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December 29, 2014 @ 2:24 am

Ep. 207 “Remembering the Heroes of Atate: An Interview with Jose Mata Torres”

(hosted by Dr. Michael Lujan Bevacqua with production assistance of Alan Grossman and Marlon Molinos) aired 11/28/14. 

In July 1944 the Chamorro people of Guam were enduring their 32nd month of occupation under the Japanese during World War II. Forced labor had turned to forced marches and then to concentrations camps and finally, when bombs began to fall signifying the reinvasion by US forces, massacres began to take place. In the southern village of Malesso’ (Merizo), two massacres took place at Tinta and Faha. In response to these killings, Jose “Tonko” Reyes organized a group of men from the village and at the concentration camp in Atate, fought the Japanese and liberated themselves. 

Today’s episode features an interview with Jose Mata Torres (jmtorres@kuentos.guam.net), one of the men who fought the Japanese at Atate. Through collaboration with the Chamorro Studies Program and the Micronesia Area Research Center at the University of Guam his memoir Massacre at Atate will be published in 2015.  In this interview he talks about his life experiences, including his work on trying to unravel the mystery of the neurological degenerative disease Litiko Bodig and his thoughts on the legacy of the heroes of Atate.  Both in this interview and in his upcoming book, Torres asks the question of why around the island there are monuments and memorials to the Chamorros who suffered in war (such as at the sites of Tinta and Faha), but there is no commemoration or celebration of those who fought back, such as the Men of Atate.  Mr. Torres is a KPRG volunteer and has been the host of the Classical Concert program for 20 years.   

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