Saturday, September 30, 2017

The Mayor of San Juan

Estague i mayot giya San Juan, i kapitåt para i islan Puerto Rico, un otro na colony gi påpa' i Estådos Unidos. Gi ma'pos na simåna sen hinatme i isla ni' un dångkolo'lo' na påkyo'. Meggai na taotao manmamadedesi guihi på'go. Gof annok gi sinangån–ña si Donald Trump yan gi bidan-ña i Gubetnamenton Federåt na ti manmatratråta i taotao guihi parehu put i estao-ñiha. Anggen un taitai pat un hungok i sinangån-ña gof annok yan oppan na ha apagågayi i minagahet colonial. Anggen ti siña un li'e' pat hungok, put fabot akompåra i tratamento giya Texas yan Florida yan giya Puerto Rico. Gof annok ti manchilong todu gi Estådos Unidos,

Giya Guåhan, fihu masångan na mamparehu hit gera, lao åhe' gi pas. Gof annok gi håfa masusesedi giya Puerto Rico na ti mamparehu hit lokkue' gi pakyo' pat otro taiguihi na klasen ira.


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Retired Lieutenant General: While Trump Golfs, San Juan's Mayor is 'Living On A Cot."
by Sebastian Murdock
Huffington Post
9/30/17

The retired lieutenant general who led the effort to bring aid to Louisiana after it was ravaged by Hurricane Katrina didn’t mince words when talking about the president’s response to the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico.
On Saturday morning, President Donald Trump unleashed a series of tweets taking aim at San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz. In them, he accused Democrats of having convinced Cruz to be “nasty” to him, called Cruz’s leadership “poor” and said that other leaders in Puerto Rico “want everything to be done for them.” The tweets were sent from his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey.
In an interview with CNN later in the day, retired Lt. General Russel L. Honoré tore down Trump’s remarks:
“The mayor’s living on a cot and I hope the president has a good day at golf,” he told CNN.

Honoré said the crisis in Puerto Rico is even larger than what he faced during Katrina. 
“Is Puerto Rico worse than what you found here in Katrina?” CBS News correspondent Michelle Miller asked Honoré on Friday.
“Oh, hell yeah,” Honore said. “The number one priority is saving lives and when you’re saving lives, you’ve gotta figure out what rules you’re gonna break. All the rules we live by are designed for peacetime.”
“And this is what?” Miller asked.
“This is like a war,” he said.
Army Lt. Gen. Jeff Buchanan arrived on the island Thursday after being appointed by the Pentagon to lead the relief effort there. So far, approximately 4,400 troops are on the island, he told CNBC Friday. He added that more are arriving to help, but it’s still not enough.
“Our capacity is growing but that doesn’t mean that we’re getting all the right help to the people who need it,” Buchanan said. 
“For me, Harvey was monumental in Texas because of the amount of flood damage,” Buchanan added. “But the impact here is completely different. It’s like an atomic bomb went off. With all of the wind impact knocking down trees, electrical lines ― it’s just a very different disaster.”
Honoré said the military response to the 3.5 million people without power and supplies should have happened much sooner.
“Not giving the mission to the military” was the first mistake, Honoré said in his interview with CBS. “Look, we got Army units that go do port openings. Not called. We got special forces that could’ve been in every town. Not employed.”

The president’s slow response to the humanitarian crisis has been widely criticized in recent days. On Saturday morning, “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda slammed Trump for attacking the San Juan mayor from his personal golf course while people in Puerto Rico suffer.
“[Mayor Cruz] has been working 24/7. You have been GOLFING,” Miranda wrote in a tweet  “You’re going straight to hell.”

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"San Juan Mayor Responds to Trump's Attacks: I Was Asking for Help."
by Lee Moran
Huffington Post
9/30/17

The mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Saturday defended her request for federal aid in the wake of Hurricane Maria, hours after President Donald Trump lashed out at her for asking for assistance and accused her of unnecessarily criticizing him.
During an appearance on MSNBC, Carmen Yulin Cruz reiterated that Puerto Rico needed more help and said her previous critiques of the administration’s response had not been intended as a personal slight.
“Actually, I was asking for help,” she said. “I wasn’t saying anything nasty about the president.”
“I will continue to do whatever I need to do, say whatever I need to say, compliment the people I need to compliment, and call out the people that I need to call out,” she added. “This isn’t about me. This isn’t about anyone. This is about lives that are being lost if things do not get done properly real quickly.”

Trump had tweeted criticisms of Cruz earlier in the day, saying she demonstrated “poor leadership ability.”
“The Mayor of San Juan, who was very complimentary only a few days ago, has now been told by the Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump,” he wrote.
“They want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort,” Trump added, noting how there were now 10,000 federal workers on the “totally destroyed” island who were “doing a fantastic job.”

Trump also criticized CNN and NBC for their coverage of the relief effort.

He tweeted again on Saturday afternoon, claiming the media was misrepresenting aid work taking place in Puerto Rico. 

The president’s posts were an apparent reaction to the criticism that Cruz has leveled at his administration in recent days over its handling of the fallout from the natural disaster, which has claimed at least 16 lives since ripping through the island more than a week ago.

Elaine Duke, the acting secretary of homeland security, on Thursday enthusiastically praised how federal authorities had reacted to the aftermath of the storm.
I know it’s a hard storm to recover from,” she said. “But I know it is really a good news story in terms of our ability to reach people and the limited number of deaths that have taken place in such a devastating hurricane.”
Cruz, however, called that statement “irresponsible.”
This is a people are dying story. This is a life or death story,” she said on Friday’s broadcast of CNN’s “New Day.” “This is a story of a devastation that continues to worsen because people are not getting food and water.”
Cruz also used a news conference at a distribution center on Friday to blast the response and ask Trump to step up efforts to get aid delivered to islanders in need.
We are dying here, and I cannot fathom the thought that the greatest nation in the world cannot figure out logistics for a small island of 100 miles by 35 miles,” she said. “Mayday! We are in trouble.” She has responded to Trump’s tweets by saying that the one goal was “saving lives.”

Critics have also called out Trump for devoting so much time to attacking NFL players who take a knee during the national anthem as the relief effort was struggling to get under way.
Trump said Saturday that he would visit Puerto Rico with first lady Melania Trump on Tuesday.
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"San Juan Mayor Slams Feds Response to Puerto Rico: 'Get Your Ass Moving.'"
By Carla Herreria
Huffington Post
9/29/17

The mayor of San Juan on Friday tore into the federal government’s response to recovery efforts in Puerto Rico and begged the rest of the country to send help to the island.
“We are dying here, and I cannot fathom the thought that the greatest nation in the world cannot figure out logistics for a small island of 100 miles by 35 miles,” Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz said at a news conference at a distribution center. “Mayday! We are in trouble.”
Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico as a Category 4 storm on Sept. 20. So far at least 16 deaths have been reported, a number that will likely grow as recovery efforts continue. Only 11 of the island’s 69 hospitals currently have power or fuel, and an estimated 44 percent of the population is without drinking water.
“I am going to do what I never thought I would do. I am begging, begging anyone who can hear us to save us from dying,” Cruz said, holding back tears.
“We are dying, and you are killing us with inefficiency and bureaucracy.”
Cruz specifically criticized the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s constant requests for her office to provide reports, assessments and memos, which she says has slowed down the process of actually providing help.
She held up thick binders to show the amount of paperwork that FEMA has requested of her and suggested that the government did not appear to be acting with any sense of urgency.
“You think that’s enough paperwork for FEMA to get their ass moving?”

Cruz appeared exasperated with the government’s delayed response to Puerto Rico, where millions of people still await help and deliveries of basic human necessities.
Cruz, who oversees the largest city on the island, described residents who were forced to drink out of creeks and dehydrated senior citizens who were trapped in buildings that were like “human cages.”

Cruz rebuked a remark made earlier Friday by a government official who said that getting aid was much more complicated than expected.

“You know what? This is the United States of America,” the mayor said. “If somebody can put a man on the moon, they surely can walk around on an island ... and figure out the appropriate technology to get it.”
Cruz also appealed to President Donald Trump, who has praised the government’s response in Puerto Rico, to do more than fly over the U.S. territory when he visits next week.
“I hope as the president comes next week he doesn’t just get an aerial view of the situation,” she said. “Let him hear the cries of elderly people outside windows and doors screaming, ‘Help us.’”
Aid workers have warned that recovery efforts in Puerto Rico could take years due to extensive damage to the island’s agriculture and the downing of 2,400 miles of power transmission lines. One local official said that the devastation may have set the island back “nearly 20 to 30 years.”
Cruz used the news conference to ask U.S. citizens to send help and requested that news reporters send a “mayday” emergency call to the world.
“I know your hearts. You’re loving and caring. Help us. Show the world what we can do together,” she said.
“Call your local representative. Call everyone you can. Let’s show the world the generosity, the audacity and the hope that the U.S. can provide. You are a country of the people. Just let the people shine. Let them shine.”

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"Trump's Inferno: Hell is Now for Puerto Rico"
by Susan Thistlethwaite
Huffington Post
9/30/17

Is Donald Trump going to hell for his callousness and incompetence toward Puerto Rico?
Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of “Hamilton,” certainly thinks he is, and he thinks this will happen especially for Trump’s attacks on San Juan’s mayor, Carmen Yulin Cruz, for daring to call out this administration’s slow and inept response so far to the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria.
Mayor Cruz made an impassioned plea for faster and better help for her people.
I am done being polite, and I am done being politically correct. I am mad as hell because my people’s lives are at stake.
She asks the media to “send a mayday call.”
We are dying here. If we don’t solve the logistics, we are going to see something close to a genocide.
Genocide has been called A Problem from Hell. Puerto Rico’s people are in peril of their lives and health; so many of them are desperately imperiled, in fact, that the death toll could reach genocidal proportions. It’s that critical. Mayor Cruz is right.
Instead of responding compassionately to this heartfelt appeal, however, Trump lashed out in anger, unjustly criticizing Mayor Cruz for “nasty” comments and slamming her “poor leadership ability.”
This prompted Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of “Hamilton,” to tell Donald Trump on Twitter that he will go “straight to hell” for his unjust attacks on Mayor Carmen Cruz.

As a professor of theology, I think Lin-Manuel Miranda’s insight is on target. Trump should be condemned in the strongest possible terms, and consigning someone to hell certainly does that, because today Puerto Rico is hell on earth for most of its people. And the callous and incompetent response of Trump in particular, but also his administration, is in now great part to blame. And, just to add condemnation upon condemnation, this administration deserves great blame for the hellish consequences of the climate change denial that it fosters in order to protect those who pollute the environment with fossil fuels. Warming oceans due to accelerating climate change make hurricanes larger and more destructive. It’s the science, stupid.
Mayor Cruz is “mad as hell” and Lin-Manuel Miranda is consigning Trump to hell. I realized, in reading these stories, this could be straight out of the Inferno, the political and religious allegory by Dante, the 14th century poet.

Dante was not just speculating about the afterlife. He wrote a complex symbolic poem about the fact that life in Florence, where he lived, was hell on earth for him and for many of the people.
In the Inferno, Dante maps out Hell’s organization in concentric circles. He saves the circles of hell closest to Satan for corrupt politicians. The lower circles of hell are also reserved for violence, fraud and treachery.
It has always struck me as important that Dante’s vision of hell is not the popular fiery imagery we so often see (as in “burn in hell”). Dante portrays hell as cold as ice. The worst inhabitant of hell, the fallen angel, the “emperor” Satan, huge as he is, is mired in ice, as if cut off from all human ties, all the warmth of human relationship.
The emperor of the despondent kingdom
so towered from the ice, up from midchest,
that I match better with a giant’s breadth
than giants match the measure of his arms.
[Inferno, Canto XXXIV]
There’s a reason Dante reserved the worst level of hell for those who were frozen, incapable of the warmth of feeling empathy for other people. This is the worst hell has to offer.
I feel this is why Miranda reacted to Trump’s callous threat by invoking hell. Trump’s response was cold as ice.
For the rest of us, empathy for Puerto Rico, and for all those who have been affected by these devastating hurricanes, is an imperative.
I have given both to Volunteers of America and to United for Puerto Rico. There are many other fine organizations helping right now.
I tell you truly, I pray Donald Trump’s frozen heart thaws and he too responds with warmth and aid for all those in Puerto Rico and beyond who need the help of the United States.
But suffering people can’t wait to see if that happens.
Please do what you can right now. This hell on earth is real.


Friday, September 29, 2017

Inter-Generational Protest

On Saturday my kids and I were driving up to the Litekyan demonstration organized by Manhoben para Guåhan at the front gate of Andersen Air Force base. When we were almost there, a half dozen Guam police vehicles rushed by us. We quickly parked and ran over to the demonstration site across the road from the gate. We could see the line of police cars and also, to our surprise, a line of protestors blocking several of the lanes to the gate. Both kids cried "ti malago' yu' ma'aresta!" and "mungga' yu' ma'aresta." 

When we got to the demonstration site and got a better look at the line of protestors, we saw the outline of my dad and their grandfather. I walked across to join him and learn more about what was happening, Akli'e' disobeying me and sneakily walking behind me. We embraced him and he gave us an overview of what happened during the protest. I felt so proud of him that he had joined the others to symbolically block traffic and bring attention to the issue of Litekyan, but I couldn't help but ask him why he had joined. 

He acknowledged that when they had been discussing temporarily blocking the gate, he had been torn over what he should do. He said he asked himself "What would Miget do?" and then thought of his own grandchildren and future great-grandchildren not being able to visit beautiful Litekyan and he said he felt like he needed to join the protest to represent the family. 

Si Yu'us Ma'åse tatå-hu para i bidå-mu guihi na diha! Sen gefpå'go nu Guahu! Magof hu na listo hao para un tachuyi i famagu'on-hu yan i familia-ta!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Justifying Colonialism

The fact that even now, after most of the world has acknowledged that colonization is an evil that must be eradicated, people still debate its merits and occasionally argue for its return, is a testament to the complexity that comes with colonization. Regardless of the ways in which people (sometimes myself included) try to propose colonialism as being a simple binary or something with clear moral boundaries, the process itself and the way it becomes deeply entrenched and embedded, means that long after the colonizer's flag is gone and no one is whipping or punishing anyone directly, people will still embody the logic of the colonizer's assertions of their superiority or the necessity of their dominance.

In Guam we see this manifest in so many ways, despite Guam being one of the oldest remaining colonies in the world. People argue that Guam didn't suffer or isn't suffering. They argue that without colonialism Guam would be filled with pagan, naked savages. They argue that because Chamorros accepted things like Catholicism or began to feel patriotism to the US, then this justifies colonialism or turns it into something more acceptable. I remember once coming across the argument that Guam can't be a colony because the US isn't exploiting it enough. That if Guam was a real colony there would be more exploitation of what the US values, but because that doesn't take place, we can't be a colony. An intriguing way of both attempting to wash away the colonizer's presence, but also tear down the colonized people and what they represent in an attempt to justify the colonizer's place in the hierarchy once again. Whenever I hear that argument I have to marvel at the crude way in which someone self-immolates and destroys themselves on behalf of the colonizer's greatness. We aren't being colonized because we suck so bad and have nothing anyone wants. Isn't it nice then that someone wants to colonize us?

This is on my mind this morning because of the controversy over a horrifically bad article that was published recently in the academic journal Third World Quarterly. It is a disgraceful apologist rant, which aims to argue that colonialism was not only good, but should return in an evolved form to save developing countries. The article has almost now connection to history or reality, but simply written by someone who wants to try to erase stains on the alleged greatness of Western civilization.

Below is a great response to that horrible article.

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"A Quick Reminder of Why Colonialism Was So Bad"
by Nathan J. Robinson
Current Affairs
September 14, 2017


Perhaps the easiest way to understand why colonialism was so horrific is to imagine it happening in your own country now. It is invaded, conquered, and occupied by a foreign power. Existing governing institutions are dismantled and replaced by absolute rule of the colonizers. A strict hierarchy separates the colonized and the colonizer; you are treated as an inconvenient subhuman who can be abused at will. The colonists commit crimes with impunity against your people. Efforts at resistance are met with brutal reprisal, sometimes massacre. The more vividly and accurately you manage to conjure what this scenario would actually look like, the more horrified you will be by the very idea of colonialism.
 
One would think this revulsion was now universally shared. But that is far from being the case. The majority of British people are still proud of colonialism and the British Empire. Americans continue to show an almost total indifference to the lasting poverty and devastation inflicted on the country’s indigenous population. Being pro-colonial is no bar to success in academia; Harvard historian Niall Ferguson has long defended the British Empire as a force for good in the world. And now, Princeton PhD and Portland State University professor Bruce Gilley has published an unapologetic “Case for Colonialism” in Third World Quarterly, a respected academic journal.

Gilley’s article takes a very clear stance: not only was colonialism a force for good in the world, but anti-colonial sentiment is “preposterous.” What’s more, Gilley says, we need a new program of colonization, with Western powers taking over the governing functions of less developed countries. Gilley says he intends to overturn or revise three lines of criticism directed against colonialism: “that it was objectively harmful (rather than beneficial),” “that it was subjectively illegitimate (rather than legitimate),” and “that it offends the sensibilities of contemporary society.” Thus he is not just concerned to prove that colonialism was good and should be revived. He also wants to prove that it was “legitimate,” i.e. that there is nothing inherently unjust about invading and dominating a people.
Gilley’s article is a truly extraordinary piece of work. It’s hard to believe, at first, that it isn’t a Sokal-esque satire intended to prove how normalized abhorrent opinions are. But it appears to be sincere. And because it appeared in a mainstream journal, and the sentiments it expresses are somewhat common, it’s worth responding to the case Gilley makes. 

Gilley’s argument is, roughly: opposition to colonialism is reflexive rather than reasoned. This has caused terrible consequences, because postcolonial governments have hurt their people by attempting to destroy beneficial colonial institutions. The “civilizing mission” of colonialism was valuable and had a positive effect. Colonialism was legitimate because it helped people and many populations were willing to tolerate it. Anti-colonial arguments are often incoherent, blaming colonial governments for all ills rather than examining what would have occurred in the absence of those governments. And colonialism should cease to be a dirty word; in fact, it should be re-instituted, because many developing countries are incapable of self-government. Gilley’s article is brief, so he does not elaborate much on each of these points. But the thrust of the article is that a commitment to factual rigor requires an unbiased assessment of colonialism, and that such an assessment will reveal colonialism to be a good thing for the colonized. Anti-colonialism is a destructive and irrational “ideology” that should be abandoned. 

I suppose to those unfamiliar with the history, Gilley’s argument could appear superficially persuasive. But a moment’s examination of the record reveals why the case he makes is abhorrent. Gilley says he is simply asking for an unbiased assessment of the facts, that he just wants us to take off our ideological blinders and examine colonialism from an empirical perspective. But this is not what he has done. Instead, in his presentation of colonialism’s record, Gilley has deliberately excluded mention of every single atrocity committed by a colonial power. Instead of evaluating the colonial record empirically, he has distorted that record, concealing evidence of gross crimes against humanity. The result is not only unscholarly, but is morally tantamount to Holocaust denial.

First, Gilley says he is making a “case for colonialism,” to rescue Western colonial history’s “bad name.” But he restricts his examination to “the early nineteenth to mid-twentieth centuries.” He does so because if he were to include the first 300 years of Western colonialism (i.e. the majority), it would be almost impossible to mount any kind of case that the endeavor benefited indigenous populations. The civilizations of the Americas were exterminated by colonialism, through disease, displacement, resource depletion, one-sided warfare, and outright massacre, and their populations suffered a “catastrophic collapse.” Since it is impossible to spin this as benefiting the inhabitants, Gilley avoids mentioning that it even happened. This, in itself, in an article defending “colonialism,” should sufficiently prove that Gilley is unwilling to consider evidence that contradicts his case, by discussing “colonialism” generally while selecting only the cases in which native populations were not extinguished.

Next, Gilley’s method of defending colonialism is through “cost-benefit analysis,” in which the harms of colonialism are weighed against the “improvements in living conditions” and better governance. (Gilley even proposes “greater business confidence” as a potential benefit of a neo-colonial project.) He quotes his standard of measurement: 

[I]n times and places where colonial rule had, on balance, a positive effect on training for self-government, material well-being, labor allocation choices, individual upward mobility, cross-cultural communication, and human dignity, compared to the situation that would likely have obtained absent European rule, then the case for colonialism is strong. Conversely, in times and places where the effects of foreign rule in these respects were, on balance, negative compared to a territory’s likely alternative past, then colonialism is morally indefensible 

We should observe here that this is a terrible way of evaluating colonialism. It is favored by colonialism’s apologists because it means that truly unspeakable harms can simply be “outweighed” and thereby trivialized. We can see quickly how ludicrous this is: “Yes, we may have indiscriminately massacred 500 children, but we also opened a clinic that vaccinated enough children to save 501 lives, therefore ‘the case for colonialism is strong.’” We don’t allow murderers to produce defenses like this, for good reason: you can’t get away with saying “Yes, I killed my wife, but I’m also a fireman.” We must also be careful about using hypothetical counterfactuals: examining whether colonialism is “better than what would have happened in its absence.” I’m reading Great Expectations at the moment, and so I’ll call this the “Pip’s sister defense”: Pip’s sister justifies her cruelty and physical abuse by constantly reminding Pip that if it were not for her, he would be in an even worse situation. It’s an argument frequently deployed by abusive and exploitative individuals in order to justify their acts. And the point is that whether or not it’s true is immaterial to the evaluation of the person’s crimes. Gilley and other colonial apologists, like the husband telling his wife that while she may not like being hit, she should remember who provides for her, try to exonerate colonial powers by suggesting that enough economic growth could somehow make a “strong case for colonialism” even if there had been constant mass rape and torture. (By the way, I think even committed opponents of colonialism may sometimes fall into this trap. They may feel as if it is necessary to deny that colonialism ever brought any benefits—which, as Gilley points out, even Chinua Achebe doesn’t think. Instead, it’s important to point out that building power lines and opening a school doesn’t provide one with a license to rob and murder people. Furthermore, nobody should be surprised if performance on certain economic and political metrics did end up declining in the postcolonial era, since reconstructing a functioning country after decades or centuries of subjugation is… not easily done.) 

But even if we assume that “cost-benefit” analysis is the correct way to examine colonialism, Gilley has to distort the evidence in order to prove his case. For example, Gilley cites the fact that “since gaining independence, Congo has never had at its disposal an army comparable in efficiency and discipline” to that it had under the Belgians, commenting that “Maybe the Belgians should come back.” If one knows anything about the history of the Belgian Congo, one knows that this statement is equivalent to saying “Maybe the Confederacy should come back” to the American South. Belgian King Leopold created possibly the most infamous colonial regime in history. Contemporaries called it “legalized robbery enforced by violence,” and Leopoldturned his ‘Congo Free State’ into a massive labour camp, made a fortune for himself from the harvest of its wild rubber, and contributed in a large way to the death of perhaps 10 million innocent people.” Belgian rule in the Congo was a reign of terror that scandalized the world:

Much of the death toll was the result of killing, pure and simple. Villages were dragooned into tapping rubber, and if they refused to comply, or complied but failed to meet European quotas, they were punished. The hands of dead Congolese were severed and kept by militias to account to their quartermasters for spent ammunition. And, as Morel said, the practice of mutilation was extended to the living. By far the greatest number of deaths, however, were caused by sickness and starvation. The effect of the terror was to drive communities from their sources of food.

Above is one of the most disturbing pictures I have ever seen (WARNING), taken by English missionary and journalist Alice Seeley Harris, who exposed the Belgian abuses. It depicts a man looking at the severed hand and foot of his murdered daughter, who had been killed after the man failed to meet his daily rubber harvesting quotient:

It is shocking that Gilley could discuss Belgian colonialism without so much as mentioning any of this in his “cost-benefit” analysis. But then, despite promising to weigh negatives against positives, he doesn’t really discuss any negatives. He says British suppression of the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya was better than the alternative, but doesn’t discuss what it involved, namely mass detention and human rights abuse. Kenyans wereput in camps where they were subject to severe torture, malnutrition, beatings. The women were sexually assaulted. Two of the men were castrated. The most severe gruesome torture you could imagine.” Gilley doesn’t deal with or refute this, he simply writes all allegations off as “scolding.” (Even Niall Ferguson admits that “When imperial authority was challenged… the British response was brutal.) Likewise unmentioned is what happened in India under British rule: the horrific Amritsar massacre, the mass famines that killed millions, and the horrors of the partition. French crimes in Algeria: unmentioned. German genocide in Namibia: unmentioned. Heck, Gilley doesn’t even mention racism, or the various psychological wounds inflicted on colonized people by a dehumanizing ideology (as explained by Aimé Césaire, Frantz Fanon, and Albert Memmi, all of whom… also go unmentioned.) One of the cruelest aspects of colonialism is the way it forces the colonized into servility and obedience, yet this doesn’t even count as a “cost.”

In “Shooting an Elephant,” while conceding the prejudices he had developed against the Burmese, George Orwell expressed the revulsion that he felt about participating in the colonial project:
I hated it more bitterly than I can perhaps make clear. In a job like that you see the dirty work of Empire at close quarters. The wretched prisoners huddling in the stinking cages of the lock-ups, the grey, cowed faces of the long-term convicts, the scarred buttocks of the men who had been flogged with bamboos — all these oppressed me with an intolerable sense of guilt.

I say, then, that Gilley’s article is “morally tantamount to Holocaust denial” because if you say you are performing a cost-benefit analysis of colonialism, and you ignore colonial atrocities, you are fabricating history. Gilley says that anti-colonialism is just leftist ideology, that it doesn’t take account of the facts, but it’s his article that depicts a factually false version of colonial history, one in which colonists acted out of benevolent and civilizing motives, and primarily devoted themselves to opening schools and hospitals, and imposing efficient government. The worst he will say about colonialism is that it was “not an unalloyed good.” 

The portions of Gilley’s article alleging that colonialism was “legitimate” adopt reasoning that cannot possibly be taken seriously. Gilley says that “alien rule has often been legitimate in world history because it has provided better governance than the indigenous alternative.” If this logic were accepted, anyone could establish totalitarian rule over anyone else if they could “govern them better than they can govern themselves”; Gilley doesn’t provide any reason why we should accept that theory, he just says it. Gilley also says colonized populations engaged in “relatively voluntary acts” like  “send[ing] their children to colonial schools and hospitals” and “fight[ing] for colonial armies” that legitimized the enterprise, and that “the rapid spread and persistence of Western colonialism with very little force relative to the populations and areas concerned is prima facie evidence of its acceptance by subject populations compared to the feasible alternatives.” Somehow, obtaining compliance from an indigenous population means obtaining legitimacy, which is like saying that a man with a gun to his head has voluntarily decided to give you his wallet. As evidence that colonizers were not attempting to pillage the colonized, he says “Despite cries of ‘exploitation’, colonialism was probably a money loser for imperial powers,” reasoning that would lead us to believe that if a company loses money it must not be seeking profit. 

I go into this level of detail because I think it’s crucial to show that Gilley’s article is not a serious work of scholarship. I think the gut reaction of many people will be that Gilley’s arguments are “self-evidently” absurd. But apparently this is not the case, because the Third World Quarterly chose to publish them. I don’t know why they made that decision; frankly, it’s very strange. The board of TWQ is stocked with anticolonial lefties like Vijay Prashad and Noam Chomsky, and while Prashad has said that they didn’t see the article before publication (and threatened to resign if it’s not retracted), it’s odd that the editors themselves thought an essay suggesting that the Belgians should recolonize the Congo was a useful contribution to scholarly discourse.

But while TWQ’s motives remain inscrutable, I suspect I understand Gilley’s. This article does not read as if it is attempting to be taken seriously. Its tone toward critics of colonialism is polemical and mocking (these scholars have a “metropolitan flaneur culture of attitude and performance”). Gilley must intend to provoke people to rage: postcolonial countries should be like Britain, which “embraced and celebrated its colonisers”; anticolonial thought was about “advocacy” rather than “accuracy”; colonialism was not just legitimate but “highly legitimate”; and we should “build new Western colonies from scratch” and “colonial states should be paid for their services” by the colonized.
I expect Gilley wants the following to happen: people will be outraged. They will call for the article to be retracted. Then, Gilley will complain of censorship, and argue that lefties don’t care about the facts, and that his points has been proved by the fact that they’d rather try to have his article purged than have to refute its claims. This is a dynamic that has occurred many, many times. It’s what Milo Yiannopoulos did: he would say things that were truly upsetting and outrageous (including bullying and mocking individual students), then when people got upset and outraged and tried to shut him down, he would complain that “SJWs” were trying to censor him because they can’t deal with facts and arguments. The same thing happened when conservative law professors recently published an op-ed blaming the “rap culture of inner-city blacks” for cultural decline, with one of them lauding the “superiority” of white European culture. People got upset, for obvious reasons, and students objected to having to be taught by a white supremacist. But when one of the professors went on FOX News, he declared that “there were no allegations that anything we said was incorrect.” (There were plenty of such allegations.) 

It’s a predictable pattern: A conservative publishes something that is both factually duplicitous and morally heinous. The liberal reaction focuses on the moral heinousness. The conservative says that the liberal doesn’t care about facts. I have a sneaking fear that Bruce Gilley is going to end up on Tucker Carlson’s show, whining that the left wants his article retracted because they refuse to confront the true facts of colonialism and because they are biased against white Europeans.
And so I’m worried about how the response to this article may play out. I am not signing the petition to have it retracted, because I believe that the journal shouldn’t retract it simply because there was public pressure. I am also very concerned that this could be a PR coup for the right, as so many of these things are. It’s tough, of course, because for the reasons I’ve outlined above, the article shouldn’t have been published. Gilley did not meet the standards that should be expected of an academic. He falsified history. When evaluated by a fair standard, he has not upheld the honesty and rigor that should be expected of someone in his position, and the article is a factual disgrace as well as a moral one. But it would be very easy to fall into a certain predictable trap, where the left calls Bruce Gilley a racist, and Gilley declares that they simply can’t handle the truth. And while I’m sympathetic to the argument that we should avoid that by Not Even Addressing Such Rubbish, bad arguments fester when they go unaddressed. (This is why I put myself through the ordeal of reading The Bell Curve.)

I think, then, that all responses to this article should be rigorous and careful. I think everyone should try to read the full thing, to know what Gilley argues and what he doesn’t argue. And we must repeatedly emphasize that the reason Gilley’s piece is so wretched is not just because it advocates something that contradicts our sense of justice, but because he has deliberately produced a false version of history. I am sick and tired of people on the right saying those of us on the left simply Can’t Respond To Their Arguments. I’ve read their arguments, and they’re bad. 

Friday, September 22, 2017

Tinestigu-hu put Resolution 228-34

My testimony from earlier today at the Guam Legislature. I made it a point to write and deliver my testimony gi Fino' Chamorro. Crafting this testimony was difficult in Chamorro as these are all ideas and concepts I am used to articulating in English, but rarely in Chamorro. I figure though that for each time some important issue is discussed at the Legislature in a public hearing, I should try my best to testify in Chamorro and hopefully others will follow suit, even if just mixing Chamorro and English together or saying part of their remarks in Chamorro. It was very inspiring to see so many people gathered for a resolution sponsored by Senator Telena Nelson calling for a halt to the construction of the firing range at Litekyan. I was fortunate to be the second person to speak, as others waited for hours.

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Buenas yan Håfa Adai,

I na’ån-hu si Michael Lujan Bevacqua. Hu tutuge’ este na tinestigu-hu komo taotao gi kumunidåt. Ti hu kuentusisiyi i inetnon-hu Independent Guåhan pat ti hu kuentusisiyi i che’cho’-hu gi Unibetsedåt Guåhan. Hu tutuge’ este komo un lahen Chamorro yan lahen Guåhan yan un tåta para dos na påtgon. 

Hu gof sapopotte este na Resolution (228-34) ni’ madiskukuti på’go. Hu sapopotte este para meggai na rason, uno bai hu diskuti guini gi tinestigu-hu på’go.

Gi såkkan Dos Mitt Dies, humånao yu’ ya hu bisita i islan Jeju giya South Korea, ko’lo’o’ña i sengsong Gangjeong. Gefpå’go na tåno’ ayu. Manmångnge’ yan mambutmuchahu lokkue’ i taotao. Achokka’ dikike’ ayu na songsong, mambanidosu i taotao guihi yan i hinihot yan i tano’, sa’ pinat mampeskådot yan mangguagualo’ i mañåsaga’.

Hu bisita ayu na tåno’ gi ayu na tiempo, sa’ i militåt Amerikånu yan South Korean, esta ma tutuhon plumaneneha na para u mahabao i tano’ gi kanton tåsi, ya para u madestrosa para i hinatsan un nuebu na puetton militåt.

I meggaiña na taotao giya South Korea yan gi i islan Jeju, ma sapotte este. Ti dångkolo’ i sengsong Gangjeong. I gobetnamento gi isla yan gi South Korea, ilek-ñiha na gof båli yan impottånte este na nuebu na sagan militåt hun. Ilek-ña i militåt na este na kinahat para u chinile’ guatu mas meggai na salåpe’ yan cho’cho’ para i isla. Ilek-ña lokkue’ hun na este na sagan militåt para u dinifende i tano’ kontra enimigu.

I meggaiña na taotao giya Jeju yan giya South Korea, ma aksepta este na hinasso. Sa’ para siha, tåya’ magåhet gåsto. Tåya’ minalingu giya siha pat gi fi’on-ñiha. Gi inatan-ñiha, håfa i gåsto para mas dinifende yan salåpe’? Noskuantos åcho’ tåsi yan i lanchon noskuantos na lanchero lokkue’. Ti atdet.

Lao este i prublema. I meggaiña na taotao ti ma tungo’ ayu na lugåt ya tåya’ magåhet tiningo’-ñiha put i tano’ lokkue’. Ti ma tungo’ i tano’ taiguihi i guagualo’ yan i peskådot. Para este, ma tungo’ na i bali-ña i tano’, tahdongña kinu i sanhilo’ ha’, håfa a’annok, pat håfa siña makåhat gi sanhilo’-ña.

Ma tungo’ na i bali-ña un lugåt ti humuhuyong gi numero, gi salåpe’. Ti kuentåyon este na prinesisu. I bali-ña un lugåt tahdongña lokkue’ ki i uså-ña. Humuhuyong i magahet bali-ña gi mapruthi-ña, gi madifende-ña, gi maguaiyå-ña. Kontat ki un agradedesi i tano’ siña un kompreprende i magåhet na bali-ña. Lao gigon un yute’ enao na respetu, enao na inagradesi, malingu i kinemprende lokkue’.

I manåmko’-ta, esta ma tungo’ este. Gi fino’ i manåmko’, “i salape’ un sosodda’, un yuyute’, lao unu ha’ i tano’-mu.” Gi otro hinasso ta tungo’ este gi palåbra “inafa’maolek.”

Hu bisita i sengsong Gangjeong para dos dihas, ya gi unn na puenge, mandanña’ i taotao ya hami yan otro na demilitarization activists, in kuentusi siha. Gi ayu na tiempo, esta ma tutuhon i taotao i sengsong kumokontra i planu-ña i gobetnamento yan i militåt. Ya desde ayu esta på’go mananachu ha’ i taotao, achokka’ i militåt esta ha chule’ i lugåt, ha destrosa i tano’ ya ma baba i sagan militåt gi ma’pos na såkkan. Lao guihi na puenge hu sangåni i manmåtto na i bidan-ñiñiha, anai mamproprotest, “etmas gefpå’go gi hilo’ tåno’.”

Para i manggaige guihi, meggai ti ma komprende este, pi’ot sa’ un atungo’-hu pumupula’ i sinangån-hu gi fino’ Koreanu. Unu na bihu ha chanda yu’, ilek-ña taimanu na bonito håfa masusesedi guini? Na’triste. Sen na’triste. I manggaipodet, i manggaikepble, ma kekedulalak ham.

Hu na’klåruyi gui’ na ti gefpå’go håfa masusesedi yan i malabidadå-ña i militåt yan i gobetnamento. Lao este na dinanña’ yan este na kinalamten sen gefpå’go. Sa’ humuyong i sinienten-miyu, ti put i chinattao, pat put i hambienton-miyu. Humuyong sa’ en tingo’ i magåhet na bali-ña i tano’.

Gi i lepblo-ña “An Ordinary Person’s Guide to Empire” i Indian na titige’ si Arundhati Roy ha tuge’ este put i hinasso ni’ i taotao Gangjeong kumokontra:

Everything's discounted -- oceans, rivers, oil, gene pools, fig wasps, flowers, childhoods, aluminum factories, phone companies, wisdom, wilderness, civil rights, ecosystems, air -- all 4,600 million years of evolution. It's packed, sealed, tagged, valued and available off the rack. (No returns).

Hu sangåni siha put i kinalamten giya Guåhan put i prinitehien Pågat. Ilek-hu na hu li’e’ i parehu na ginefpå’go guini. Giya Guåhn yan gi kada tåno’, guaha lugåt kinenttura, lugåt gaibåli para i natibu na taotao, lao meggai na lugåt taiguini, manmachule’, manmasåkke’ pat manmabende. Nina’magof yu’ na guaha giya Guåhan yan giya Gangjeong, ni’ ti ma tattitiyi este na chålan dispetdisio. Ma rekoknisa na guaha bali-ña i taiprisu. Ya buente i minetgot pat i fuetsan un taotao pat un kumunidåt ti put håfa siña ma nå’i, pat tulaika, pat ma bende. Mismo este na minetgot ginen ayu siha ni’ ti para un tulaika, pat bende, pat fama’salåpe’.

Meggai giya South Korea, ma sångan na este taotao Gangjeong ni’ mamproprotest, mantaimamahlao. Mangkaduku, manatmario. Masångan este put si Angel Santos. Masångan este lokkue’ put si Robert Underwood pat si Hope Cristobal. Gi fino-ña’ si Mike Phillips anai ha difende si Anghet Santos gi kotte, masångan este lokkue’ put si MLK pat si Gandhi yan otro taotao taiguihi ni’ manmao’onra på’go.

Ta o’onra este na klasen taotao på’go, achokka’ guaha nai manmadespresia yan manmahokse’ gi tiempon-ñiha, ta tungo’ på’go na tininas i sinangan-ñiha yan gi bidan-ñiha, ma gigiha i taotao-ñiha gi chålan mas tininas yan gaiminaolek. Kada uno gi tiempon-ñiha, ma atan un hemplo taiguini ya ilek-ñiha nu i taotao gi oriyan-ñiha, “Båsta!” “Esta måtto di måtai dimasiao este, ti siña ta sedi este, nihi!”

Ya gi tiempon på’go, hu a’atan este na kinalåmten, para i prinitehen Litekyan, ya nina’siesiente i parehu yan gi ayu na puenge gi sengsong Gangjeon giya Jeju. Este na kinalamenten, i taotao guini ni’ ma kekechomma’ este na churan malabida, este etmas gefpå’go gi hilo’ tåno’. A’annok gi este na kuatto yan gi este na kinalamten hustisia, minaolek yan todu ta gof nisisita muna’utas gi este na tiempon machalapon yan mitinilaika. 

Gi finakpo’, uu sapopotte este na bill ni’ madiskukuti guini. Hu agradesi este na chånsa ni’ manå’i yu’ para bai hu kuentusi hamyo på’go. Si Yu’us Ma’åse.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Funds for Freedom

Independent Guåhan will be joining a delegation from Guam that is heading to the UN to testify before the Fourth Committee in the first week of October. We are seeking funds to help cover the costs for this trip. If you are able please donate at our Go Fund Me Page "Funds for Freedom."

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Håfa Adai!

Every October, the United Nations Special Political and Decolonization Committee (Fourth Committee) meets to discuss the status of the world’s 17 remaining Non-Self Governing Territories, including Guam. This is the one opportunity the people of Guam have every year to directly address the 193 member states of the UN General Assembly.

This year, the General Assembly will vote on a resolution that includes powerful and important language about the continued colonization and militarization of Guam and the direct impediments to the CHamoru people’s right to self-determination.

Guam's governor has also requested a UN visiting mission to assess the status of self-determination on Guam, and to push for the decolonization of the island.

Independent Guåhan wants to send a delegation of CHamorus to testify before the Fourth Committee in support of the language in the resolution, as well as urge the UN to send a visiting mission. The delegates will also meet with representatives from member states to encourage them to take action for Guam, especially in light of the recent threat from North Korea to bomb our home(is)land.

With your help and contribution, you will be supporting the CHamoru delegation with the following:

-Airfare (from Guam and the Bay Area to New York)
-Food
-Housing
-Transportation
-Report-back events
-Creation of Educational materials

Saina ma'åse for supporting our work towards an independent Guåhan!!


~Kerri Ann Borja
Organizational Development Committee Co-Chair,
Independent Guåhan

Friday, September 15, 2017

Kichikichi yan Bukåyu

I haven't translated an English pop song into Chamorro in very long time. I was feeling nostalgic the other day and decided to translate "Sex and Candy" by Marcy's Playground. Note that the translation isn't meant to be literal and I changed things where I saw it appropriate in particular lines such as "disco candy" and "platform double suede."

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Kichichi yan Bukåyu

Humahaggan yu’
Guahu na maisa
Åpmam na tiempo
Para bai fanhasso
Put Guahu
Ya desnek gui’
Kulang mesgo’ yan minangnge’
Hu’u ayugue

Mannginge’ yu’
Kichikichi yan bukåyu
Håyi matata’chong
Gi siyå-hu?
Håyi mana’atan båba giya Guahu
Nåna siempre
Guinife ha’ este!

Humahaggan yu’
Guahu na maisa
Ya hu dafflokgue
Kafe gumimen
Ya duru manhasso yu’
Put Guahu
Ya desnek gui’
Gi dogga’ na yore’
Hu’u ayugue
Kulang tuban binakle

Mannginge’ yu’
Kichikichi yan bukåyu
Håyi matata’chong
Gi siyå-hu?
Håyi mana’atan båba giya Guahu
Nåna siempre
Guinife ha’ este!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Anti-America, Anti-Colonial

It is a strange paradox in a colony to consider the issue of patriotism and or lack thereof.

On the one hand, as a colony you are being discriminated or marginalized in some way that is fundamental to your political relationship. Whether it be massacres and mass exploitation of resources or the creation of rules and laws that disenfranchise you and leave sovereign power over your lives and lands with those thousands of miles away. In this context, patriotism or devotion to the colonizer seems very unlikely in a colony. But this isn't really the case.

Although the basis for patriotism is a reciprocal inclusion. It is not simply a unilateral love, but rather the relationship whereby your political love will be rewarded with a set of basic rights or forms of recognition. Despite the inequality or lack of a well-defined circle of recognized belonging, patriotism is still routinely found in the colonies, and even takes on superlative forms.

Colonies are structured so that, there is always a path of assimilation or subordination, which can offer a variety of means of improvement or prosperity within the world defined by the colonizer and their greatness. This means that being an angry and recalcitrant native doesn't get you much in the colonial world, as the colonizer is looking for loyal and subservient subjects that are willing to show their acceptance of the colonizer's superiority in their identity and cultural expressions.

This means that there is always that patriotic mirage along the horizon. That if one simply embodies the greatness of the colonizer in a host of ways, that you will be able to enjoy that political oasis long denied to people just like you and all around you. This commonly leads to forms of over-compensation, where minority or colonial groups feel compelled to criticize less and assert less for themselves, in the hopes that their exuberance will cover and erase the gap that surrounds them and makes them an object of racism and discrimination.

And so even in colonies people are condemned for lack of patriotism and in an even more ridiculous way, bring out rhetoric about the evils of being "anti-colonizer" or in the case of Guam, "anti-American." As colonization is now almost universally recognized as being immoral and wrong, should this by extension mean that within a colonial community, being patriotically in favor of that condition might be also universally recognized as wrong or short-sighted?

This is part of the problem with patriotism in colonies and to an extent any society. Is that it substitutes warm and fuzzy feelings for truth and practical reality. It imagines that powerful images of the nation at its finest illustrate some crucial dimension of the government of the actions of the country in question. And as a result it perpetuates the idea that if one believes in the nation, the nation will do better, will support the individual. While this makes sense within a country and depending on where you fit within the social hierarchy, it makes very little sense coming from a colony.

Feeling that patriotic love or devotion can overcome the colonial difference simply isn't true, simply isn't how things work.

This is on my mind this week after some articles appeared in the Guam Daily Post recently about a Chamorro teacher at Southern High school making "anti-American" statements during his class. After reading the articles, the statements were barely anti-American and in truth just critical. The kind of critique people in the colonies need more of, not less.

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Southern High teacher unapologetic
by Andrew Roberto
Guam Daily Post
September 3, 2017

A teacher recently found himself in hot water at Southern High School for making a student uncomfortable with a political lecture. However, Gregorio Ecle, a CHamoru language and culture teacher, says his lecture was taken out of context.

Ecle is the Southern High teacher who was recorded making an impassioned, frustrated critique of American foreign policy during a CHamoru class. Among many different things, a recording was sent to The Guam Daily Post in which Ecle said, “America flexes its muscles all the time,” and “because it doesn’t adhere to the way you and your people think you think it’s wrong. That’s why everyone hates America — because we always think we know what’s best and can change everyone, but people from America just need to shut the (expletive) up!”

According to Ecle, the recorded segment represents only a portion of what was discussed in class that day. In addition to discussing the means of American colonization, he discussed Spanish and Japanese colonization of Guam.

The topic turned to the Middle East to contemporize the issue, Ecle said.

“My lesson is on decolonization,” Ecle told the Post, “but in order for my students to understand decolonization, I have to make sure I teach them about colonization.”

Ecle, who has been teaching for seven years, says he apologizes if he offended a student or parent with his lecture delivery, however, he does not apologize for being critical of colonization.

“I have always been the type of teacher that will give the students the truth," Ecle said. "I’m going to give it like it is, it might sound uncomfortable, it might make you feel uncomfortable, but at that point, there’s no nice way to talk about being colonized."

Ecle added that he never wants his students to accept his opinions as the “gospel truth,” and that he encourages all of them to question him. “I welcome (students) to go and do the research and find these things on your own. Find your own truth.” He said he also reminds students that they won’t be tested on the opinions that he shares in class.

But as for dropping an expletive in class, Ecle brushed off most accountability for it.

He said, “Should profanities be utilized in a classroom period? Probably not. Is it? Absolutely. As a student myself, I heard it a lot. I’m not saying that that validates it and makes it OK, not at all. But as everybody knows when you get impassioned about something, sometimes you let loose and you say things that in the moment you didn’t mean to say.”

Ecle teaches two CHamoru language and culture classes at Southern High School, one with more than 30 students and another with over 50 students.

One student, Caitlin Tutuw, spoke to the Guam Daily Post in support of her teacher.

During a phone interview, Tutuw said she enjoys the lessons in Ecle’s class. Tutuw said that she felt Ecle welcomed her Yapese identity, even if Ecle was proud of his own cultural identity.

She reiterated that the article “made it seem that he’s a bad teacher when he really isn’t.”

In Tutuw’s opinion, Ecle has “blown her mind” with what she’s learned, specifically in regards to hardships faced throughout CHamoru history. She also responded favorably about his lecture style, saying she appreciated his honesty and that she never felt put down.

Tutuw, however, also said she is not a classmate of the student who was offended.

The media attention had his classes talking, as they were able to identify for themselves who the student in question was after reading her mom’s name in the Post, according to Ecle.

But he says for the most part, the day at Southern High School continued on mostly normal.

In class, Ecle says that he treats his students like young adults, and to him that entails speaking to them on a level that challenges them to broaden their minds when it might be difficult to overcome biases.

He said he's hoping to find the silver lining from the media attention.

“We find comfort with those that agree with us and we find growth with those that don’t,” he said “and that’s exactly what this moment is.”

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Teacher's rant sparks parent's complaint
by Mindy Aguon
Guam Daily Post
August 31, 2017

Denise Pangelinan sends her two daughters off to school at Southern High School every morning with the hope they are gaining knowledge and an education that will equip them for their future.
But several text messages and a voice recording sent by her daughter who was attending CHamoru language class yesterday morning were cause for concern and now the subject of an investigation by the school's administration.

"She texted me saying her teacher was saying things like 'America is stupid,' and it made my daughter very uncomfortable," Pangelinan said.

Student recorded teacher’s rant

She was appalled at what she heard next – a one-minute recording of the teacher talking to students about America.

The male teacher was recorded saying, "America likes to flex their muscles all the time," and then questioned why the U.S. is still in Afghanistan, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

"What are we doing? That is why ISIS is alive and well, and that organization is killing everyone because everyone needs to get the hell out of their countries and leave them alone," the recording stated.

The teacher went on to tell students that he didn't believe it was right that the U.S. has gone in to help foreign countries that don't have the same beliefs.

"Just because their religion says women can't do this and women have to be subservient to men – that's their way of life. Who the hell are you to tell them it's wrong? That's how their people have been for thousands of years," the teacher said.

The lecture went on as the teacher said, "Because it doesn't adhere to the way you and your people think, you think it's wrong. That's why everyone hates America – because we always think we know what's best and can change everyone, but people from America just need to shut the (expletive) up!"
Pangelinan said she was disturbed by the comments made by the teacher and the use of inappropriate language with the students.

"How dare you imply your own political agenda on these young brains," Pangelinan told The Guam Daily Post about her reaction to the teacher. "It makes me feel very concerned. He's not even a history teacher. He's supposed to be teaching my child the CHamoru language, not his personal views."

She said she filed a complaint with Southern High Principal Jim Reyes and intends to write letters to the Guam Education Board and the superintendent.

While Pangelinan's daughter doesn't feel comfortable returning to her CHamoru class and fears retribution for her mom speaking out, the Southern High parent said the class is a requirement for her daughter to graduate.

Superintendent ‘alarmed’

Education Superintendent Jon Fernandez was surprised to hear the comments in a CHamoru class and was "alarmed" that students were made to feel offended and uncomfortable.

Fernandez said the matter will be investigated and the teacher will have an opportunity to explain himself.

He was informed that Reyes spoke to the parent and the student about the incident.

"Mr. Reyes assured me that, upon completion of his investigation, he will take appropriate action to ensure that we avoid any similar occurrences in the future," Fernandez said.

"It's unprofessional. Stick to teaching CHamoru and don't push your political beliefs on young minds," Pangelinan said. "If you hate America, don't tell my kid."

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