December 7 is quickly approaching. This date is significant because it is the final day for our residents to submit testimony in response to the US Department of Defense’s MIRC EIS. I plan on submitting a comment because, as a Chamoru woman and a mother of a Chamoru child, it bothers me to think of all that has been done, continues to be done, and now, wants to be done, in our Micronesian region. Our poor islands have become a training ground for wars we have nothing to do with. As the years go by, we’re starting to see that it is not good for us. It is not good for our children. It is not good for our health. It is not good for our water. It is not good for our land. It is not good for our culture. It is not good for our animal and plant life.
It is not good.
In November of 2010, thousands (from both on and off island) rallied together when the US Department of Defense released an EIS detailing their plans for the realignment of Okinawan troops. When the residents of Guam saw what the US wanted to do to our island, we weren’t happy. I mean, no one would be. It was actually kind of unbelievable what they wanted (want?) to do.
It was officially rated as the worst EIS ever. Their plans were met with disbelief, confusion, hurt, and a whole lot of anger. And while it was truly terrible, it was also really inspiring for me to see that our island has had enough. We’re no longer cool with people coming here and saying they’re going to do whatever they want to our home. We may not have a whole lot of political bartering power to stop it, but a part of me believes that there is power in the voice of people collectively saying “No,” even if those people are second-class, non-voting, non-represented people residing in a US colony. People responded to that EIS, lots of people. Those responses helped me to see that with education, information, and community involvement, quite a bit is possible when it comes to speaking up on our home’s behalf.
So, this time, our island is being given another set of plans explaining what our colonizer, our possessor, would like to do with our home. I have been watching from afar as a movement called, “Our Islands Are Sacred,” has worked to spread awareness about this recently released EIS. They’ve mobilized people from all over the world online and within our community. They seem mostly comprised of young people and, what I’m really happy to see, are young mothers. Seeing that so many young mothers are involved in this effort inspires me. I know where their hearts are and immediately, their efforts resonate with me. Our islands ARE sacred. Our children will inherit these islands and culturally, as CHamoru women, it is our obligation to do what we can to protect this place. So many CHamoru (and Guamanian) mommies read this blog that I felt the need to share this. By the way, thank you for reading it. I really do appreciate your emails and messages.
I hope that, no matter where you are, you will contribute your voice to this discussion. I know that it is very hard to keep up with everything happening on our island. To be honest, I always kind of feel like I’m running around trying to figure out what’s going on, but nothing is more worth trying to stay informed about than the fate of our home.