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Speaker's Weekly Radio Address - Mar 23

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Speaker Won Pat Weekly Address
March 23, 2011

Ni hi ta attan tatte siya' I leksion ginen eyu na ta tungo mas ginen I manmagas ya ta prepara hit para i man ma maila siha na tiempo. " Let us look on the lessons from the past so that we may learn from our predecessors and be prepared for the challenges of our future."

My Dear People of Guam, They say that history always has a way of repeating itself.  So, for the sake of those who are unfamiliar with how this tragedy concerning the future of our island plays out, let me take you back 62 years ago to the month. The Guam Congress staged a walk out in March of 1949 in protest of our subjugated status as a people and, most notably, against the abuses of the military at the time. The first of those abuses were the condemnation of local lands. The second of those abuses was the unfair wage discrimination against local workers. And third, the military's favoring of new off-island American contractors.

Sound familiar?

In the first instance, the United States military… to this very day are not fully utilizing the footprint of lands already seized from our people yet they covet more. In spite of a golf course on Anderson they want prestine lands that encompass a historic site in Pagat.

In the second and third instance, wages behind the fence are considerably higher than they are outside in our community. While this is a privilege for the few, it creates a wage disparity between service workers in the same industry but who serve different governments. I could understand paying skilled uniformed personnel for their expertise but I cannot let it go unaccounted that the US military consistently takes money away from the People of Guam in order that they may provide a similar service but solely for use by their constituents.

But there is a more sobering reality we may learn about from this story of the past. The real lesson that history provides for us is that there were "front men"---our very own people who covered for the military officers during these abuses---who allowed for these corrupt armed service officers to profit illegally. 62 years later, we see that these "front men" are also right here amongst us…who are opening up their arms on the tarmac to welcome the newest defense contractor or who stand there to pander for any opportunity to sell our public lands, worst… the very water we consume. My goodness. If they could bottle the fine air we breathe and sell it, I bet that would be on the table.

The moral of the story from 62 years ago is this: justice shall prevail on the side of the righteous. And how could standing up for one's right to self-determination or, at the very least, to one's right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness be any less noble or righteous?

Congresswoman Madelliene Bordallo stated a Republican minority of Congress moved to include a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act allowing for the US military to sell us the water that falls from above, flows and collects on our lands. Regarding this let me say: The 31st Guam Legislature shall never acquiesce to any threat upon the rights and liberties of the Chamorro people and those who choose to make Guam their home.

I applaud Senator Tom Ada for introducing Resolution 48 and my colleagues who signed along in support of that piece which firmly objects to the impositions of Congress.

Resolution 48 voices our concerns with the proposed transfer of US Navy waterworks to the Guam Waterworks Authority. We the People of Guam assert that the Navy waterworks infrastructure should be transferred at no cost to Guam's taxpayers. I repeat: we will not falter in our stance to have the waters that fall from our skies be remitted at no cost to the People of Guam. Further, the resolution clearly states our objections to the federal government once again, dictating the terms of our democracy. How is it that Congress may impose that a federal official have a seat on a duly elected commission? It shall not be the prerogative of any nation to impose its heavy hand on a free and democratic people. The days of conquest and imperial rule by force are long gone.

This is why we will continue to inform our community and the free world that you simply cannot walk up, take what isn't yours, and sell it back to the very people you exploited. For each of us, as individuals and as a community, to allow this would be self destructive. We will not lay idle and pay the price of liberty or the multi-millions in cash that the Department of the Navy is requiring of us for the water in Fena lake. We learn nothing from history if we choose not to apply the lessons and questions of the past. With this said, let me pose the following questions for us to ponder, questions that our leaders were faced with asking themselves almost half a century ago.

• How much more land must we give up?
• How much more of our natural resources must we give away---rather, buy back---for the people of Guam?
• At what price are these front men (or women) willing to sell Guam?
• And finally at what price tag is the cost of this great "Guamanian Dream?"

And if you're response is "NOT ANOTHER INCH TO GIVE," "NOT A CENT FOR WATER" that is rightfully ours," and that "OUR PEOPLE'S DIGNITY IS NOT FOR SALE" then we stand united. My Dear People of Guam, the Guam Legislature will be convening session in a few hours to discuss Resolution 48. What is going on right here on Guam is a page right out of history. Except, in our case we are regressing in our evolution as a democratic people. The federal government took and continues to take our lands and is selling us our very own resources. Now ask yourselves, would the military sell the water from Niagra Falls to the people of New York? I think not.

Remember this, when you control a people's water you control the people. A more informed social consciousness that has emerged must apply the moral of that 62 year old story which is this:
• rise against the injustices of government; and
• demand for nothing less than equality.

Saina Ma'ase
References:
Leo Babauta, 'Guam Congress Walkout', referenced March 22, 2011, ©
2009 Guampedia™,
URL: http://guampedia.com/guam-congress-walkout/
Molly Manafo, 'US Citizenship on Guam in the 1900's', referenced March 22, 2011/
URL: http://78631277.nhd.weebly.com/index.html

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