Showing posts from August, 2012

Pictures from Independence Cleanup


Delegate Debate

The delegate race has been unfolding in an interesting way in recent weeks.

For the first time ever Congresswoman Bordallo has a significant challenge for her re-election as Guam's non-voting delegate.

Frank Blas Jr. is challenging her on the Republican side, but their dialogue has been muted as Bordallo faces off two other challengers, one from within her own party and another an independent wild card. When the primary is over than the real race may be beginning. Delegates tend to have an incept date (Bladerunner reference) of 10 years, and so if Bordallo can survive this challenge, she'll have surpassed Won Pat, Blaz and Underwood in terms of longevity.

Karlo Dizon has shown himself to be very measured and intelligent in terms of addressing the issues, but to me he seems to suffer the populist, everyday appeal to changes someone from someone that a voter may find interesting, to someone they are excited to hand their vote to. In most circles you might refer to him as appea…

To Support, or Not to Support

There has been so much discussion lately about the "positions" of people, especially politicians on the military buildup. The concept of the buildup has been discussed so much for the past seven years, you could think there might be nothing left to say. You might assume that after years of debates, revelations, protests and so on, we might have finally come to the point where the buildup might hold no new ideological turns. It might just simply be a thing that has been hollowed out of all ideological ore and so people can speak about it in banal and normal ways.

You could assume these things and for the most part you'd be right. The years of debate did help bring into the world and into reality the buildup as an idea. Less people believe the hype about it and I mean this on both ends of the ideological spectrum. Less people believe in the buildup as a golden ticket, but also far fewer people believe in it as a rampaging beast. In the early days of buildup discussion so …

Surveying the Ideological Landscape

It's election year and so the ideological landscape of the island becomes far more vibrant than usual. When I say vibrant I don't mean that ideas are exchanged in a more honest and open way or that ideological transformations will take place in an easier way. I mean instead that the mentioning and invoking of ideology becomes more open and comfortable. The calling of people out. The feeling that certain things that may not normally matter much to you, all of a sudden do. The focusing in on certain details in order to make an argument for what sort of citizen and civil subject you are.
When its not an election year do people care that much about where politicians stand on issues? They probably should, but do they really? When an election comes around they probably still don't really care, but now there is a feeling that you are supposed to show you care. You are supposed to pretend that you care. You wouldn't want people to think that you are a pointless lump of flesh …

Mensahi Ginnen I Gehilo' #5: Not Just for Protestors

Mensahi Ginnen I Gehilo’ #5 "Not Just for Protestors"
The Independence Task Force for Guam has been meeting for several months now and we finally held our first event in July. Days after Liberation Day supporters for Independence as Guam’s next political status gathered early in the morning to pick up trash along the beach and road in Hagatna. Twenty-two volunteers showed up to collect beer cans, cigarette butts, tires, newspaper and all other types of trash. All in all more than a dozen bags were collected. The Mayor’s Office of Hagatna was generous enough to dispose of the trash once the cleanup was over. Jon Guerrero, a recent graduate of the Masters in Clinical Psychology program at the University of Guam was the lead organizer for the event. Guerrero felt it was important to take on an activity like this because people think of Independence as being very abstract, but in truth its really about feeling like you can take care of yourself.
This is the approach to promoti…

Crazy Talk

“Crazy Talk” Michael Lujan Bevacqua The Marianas Variety July 4, 2012
The same scene happens every couple of months at my grandfather’s shop at the Chamorro village. A military family comes into the check out my grandfather’s handmade tools. They look around and are impressed. I answer their questions and give them some background on my grandfather Tun Jack Lujan’s role in perpetuating the Chamorro culture today as a Master Blacksmith. As they are leaving one of them turns to me and says “I want to thank you for showing this to us and answering our questions, you aren’t as terrible a person as I thought you were.”
The first few times this scene took place I was taken aback. How did they know anything about me and what did they know that made them assume I’d be terrible? We’d never met before and how could they possess such strong negative feelings to me already?
I’ve come to learn that the reason for this is because of my internet presence, primarily my blog No Rest for the Awake – …

A Punk Prayer

For those of you who have been hearing about Pussy Riot and their being put in prison, here are some English lyrics to the song that got them convicted of "Hooliganism" motivated by religious hatred. ********************Punk PrayerBy Pussy Riot English version by Carol Rumens (Chorus)

Virgin Mary, Mother of God, banish Putin, banish Putin,
Virgin Mary, Mother of God, banish him, we pray thee!

Congregations genuflect,
Black robes brag gilt epaulettes,
Freedom's phantom's gone to heaven,
Gay Pride's chained and in detention.
KGB's chief saint descends
To guide the punks to prison vans.
Don't upset His Saintship, ladies,
Stick to making love and babies.

Crap, crap, this godliness crap!
Crap, crap, this holiness crap!


Virgin Mary, Mother of God.
Be a feminist, we pray thee,
Be a feminist, we pray thee.

Bless our festering bastard-boss.
Let black cars parade the Cross.
The Missionary's in class for cash.
Meet him there, and pay …

Demilitarization is Not a Dirty Word

I came across this article pasted below on the blog Ten Thousand Things. It is a great resource for issues of peace and justice in the Asia Pacific. The question of militarism and militarization are so important in this world today because the nature of war has changed. For much of the word war is still bloody and gritty and in your face. But for the First World and its allies they get to embrace a different technological relationship to war, one that makes it far more virtual that real. While soldiers still die and still bleed, much of the war has been privatized and has become digital. It is now easier to wipe humans and communities from the map than ever before. A screen of irreality sits between you and the human lives on the other side. Buttons take the place of weapons, so in a way you actually don't hurt much of anything, tin men and metal birds do it all for you.

In Guam, a place that sometimes celebrates the fact that it is the tip of America's spear, having a conver…

Chamorro Classes for the Fall

My Chamorro lessons for the Fall start tomorrow, Friday, August 17, 12 noon at Java Junction in the Agana Shopping Center.

The lessons will be for beginners and are free and open to anyone.

If you are committed to learning the language and want to be in a supportive environment to learn the rules of grammar and expand your vocabulary, come and join us!

Sweet Colonial Lies

A question that more people should ask themselves on island, "Are you down for the movement?"

You shouldn't downgrade this question to simply asking are you on the side of the people singing, or are you a part of an activist group or a chant group. Although the people who will ask you those things may be avowed members of groups, and may be the one to assert very forcefully and openly that they belong to something, este na kinalamten, ti iyon-niha ha'. This movement is larger than them alone. It is something that has been so long in coming, and has always been here as long as Guam has been a colony. It has taken so many forms, but it is always nurtured forth by the discontent of being ruled by another, being lied to by another, being taken advantage by another, and not getting the basic respect or dignity you deserve.

Colonization comes with fictions, it comes with dichicheng na mames na dinagi, it comes with so many sweet little lies. When your house is on fire, c…

Chamorro Public Service Post #22: Suette Si Nano

Juan Malimanga is one of my favorite parts of the Pacific Daily News.
It serves a couple purposes for me. Number one, it helps me practice my Chamorro everytime I read it. Number two, it sometimes makes me laugh with its silly jokes. That being said, sometimes the jokes confuse the hell out of me because of weirdness in the translation or references to things I'm unfamiliar with. Number three, the comic can be useful for helping to explain certain aspects of the Chamorro culture, especially parts which aren't as commonly references nowadays due to cultural changes. And finally number 4, I use the comic to help teach the Chamorro language. For my Chamorro language classes last year I regularly used Juan Malimanga strips to practice speaking and translating Chamorro. We would work through them panel by panel, until we reach the punchline. This was the moment when most of my students would groan because of the silly pun that joke was based on. Below is the text fr…

Made in the USA

As part of his re-election campaign you can go on President Obama’s website and buy a mug that features “Made in the USA” on one side and a copy of his birth certificate on the other. It is meant to be a cute jab at those who continue, despite a mountain of evidence, to claåim that President Obama is not only Muslim and Socialist, but is also Kenyan. It is both astounding and appalling to report that an estimated 1 in 10 Americans and 3 out of 10 Republican believe that Obama was born in Kenya and therefore ineligible to hold his current office.
While the Obama campaign created this mug as a joke, this refusal to recognize Obama as American is not really funny and is indicative of the racism that still exists in the US. These “birthers” are not just fringe elements, but parts of their beliefs have made it into mainstream Republican talking points. Birthers are racist, but the ideology they draw from is used by far more people than just themselves. Racism is not just vocalized con…

First Stewards #6: The New Tip of the Spear

The defining difference between the indigenous person and the settler, or the native and the subject of the modern nation, is the ability to change, to adapt and to grow. The native, the indigenous person is defined in relation to the modern nation as a stagnant thing.
They have been living in the same place in the same traditional way for centuries, perhaps millenia. They embody old cultures, ancient cultures, and as such are never prepared for the modern world of today. They are the stagnant, stuck images that define the prowess and the adaptability of the modern subject.

In the case of the United States for example, this relationship is necessary because of the way in which the origin of the nation is inundated with a dependency upon the native. Early settlers of North America struggled to survive and only did so through their cooperation and learning from Native Americans who were already familiar with the land and the climate. Without them the first settlers would have died out…

Oak Creek

Sikh Coalition Responds To Tragic Shooting in Wisconsin

For Immediate Release

Sapreet Kaur: sapreet@sikhcoalition.org212-655-3095 x 81 (will be forwarded to cell)
Amardeep Singh; amar@sikhcoalition.org212-655-3095 x 83 (will be forwarded to cell)