Showing posts from April, 2013

Governor Ota

Here is a quote from former Okinawa Governor Masahide Ota.

If men such as this, who have this type of vision can be elected for office anywhere, then it means there is hope for mankind. His vision of peace is both realistic and ideal. The way that he acknowledges that taking the route of peace may mean less money for Okinawa, but that the life you would lead would be worth the tradeoff is inspiring. He is not someone who dreams of peace to dream because they are dissatisfied with the world around them. He dreams of peace in order to change his society and change the world around him.
What can Okinawa be proud of? If Okinawa can boast of one thing to other prefectures it is our strong desire for peace. In Okinawa there is a saying that we have passed down for generations: You can sleep well if you are hurt by others, but if you hurt someone you cannot sleep. When you have military bases on your land, even if you yourself are not harmed, US soldiers go to other countries f…

The Question of Okinawan Sovereignty

I haven't posted for the past few days because I've been so busy with my trip to Okinawa.

Here is the symposium that I participated in yesterday. I'll be writing much more about it later, but for now I need to pack and head back to Guam.

Three Decolonization Discourses

I just to Okinawa a few hours ago, had dinner and meant to quickly fall asleep in my hotel room, but this has not happened yet. I spent much of the trip today thinking over my various talks that I'll be giving while here this weekend. I was trying to map out my strategy for talking about decolonization in Okinawa. In Guam, I already have several ways of introducing and broaching the topic, as the history of the island has given us a couple of esta listo discourses that you can use.

For example in Guam today I would say there are three basic ways in which decolonization is discussed. You can break them down as follows: Unincorporated Territory, Non-Self-Governing Territory and Nasion Chamoru. Each of them begins from a different point in Guam's colonization and although they may overlap, they often evolve in opposing directions.

Unincorporated Territory: The basis for understanding colonization is the lack of incorporation with the United States. Guam is a possession of the Uni…

Okinawa Ta'lo

I'm heading to Okinawa today for another conference.

This time I'll be speaking at Okinawa International University and also talking during a town hall meeting in Ginowan City. The topics once again will be decolonization and demilitarization, things that I have researched extensively in the context of Guam, but have been researching in an Okinawan context since last year.

I'm sure I'll be posting while I'm there.


This weekend Peter Onedera’s play “Saina Destiladu” or “Elderly in Exile” is being shown at the John Robert Powers Theater in Maite. This play was originally performed almost 20 years ago, but it is as timely now as it was then. The story revolves around a modern Chamorro family caught between the traditional and contemporary values. The erosion of Chamorro culture, most prominently respect for i manamko, is the main drama of the play as two elderly grandparents are regularly disrespected and abandoned by their children. I watched the play over the weekend and couldn’t help but reflect on the state of our island and our culture today. It is so easy to say that times have changed or that culture just isn’t the same, but such talk is cheap and easy. We make decisions and make priorities and if things such as our language, respect and culture are declining it is because we aren’t choosing to embody them or protect them. Here are my thoughts, first in Chamorro and then trans…

Saina Destiladu

Para bai hu egga' este lamo'na. Gof excited yu' put este na inegga'. Esta apmam ti manegga' yu' play Peter Onedera. Gof malago' yu' sumapotte Si Pedro gi i che'cho'-na, ko'lo'lo'na este na klasi para i kuttura-ta yan i lenguahi-ta.

Hu fahan i tiket-hu siha gi este na LINK. Sina un usa Paypal. Ti mappot, gof faset.

Okinawan Independence

“Okinawan Independence”
Michael Lujan Bevacqua
April 10, 2013
The Marianas Variety

Professor Yasukatsu Matsushima is a strong, but polite voice for Okinawa's Independence. I first met him last year while he was in Guam doing research. I ended up taking him on a hike to Pagat. Later he invited me to come to Okinawa and speak at several conferences on decolonization. On my most recent trip to Okinawa, I was fortunate enough to hear him give a lecture at Okinawa International University on “The Myths of Okinawan Independence.” Although the topic of Okinawa’s independence is very new and somewhat taboo, his talk was crowded with people wanting to know more. 

Professor Matsushima may seem assuming at first, but make no mistake he is resolute in his belief that Okinawa should be an independent country. This advocacy has made him somewhat notorious. In both Okinawa and Guam independence is something considered taboo, impossible or anti-Japanese/American. Because of this it can be difficult t…

Threatening Thoughts #6: It's Already in Your Backyard

Threats, dangers, risks, these are all things that are out there, but each society and each individual will find their own individual and collective ways of organizing them and ranking them. Everything from personal experience, cultural representations, ideological lens, or accumulation of resources comes into play in helping us understand the things that we should be afraid of and the things we don’t “really” need to be afraid of. It is a strange sort of game to watch because it doesn’t really make sense. It is a very human endeavor. The way that a human can truly define themselves in this world, even if it means accepting an obvious fiction instead of a truth and laughing while they sign their own death warrants. Such is the lesson of the Garden of Eden and the choice of Adam and Eve. What makes human beings human beings is their ability to act in aggressive, passionate and unthinking ways against their own interest. They are rife with potential interests and can pick…

Threatening Thoughts #5: Eating Our Fantasies

Guam should think for itself, and should understand better its position in relation to the United States and the world around it. Just accepting an "American" ideological point of view for everything means pretending we live a different reality in a different part of the world. It also means we prevent ourselves from understanding the benefits and dangers that we get by virtue of our geographic position. This is not something that I would advocate solely because of the North Korea issue. So long as Guam remains a non-self-governing territory, an unincorporated territory, its relationship to the United States should be of great importance, but not define the island, its present or its future. To accept that this relationship is central is to keep the fantasies alive and rather than seek any real sovereignty or real inclusion, you end up eating the air of your fantasies and slowly starving yourself into non-existence.

Part of the weakness of this island is its eager willingne…

Threatening Thoughts #4: Too Much Workout Equipment

So much of the discussion of the North Korea threat issue to Guam centers around the "kinaduku" or "craziness" of its leader. Instead of having reasoned discussions people enter into silly caricatures and try to pretend that this should be the focus. In order to understand things all you need to know is how crazy North Korea's leader is. This leads to alot of pointless metaphors that don't help you understand much except how ridiculous and dangerous North Korea is. For example, with North Korea's emphasis on launching missiles, people are making all sorts of analogies to someone trying to compensate for not being endowed in another supposedly manly area. North Korea is obviously feeling inferior in one way and trying to compensate for their lack by building all these nuclear missiles!

These caricatures, these analogies aren't actually that bad, but only if you continue them in a logical manner. Yes, you could argue that as a weak and isolated nation…

Threatening Thoughts #3: Patriotic Tokens

Guam’s colonial experience is frustrating. Given the way the island and its relationship to the United States have developed since World War II, Guam is in so many ways already “American.” The island gets so many benefits and has prospered through its relationship to the US. Although Chamorros were treated in terrible ways before World War II, that seems to have changed now into simple disrespect, ignorance and disinterest.
It is important at points like this to remember that colonialism is not about positives or negatives. You do not define colonialism based on whether or not the people colonized benefit or not. You do not define colonialism based on whether or not the people suffer worse than anyone else in history or at that time. You define it based on the type of relationship that two entities have. You define it based on whether or not there exists a democratic relationship between the two. What are the legal cases or precedents that bind the two together? Do they affirm each …

Threatening Thoughts #2: We're Still Here

Achokka' taigue i na'an-hu gi este na flyer, bai hu gaige gi este na panel pa'go na talo'ani.

Para u tutuhun i panel gi alas kuatro gi UOG gi i CLASS Lecture Hall.

Maila yan ekungok i hinasson-mami put i "hinanhan" ginnen North Korea.

Kao magahet este na "threat?"

Hafa i mismo na piligrosu guini?

Kao magahet na mas safu hit guini anggen mapo'lo mas militat?

Kao umaya siguridad yan i mamta' i miltat? Pat kao mismo umakontra este na dos?

Threatening Thoughts

For the next week I'll be posting some of my thoughts on the North Korea threat issue. These opinions aren't the type you'll hear in most of the Guam media, lao put este na rason na hu fa'tinas este na blog. Sa' ti meggai na inayek guini put media. Ma'i'ot dimasiao i "opinion" put gof impottante na asunto. Este na hinasso siha, iyo-ku ha'. Ginnen i hinasso-ku, ginnen i inaligao-hu. Ti gof fayi yu' put i estao gi halom North Korea.  *********************** Here are some of my thoughts on the North Korea threat issue. When you are a strategically important place like Guam, you can always use something like this, the danger around you, to get more of the things you might not be able to get otherwise. As a result you can get recognized, you can get cheered on, you can get seen as more American than usual. But there is a cost, and it increases the more you take advantage of this strategic value. The more you pray for war, the more you p…

News from Okinawa

I've just been invited to go back to Okinawa later this month to speak at a conference at Okinawa International University. April 28 is a very big anniversary across Japan, because it is the day that in 1952 Japan recovered their sovereignty after being occupied by the US during World War II. While it is an important day to commemorate for most of Japan in Okinawa it is a bittersweet occasion and one that helps highlight their colonial history in relation. Despite all the rhetoric of Okinawa being part of Japan, on April 28, 1952 it was given over to the United States, who governed it as their military colony until 1972. For most Japanese the 28th would be a day to unify and to reflect on the way they moved forward and left behind their history of imperialism and loss, but for Okinawans it is a day reminding them of the lies that have always claimed their inclusion and the right to determine and control them, but which have led to them always being treated differently.


Litratun Inagofli'e'

Below are pictures from the Inagofli'e' Peace Vigil held in February in Tumon. Yesterday on my blog I posted my Marianas Variety column about it from last month. You can read it by clicking here.


“Inagofli’e’” Michael Lujan Bevacqua Marianas Variety 3/5/13
This past Sunday the Guahan Coalition for Peace and Justice organized a peace vigil in Tumon, at the memorial site where a terrible attack took place two weeks ago. This vigil was meant to honor those who were killed and those who were hurt in the attack, and also provide a space for members of the community to come together and make sense of what happened. Candles were lit, blessings were offered, a song was sung, a healing circle was formed and some doves were let loose. Although the Guahan Coalition for Peace and Justice organized the event, it would not have been possible without the help of many local organizations and leaders, including a group of JFK high school students, who each contributed something.
The vigil was given the name “Inagofli’e’.” This is a word that many people today may not be familiar with, but has a very deep beautiful meaning in Chamorro. The word can be broken down in this way. “Gofli’e’” mean…

America after Hegemony

Published on Tuesday, April 2, 2013 by Foreign Policy In Focus
America after Hegemony by Cole Harrison With the Iraq war fading into memory even as the country still simmers, the U.S. peace movement faces the need to reframe its message.

We have spent the last 10 years resisting the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – tragedies that have not only devastated those two countries and taken tens of thousands of lives, but have left thousands of returning veterans with lifelong disabilities and taken a huge toll on our national economy.
We’ve exposed nuclear weapons’ threat to human survival, organized against sanctions and war on Iran and the Israeli occupation of Palestine, and built alliances with labor and community groups to cut the military budget.
We’ve opposed lawless torture and drone killings, cyber-warfare attacks, and the U.S. “pivot,” which seeks to encircle China with military bases.
These campaigns are important, but they primarily arouse internationals, longtim…