(hosted by Dr. Vivian Dames and Victoria-Lola Leon Guerrero with production assistance of Joy White) was recorded 2/5/13, aired 5/10/13, and re-broadcast 5/17/13.
Maternalist politics have played an important role in peace and environmental movements around the world. In recognition of Mothers Day (May 12), we are pleased to offer partial coverage of the first Guam visit of the Tokyo Liaison Council of the Japan Mothers’ Congress, February 3-6, 2013. The purpose of this historic visit was to promote analysis of the impacts of the Japan - U.S Security Treaty on the quality of life in Japan, Okinawa and Guam and to forge solidarity among these island communities, especially among women.
Protests against the U.S. hydrogen bomb test explosion at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands in 1954 developed into a Japanese mother’s movement calling for the protection of all children from the dangers of nuclear war. In June 1955, the first Japan Mothers’ Congress was held and has since been held annually under the slogan, “Mothers as mothers want to cultivate and protect life.” This mothers’ movement gained impetus after President Barack Obama’s speech in April 2010 declaring that a world without nuclear weapons is a national goal of the United States. The 58th Japan Mothers’ Congress held August 25-26, 2012 in Nigata City involved more than 13,000 participants.
On the 3rd day of the Guam visit, the Japan Mothers’ Congress delegation of 37 representatives met with members of Fuetsan Famalao’an (Chamorro, for ‘the strength of women’) for a conversation. Fuetsan Famalao’anwas mobilized in 2006 to give voice to the concerns of women and girls regarding the announced relocation of US Marines from Okinawa to Guam and related military expansion.
In the first segment of this episode, we present the comments (interpreted to English) of three representatives of the Japan delegation: Yamaki Akemi, President, Tokyo Liaison Council of the Japan Mothers’ Congress; Yashuko Kura, Tokyo Mothers Congress, and Yoko Anomoto, Secretary General, Japan Federation of Women’s Organizations.
In the second segment, the representatives of Fuetsan Famalao’an present their comments. Lou Leon Guerrero discusses the sacred role of mothers as ‘protectors of our children” and the purpose of their organization; Hope Cristobal places this organization within the broader struggle for decolonization of Guahan and the importance of Chamorro language and connection to the land as wellsprings for national identity and resistance; Fanai Castro discusses the sacredness of land as vital to indigenous identity; and Selina Onedera-Salas shares four observations about what helps Guahan women to persevere in organizing and advocacy for peace.
The third segment provides coverage of a farewell dinner hosted by Guahan mothers at the home of Gwendolyn and Ray Nelson Taimanglo in the northern village of Yigo, adjacent to Anderson Air Force Base. This event was recorded by Victoria-Lola Leon Guerrero who also provides commentary. It features comments from Akiko Sekigushi (President, Tokyo Mothers’ Congress), reflections on ‘the fence’ and the legacy of war by retired Colonel Ray Taimanglo, the reading of a poem “Para I Lahi-hu” (For My Son) composed and read by Moñeka De Oro, closing remarks by Yamaki Akemi, a song by the Japan delegation, the reading by Selina Onedera-Salas of a poem entitled “Famalao’an Micronesia” (Women Micronesia), composed by Desiree Taimanglo Ventura who also provides commentary. This event concluded with a rendition by all participants of the song “We Shall Overcome.”