Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Decolonization in the Caribbean #10: Democracy and Freedom

While I was away in St. Vincent attending the UN C24 Regional Seminar, i nobia-hu Dr. Isa Kelley Bowman, penned a simple, insightful and incisive bilingual! article about the very issues that were being discussed on the other side of the world. Her article is below and deals with the difficult realities of having a colonizer who has convinced themselves no matter what they have done or continue to do, that they represent freedom and liberty. Having colonies like Guam for more than a century belies that idea in obvious and easy ways. And that doesn't even go into the more nefarious history of the US, featuring slavery, displacement and genocide. But like all countries, the US can change. There is a commonsensical power in that notion that mala hechura asta sepultura, but there is nonetheless always the possibility for changing course, for social or political movements to change the course of a country towards something more just and more invested in equality, peace or righteousness. The problem however, as I always note, is that the greater a country has convinced itself it is, the more difficult it is to change course, because like someone with a massive ego, it has built in defense mechanisms to make any blemish, any problem, the fault of others, and leave the core fantasy of sinlessness, greatness and exceptionalism intact.

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"Demokrasia yan Linibre"
By Isa Kelley Bowman
Guam Daily Post
May 24, 2017

Gaige iya Guåhan gi un listan United Nations. Un gof na'ma'ase ya ti gof matungo' na lista. (Guam is on a United Nations list. A shameful and not well-known list.) Este na lista para i mancolonies, pat gi Fino' U.N., "non-self-governing territories." Manggaige gi este na lista lokkue' diesi sais otro na lugåt. (This list is for the world's colonies or, in the language of the UN, "non-self-governing territories. Sixteen other countries are on this list as well.)

Para guahu, ti hongge'on este na gi på'go na tiempo guaguaha ha' colonies gi este na mundo. Mas ti hongge'on na i Estådos Unidos umakhihihom siha! (For me, it is unbelievable in today's world that there could still be colonies. It is even more unbelievable to me that the United States is the one clinging desperately onto some of them!)

Dumångkolo' yu' gi Sanlagu, giya New Jersey yan giya Illinois. Gi eskuela yan gi media (telebikbik, gaseta, etc.), todu tiempo manfa'nå'na'gue yu' na i Estådos Unidos ha represesenta demokrasia yan linibre. (I grew up in the states, in New Jersey and Illinois. In school and in media, I was always being taught that the United States represents democracy and liberty.) Desde i tinituhon-ña diposti na gof takhilo' este siha, pi'ot anggen un taitai i tinige'-ñiha siha i "Founding Fathers" yan håfa sinangan-ñiha. (From its beginnings, these were supposed to be high ideals, especially if you read the writings and statements from the Founding Fathers.)

Lao aggen un atan i listan U.N., guaha tres na colonies giya guiya. (But if you look at the U.N. list, the U.S. has three colonies.) Mas anggen makuenta iya Puerto Rico yan i CNMI. Achokka' taigue siha gi lista, siña ta li'e' na mamparerehu yan i estao-ta giya Guåhan yan otro isla siha. Buente diferentes i na'an, lao parehu i estao. (Even though Puerto Rico and the CNMI are not on the list, we can see that all our statuses are similar. Maybe the powers that be designate different names for our countries, but the status is still effectively "colony.")

Taimanu na taiguini este? Chinile' iya Guåhan ni' Estådos Unidos. (Why or how are things like this? The answer is that the United States took over Guam, in 1898.) Sa' håfa ti ha ayuda hit esta giya Guåhan dumecolonize? (Why hasn't the U.S. already helped us decolonize, as the U.N. specifies it must?) Sa' håfa ti ha chochonnek i isla para un mås maolek yan mas gaihustisia na estao? (Why isn't it pushing the island toward an improved, democratic and modern political status?) Sa' håfa ti ha respepeta i direchon i Chamorro na taotao? (Why doesn't the United States respect the inherent rights of the Chamorro people?)

Anggen ya-mu i Estådos Unidos, anggen manhongge hao na maolek i korason-ña pat i espiritu-ña, ti siña un ho'ye este i bidadå-ña. (If you like the United States, and you believe that its heart and its spirit are good, you ought not to accept what it seems to be doing here.) Anggen ya-mu este na nasion, debi di un chonnek gui' na para u chilong i bidå-ña yan i binintå-ña. (If you honor the United States, you should always push our leaders to make our actions match our ideals.)

Hu tugigiyi hamyo todus ni' yan-miyu i Estådos Unidos, maseha kulot pat råsa. Debi di ta na'haso gui' put håfa maolek yan gaibali ginen i hestoria-ña. (I am writing to all of you who care about the United States, regardless of race or ethnicity. We must remind our country about what is good and important from its history.)

Sa' todu tiempo, gi todu manera, gi todu i lugåt, sen chatpågo colonialism. (Because in all forms, in all places for all time, colonialism is always morally unacceptable.)

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