Showing posts from October, 2018

I Mismo Na'ån-mu

One passage that has long stayed with me in terms of understanding ethics is from one of Slavoj Zizek's books, where he mentions the Egyptians being swallowed up by the Red Sea as they trail the escaping Israelites. According to Jewish tradition he writes, when the Israelites celebrate the death of their long-time enemies, God chastises them. He tells them, how dare they celebrate that which he created. Who are they to celebrate the destruction of something that comes from God. Even if they were opposed in the drama of life on earth, they come from the same source and they have right to celebrate something which is equal to them in its origin. This type of repositioning is the basis for many types of ethical engagement. The idea that there is always some deeper level, some deeper intersection of humanity that we can and should appeal to in order to create something that is more just and more moral. But we can become so comfortable in our identities, so stuck in them, that it can …

In the Land of Lobbyists

Guam will elect a new non-voting delegate this year and there will also be a change in Adelup, where a new Governor will take over. This means there could be a significant shift in terms of federal-territorial relations for Guam. I don't mean much will change from the federal side, but from Guam, this moment could mean the development of a new approach or utilizing new tools for engaging the federal government on Guam issues. Depending on how you look at the past decade or so there has been some accommodation and some antagonism. From Congresswoman Bordallo, there was quite a meeting of minds over military buildup issues and the US Department of Defense, but that came at the cost of her representing the interests of the people of Guam. Bordallo was well-liked by many of her colleagues and well liked by the US military, but in my opinion, had long become detached from changing attitudes on Guam. When the protests and organizing around Prutehi Litekyan emerged last year, Bordallo w…

IG GA October 2018

Independent Guåhan will honor the late Ron Teehan and Discuss Managing Natural Resources in their October General Assembly
For Immediate Release, October 15, 2018  Independent Guåhan (IG) invites the public to attend its October General Assembly (GA) on Thursday, October 25th from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. at the Main Pavilion of the Chamorro Village in Hagåtña. These assemblies are part of IG’s efforts to educate the community on the need for Guåhan’s decolonization and the potential benefits through achieving independence. This month’s GA will focus on how Guam might better manage its natural resources as an independent country.   
At eachGA, Independent Guåhan honors amaga’taotao: a notable figure that has helped guide the island and the Chamoru people on their quest for self-determination. For October, IG will be honoring the late Ron Franquez Teehan, a long-time advocate for the rights of the Chamoru people who passed away earlier this year.   
1982 Ron joined Robert Underwood and the late R…

Veterans for Decolonization

I have been traveling for the past few weeks and struggling while conducting research and giving a variety of presentations, to also finish up a couple of articles. One of them is based on the research I did for the Guam Humanities Council a few years ago for their exhibit Sindålu: Chamorro Journey Stories in the US Military. It was an exciting and interesting project on a variety of levels. I got to share some interesting stories that I've come across in my archival and oral history research, some of which haven't really ever been publicized before. I also got to tackle some issues in terms of understanding or unpacking contemporary Chamoru identity. The veteran subjectivity is so pervasive and somewhat hegemonic in Chamoru culture today, that it ends up taking a great deal of space, even for those who aren't veterans themselves. How many people when talking about issues of decolonization and demilitarization feel a inner need to curb their potential voice, their potenti…

Living Peace

The image is from Suicide Cliff in Tinian, where a collection of memorials for those who died in World War II can be found. 

The text below is the English translation of a poem written by Rinko Sagara, a 14 year old student from Urasoe in Okinawa. She recited it earlier this year at an event meant to remember the victims of the Battle of Okinawa in World War II. It's title is "Ikiru." 


I am living. Standing on the earth transmitting the mantle's heat, My body embraced by a pleasant, humid wind, With the scent of grass in my nostrils, My ears tuned to the distant sound of the surf. I am now living How beautiful this island where I now live is. The sparking blue sea, The shining waves releasing spray as they hit the rocks, The bleating of goats, The babbling of brooks, Small paths leading through the fields, Mountains bursting with green colors, The gentle tunes of the sanshin (three-stringed traditional instrument), The light of the sun shining down. What a beautif…

The Speakers

My latest film collaboration "The Speakers" with Kenneth Gofigan Kuper and Edgar Flores will be screened twice at #GIFF this year. Biba GIFF 2018!

 It is the perfect film for those looking for a never-ending parade of silly and stupid jokes in the Chamoru language, with a profound message about language revitalization somehow mixed in. 

Like our previous films, it was created by Ken and I, with ourselves as the actors, but the true star of the short film is meant to be I Fino' Chamoru! 

It will be featured as part of the Made in Marianas Showcase A and can be watched on October 6th at 2:45 pm and October 21st at 1 pm at the Guam Museum.

Si Yu'os Ma'åse to the team at #GIFF for once again giving our Chamoru language revitalization efforts a platform!