Taigue ayu gi i lepblo!"

"Sa' hafa ti ma na'halom ayu gi i mubi!"

"Ti nahong i tetehnan na tiempo gi i mubi para u makubre ____! Ti hu tungo' hafa sina macho'gue. Ai adai!"

Lao kao pumarehu anggen mofo'na i mubi ya tinatitiyi ni lepblo?

Gi hinallom-hu, dipende.

Kao i lepblo ni' matuge' ginnen i mubi…

War Crimes Mythologies

Published on Thursday, March 22, 2012 by Common DreamsWar Crimes and the Mythology of 'Bad Apples' by Robert C. Koehler
So it turns out that mass-murder suspect Robert Bales once used a bad word in a Facebook conversation.

This is one of the more bizarre details of his life that has come breathlessly to light in the media, along with his big smile, arrest record and disastrous financial dealings. The word was “hadji” (misspelled “hagi”), which is the racial slur of choice among U.S. troops to denigrate Iraqis; and stories where I have read about his use of it fixate on it judgmentally, as though to suggest it might explain something: the tiny flaw that reveals a propensity for massacring children.

Something had to be wrong with him, right? As always, the mainstream media’s unquestioning assumption is that the atrocity is the work of an individual nut . . . a flawed patriot, a bad apple. Oh so quietly ignored is the possibility that there’s something wrong wi…

Fina'kuentos #3: Ha Tife' Yu'

If you don't speak Chamorro, there are various ways that you can transition into the language, or begin to immerse yourself into it. You can for example begin with a particular person or sets of people. Start speaking to someone you trust to help and support you and slowly expand outward. You can just go full internal or external immersion. You can force yourself to speak Chamorro not matter what, even in situations where you know you might not be able to carry on the conversation. Such is a case of internal immersion, where you force much of what you say to be in Chamorro. Or external immersion is a possibility, where you try your best to surround yourself with those who speak Chamorro, or intentionally put yourself into spaces, whether they be a fiesta, a church, a funeral, a Chamorro language competition, where the Chamorro language will be there, so you can be immersed in it.

But in addition to the who you learn Chamorro with, there is also the way you first become introduced …

Fina'kuentos #2: Taya' Baston San Jose

“Tåya’ Båtson San Jose”
Michael Lujan Bevacqua
The Marianas Variety

In the writing of my Masters Thesis in Micronesian Studies I conducted over a hundred interviews with Chamorros who were born in the prewar Naval colonial era of Guam history and also endured the trauma of I Tiempon Chapones, the period of Japanese colonialism in World War II. These interviews were conducted more than a decade ago, over the course of several years. Since then, so many of those I spent an afternoon with in their outside kitchen or a morning sipping coffee at Hagatña McDonald’s have passed away.
One of the most interesting memories I have from that period is my attempt to figure out the meaning of an old Chamorro fina’kuentos, empe’ finayi, or in English “saying”that one of my interview subjects had used. While speaking to an elderly man in Inarajan about the work of Father Jesus Baza Duenas in World War II and the changes of life in his village, he invoked the saying “tåya’ Båston San Jose.” I was t…

Not One More Acre

We Are Guåhan launches “Not One More Acre” initiative
            The Department of Defense controls almost 36,000 acres on Guam – more than ¼ of the entire island – and it wants more.  After being sued by We Are Guåhan, the Guam Preservation Trust and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, DoD conceded that a Supplemental EIS was needed.   Today, We Are Guåhan launched a “Not One More Acre” initiative to encourage participation in the upcoming scoping meetings, scoping period and Supplemental EIS process. “In addition to cultural impacts, an increase in traffic, safety concerns and an increase in noise, our community needs to be aware that every single option that DoD has identified requires the acquisition of more land,” said We Are Guåhan member Cara Flores-Mays. The organization’s initiative includes the launch of, a website dedicated to information related to the Supplemental EIS such as maps of the 5 alternatives at Pågat and Fena t…

A Vision for Independence

Mensahi Ginnen i Gehilo' #2
A Vision for Independence

One of the most important tasks that the Decolonization Commission has before it at present is the setting of a possible date for a self-determination plebiscite to help determine Guam’s next political status. After much discussion last year, the general election of 2016 was favored as possible date. Things have changed however as funding for the commission and the political status task forces seems unlikely for at least a year and the majority of members of the commission itself seem to now be against having the self-determination vote mixed with the politics of a gubernatorial election. Hopefully future meetings will help clarify this, so we can move forward.
In the meantime, for each political status task force, our most important agenda item is the updating and revising of our perspective position papers. In 2000, each task force, independence, statehood and free association submitted to the Decolonization Commission, separ…

Save Jeju Island


Guam Food Stamps

If I had more time I would love to write and research more the meaning of Food Stamps on Guam. Like most things in life, people tend to view them negatively through the people who use them. They complain about them towards the start of each month, when they crowd the aisles and choke the lines of grocery stores. They are viewed as things which suck away life, and make things weak. But are they really? We see so many forms of Federal aid as things that make us lazy, and show how sad and dependent we are, but why do we rarely reverse that ideological equation? Since food stamps are so bad, why do we not see more people condemn the US for weakening the people of Guam and taking away their ability to work or sustain themselves? One of the reasons why doing research on food stamps here could be very productive is because of the way Guam is not just a state, but rather a territory, a colony as well. So what is a simple ideological argument in the states, against racialized groups or poor gr…

I Love EG

I am applying later this month for a grant to go to South Korea and conduct research on Starcraft 2 and issues of race and ethnicity in this international esport. Starcraft 2 like Starcraft: Brood War is something played around the world, by people of every ethnicity, and as a result there become competitions and narratives that are nationalist in scope and also racial. For example, there is a strong discourse in the sports world, that those who are black, have a natural ability to perform better in sports. Similarly, in the world of Starcraft it is South Koreans who seem to have an uncanny ability to play the game at much higher levels than everyone else.

I have always found it interesting what the political effects are of such narratives of innate dominance. In the case of African Americans, their physical prowess is something that was once used to justify their enslavement (since to so many Europeans it seemed that God had created them for slavery), but then later used to justify n…

Ti Ya-hu Si Ayn Rand

Published on Monday, March 5, 2012 by The Guardian/UKHow Ayn Rand Became the New Right's Version of Marx Her psychopathic ideas made billionaires feel like victims and turned millions of followers into their doormats by George Monbiot It has a fair claim to be the ugliest philosophy the postwar world has produced. Selfishness, it contends, is good, altruism evil, empathy and compassion are irrational and destructive. The poor deserve to die; the rich deserve unmediated power. It has already been tested, and has failed spectacularly and catastrophically. Yet the belief system constructed by Ayn Rand, who died 30 years ago today, has never been more popular or influential.

Rand was a Russian from a prosperous family who emigrated to the United States. Through her novels (such as Atlas Shrugged) and her nonfiction (such as The Virtue of Selfishness) she explained a philosophy she called Objectivism. This holds that the only moral course is pure self-interest. We owe n…

Urgent from Gangjeong

Two urgent messages about the situation in Gangjeong, Jeju:

From Save Jeju

Dear friends,
Starting today, Gangjeong is in an emergency situation. Nearly 700 police have arrived from the mainland in Gangjeong village to monitor the blasting of Gureombi, the volcanic rock coastline, and the dredging of the seafloor. Not only will the marine life, including endangered crabs and coral reefs, be swept away, the blast has already impacted the fresh water springs that the majority of the island is dependent upon.
Though our numbers are small in the village, we will do our best to fight to stop the blast of Gureombi. It is still uncertain whether the Seogwipo Police will allow the Navy to blast Gureombi on Monday, when the Governor of Jeju Island is supposed to make his decision.
Please send an email to the Governor NOW asking him to please stop the blast of Gureombi.
Thank you for one minute of your time. We urgently need international solidarity NOW.
In peace and…