Sunday, March 10, 2013

Okinawa Independence #5: Beyond the Fence

I don’t know if I ever mentioned this on my blog, but I am a co-host for the KPRG program “Beyond the Fence.” This is a radio show that was started after the DEIS Comment period for the military buildup in 2010. The name “beyond the fence” was chosen because the show was originally intended to bring attention to the issues outside of the fence, so how the buildup would affect the rest of the island. The name also came to mean sometimes that those outside of the fence would be given a peak as to what happens inside the fence. Sometimes episode would deal with things that the military and its employees struggle with.

It has evolved into more of a community program that talks about critical issues.  Episodes were initially focused on the military buildup and militarism in Guam, Micronesia and the Pacific. At present you can listen to episodes dealing with any pertinent local or regional issue. You can also listen to interviews with long time community activists as well as people that are passing through for research or solidarity work.

While I am in Okinawa I would like to create a program that features that voice of the Okinawan Independence Movement. I don’t know if I’ll get a chance to since my schedule is all over the place and certain people aren’t on island.

I find their struggle and their fight very interesting and so I would like to introduce it to others, especially in Guam. For many in Guam Okinawa is just another part of Japan or just another place where the US has bases. People can’t imagine that it might be pursuing decolonization. The same is true sadly, for Guam. Japanese think of it as a tropical island vacation spot, the US sees it as a place for their bases. Few see it has a place in need of decolonization, or a place seeking decolonization.

For most people in the world they wouldn’t imagine that either place could possess a movement for Independence. This is part of the struggle. We are both places where our identities are ones that are dipped in the sovereign control of another, and people cannot imagine that we could exist today without that colonial shell.

It is for this reason that I have decided to title my posts regarding my trip “Okinawa Independence.” Even though I may talk about other issues, the overall focus is to understand their movement, learn from it and also share with what I know of Guam’s movement for decolonization.

The tag on this blog for the posts will be “O3” as in Okinawa Part 3, since this is my third trip to the island. 

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