Monday, December 31, 2007

Chamorro blogger: remnants of colonialism

Along with Iraq and New Orleans, I'm adding the decolonization of Guam and Puerto Rico to my list of pet causes. One blogger, a Chamorro native of Guam, speaks eloquently about this issue and has, through his writings, convinced me to take this cause up with my fellow countrymen back in the continental U.S.

I'll allow you to read his blog rather than attempt to speak from my own limited experience on this island, but my position is that if the U.S. government is not going to offer these neo-colonies independence, then they should at least offer them the same level of sovereignty that the rest of the states are afforded: votes in Congress and votes in the Electoral College. In other words, full statehood and equal standing with the rest of the nation.

This is no small matter. The U.S. has granted suffrage rights to women and racial minorities, but has yet to offer full suffrage to citizens living in U.S. territories. The only solution is to end the practice of keeping territories. The fact that we have U.S. citizens who do not possess the right to vote for President or a vote in Congress on the basis that they live in the wrong part of the U.S. is criminal, and it's hypocritical of us to pretend that we believe in the principle of "all men are created equal" when we do not treat our own citizens equally.

Let me clarify that one point for my haole friends and family back home: the people of Guam are U.S. citizens, but many of you don't even know that Guam exists. This needs to change, and I am going to see to it that it does.

Decolonization Now!

However, I recognize that this type of change does not come of its own accord. The people of these U.S. territories need to demand the change and not take "no" for an answer. This is how women won the right to vote, it's how the labor laws of the early 20th century were passed, and it's how the civil rights legislation of the 1960s was passed. It's also how our territories are going to win, at a minimum, equal standing with the states, if not outright independence.

Power is never given; it is only ever taken. So to my neighbors on Guam I say, "take the power back".

1 comment:

Michael Lujan Bevacqua said...

Si Yu'us Ma'ase for your support Carbon Date. I agree with you, though about the need for Chamorros to demand more from the United States and stop accepting the status quo. Many of us are working on changing this, but we'll need more support from people from the United States such as yourself, which is why I'm glad that you'll be helping to spread the word. The cloud of power and ignorance that surrounds Guam and keeps it invisible, or keeps its colonial history and present from meaning anything, is the most powerful ally of the Pentagon.