January 2, 2011 @ 3:17 pm
Episode 46 "Guam's War Reparations Saga: The Final Chapter? " (hosted by Dr. Vivian Dames) airs 12/17/10.
The celebration of the feast day of Santa Marian Kamalen on December 8, 2010 (see Episode 45) coincided with a photo exhibit at the Cathedral-Basilica Museum entitled "Take My Hand: Remembering How the War Began, Promoting Peace in Our Land." This exhibit is a joint effort of the Office of Senator Frank F. Blas, Jr., the National Park Service, the Guam Humanities Council, the Micronesian Area Research Center, Council of Arts & Humanities Agency and the Department of Parks and Recreation. It brings together photos and stories about Guam before the war, during the Japanese occupation, and the immediate post-war period.
The exhibit features the photos and stories of 30 Chamorro survivors of the Japanese occupation who testified before the Guam War Claims Review Commission on December 8 and 9, 2003. These heatings opened the floodgates and stories, many never told before, began to pour forth about how the Japanese military beat, raped, humiliated, enslaved and murdered many of Guam's people.
In a 1951 Peace Treaty with Japan, the United States agreed to pay all claims against Japan for atrocities suffered by U.S. citizens and nationals during the war. This included Guam. It has been 69 years and still the people of Guam await reparative justice. Of the 22,000 people who survived the war on Guam, less than 1,000 are alive today.
Every one of Guam's delegates to the U.S. Congress have introduced legislation for war reparations. Except for one bill, which created the Guam War Claims Review Commission, none have passed the Senate. In February 2009 the House of Representative passed H.R 44 the WWII Chamorro Loyalty Recognition Act, but this was never voted on in the Senate. H.R. 44 was included as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for 2011, which is now pending Senate action. Will this be the final chapter in the Guam war reparations saga?
Program guest in the first half hour is Senator Frank F. Blas, Jr. (firstname.lastname@example.org), President of the Guam War Survivors Foundation, a Republican senator elected to a fourth term and also selected Minority Leader for the Guam Legislature. He discusses what motivated him to take up the issue of war reparations, the current status and prospects for the WWII Chamorro Loyalty Recognition Act, and why it is important to close this chapter in the struggle of the people of Guam for recognition and justice. The second half of the show features the stories of two survivors, Rita Santos Cruz and Jack Lujan, recorded at the 'storytelling circle' held December 8th as part of the "Take My Hand" exhibit.
Music selections for this episode, "Take My Hand" (by Brenda Perez-Sana) and "Frankie's Song, Survive" (by i yan I), were composed for this event and produced at Elusive Light Studio. To read the stories of Guam war survivors or to sign the 'Petition2Congress' urging Congress to provide war reparations to Guam's World War II survivors, go to www.guamwarsurvivors.com.