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July 28, 2013 @ 2:51 am

Ep. 155 “To Forgive, Not to Forget - 69 Years After Guam’s Liberation”

(hosted by Dr. Vivian Dames with production assistance of Joy White ) airs 7/19/13.

July 21, 2013, celebrated as Liberation Day, marks the 69th anniversary of the recapture of Guam by US forces after two and half years of Japanese occupation.  In the closing days of the Japanese occupation, and even weeks after the recapture, many men, women and children across the island were brutally punished and about 500 were massacred by Japanese police and troops. This month, as Guam’s Congresswoman presses forward to revive the campaign for war reparations for WW II survivors and their descendants, the island commemorates this tragic time with memorial services and the celebration of Mass at various massacre sites, several of which require US military clearance to visit.

This Liberation Day episode features partial coverage of two of these memorial events:  the July 6 memorial service held at the Manengon Memorial Foundation Peace Park in the village of Yona and the July 16 memorial service for the Tinta and Faha victims in the village of Malesso.

We begin with coverage of the Manengon memorial and the homily of Archbishop Anthony Apuron who concelebrated the Mass in Chamorro with Pale’ Eric Forbes, co-founder of the Manengon Memorial Foundation. This is followed by the reflections of Mr. David Flores, a Manengon camp survivor who was 15 years old when the war first began.

This is followed by an interview (recorded 7/17/13) with Mr. Ignacio ‘Buck‘ S. Cruz who was 14 years old and had two brothers serving in the US Navy when Japan began to bomb Guam on December 8, 1941. His father, Ramon Padilla Cruz, was among the many influential residents of Malesso massacred at Tinta.  Mr. Cruz survived the war to become a teacher, US Marine and Vietnam veteran, devout parishioner of the San Dimas Catholic Church, and mayor of Malesso for 17 years.  As mayor, he was instrumental in establishing the Tinta and Faha memorial sites.  This year Mr. Cruz was selected Grand Marshall for the annual Liberation Day parade.  Mr. Cruz has also spoken out publicly urging the U.S. Congress to act on the issue of war claims which was first introduced by Guam’s first delegate Antonio B. Won Pat in 1977.  At the end of WW II, there were 22,000 Chamorros freed from the concentration camps at Manengon, Asinan and Fena; it is estimated that less than 2,000 are alive today.

These memorial services not only provide opportunities for descendants of massacre victims to visit these sites but for members of the Japanese community to share their sorrow, express condolences and honor the dead.

In the final segment, we continue with some coverage of the Tinta-Faha massacre memorial with brief comment from two Malesso residents, Lou San Nicolas and Sheila Hale; remarks of the Malesso Mayor Ernest Chargualaf  who also read a letter sent by the Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe; a message from the Japan Consul General Hisatsugu Shimizu;  and a brief interview with two members of the Peace Ring of Guam-Japan: Mrs. Sumiko Naito, a Japan resident whose father was a soldier who died on Guam during the war, and Mrs. Wakabe Nakamura Taitano, a Guam resident who served as interpreter for this interview.

We conclude with the invocation given by Pale’ Michael Crisostomo at the Tinta-Faha memorial service.

The recordings of these events were edited to fit the time allotted for this program.

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July 16, 2013 @ 9:39 pm

“Minagahet yan Dinagi Siha” The Revitalization of the Chamorro Language”

(hosted by Rosa Salas Palomo with production assistance of Joy White ) was recorded by Michael Lujan Bevacqua in Okinawa in March 2013 and airs 7/12/13.

This episode features two presentations from Guahan that were recorded at the March 2013 Island Language Revitalization Conference at Ryukyu University in Okinawa. This conference was organized by the Institute of Island Studies and Institute of Okinawa Studies at Ryukyu University by Professors Yoko Fujita and Masahide Ishihara. Language activists and linguists from Ainu, Chamorro, Maori, Hawaiian, Welsh and Okinawan communities were invited to share the state of their language revitalization efforts and learn new strategies for tackling this increasingly important issue for indigenous peoples.

Two Chamorro representatives, Edward A. Alvarez (cheftan@hotmail.com), the executive director of the Guam Commission on Decolonization and Dr. Michael Lujan Bevacqua (mlbasquiat@hotmail.com), assistant professor of Chamorro Studies at the University of Guam, presented at this conference.

Mr. Alvarez speaks about the history of Government of Guam efforts since 1964 to revitalize the Chamorro and of the difficult “minagahet”or truth that, despite these efforts, you can live your entire life on Guam and still not learn its native language. He also discusses the impact of the planned military buildup on language revitalization and political self-determination efforts.

Professor Bevacqua speaks about the “gefpago na dinagi” or the “beautiful lie,” meaning the gap between positive language attitudes and the fact that Chamorros and many other indigenous people are still not passing on their languages to younger generations.  He examines the Guam experience in relation to the four stages of language colonization and decolonization (cultural self-destruction, recognition of loss, celebration; and return to sovereignty).

Music selection:  “Fanohge Chamorro” or the “Guam Hymn”, written by Dr. Ramon Sablan and translated into Chamorro by Tan Lagrimas Untalan.  Implicit in the phrases, “Para ta onra, para ta gloria”is respect for the indigenous language and culture.

The 32nd Annual International Pacific Islands  Bilingual Bicultural Association Conference will be held July 21-24, 2103 at Okkodo High School, Guam.  The theme is “Indigenous Rights: Sacred and Secret ---Direchon i Taotao Siha;  Sagrad yan Sikretu.”

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July 5, 2013 @ 10:50 pm

Ep. 153 “Guam ‘Downwinders’ and RECA: Another Push for Social Justice”

(hosted by Dr. Vivian Dames with production assistance of Joy White) airs 7/5/13.

On June 27, 2013 the Guam Legislature unanimously passed Resolution 127 relative  to petitioning the US Congress to amend the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) of 1990 to include several additional geographic areas, including Guam, and to improve and increase compensation for those affected by ionizing radiation. Senator Vicente ‘Ben’ C. Pangelinan introduced the resolution, together with fellow Democrats Vice Speaker Benjamin B.F Cruz, Senator Tina Muna Barnes and Michael F.Q. San Nicolas.  This is the fifth resolution passed by the Guam Legislature since 2005 for Guam’s inclusion in RECA as ‘downwinders’ due to exposure to radioactive fallout from nuclear testing conducted in the Marshall Islands from 1946-1962.

When first enacted in 1990, RECA covered only those affected by nuclear fallout from testing in Nevada and in the Marshall Islands. Since then Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo has introduced three unsuccessful bills seeking inclusion of Guam in the ‘downwinder’ category.  Last April, Senator Tom Udall and Congressmen Ben Lujan, with support from Bordallo, introduced companion legislation, S.773 and H.R. 1645, respectively, amending RECA to include all of New Mexico, Idaho, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Utah, Missouri and Guam.

This episode provides coverage of the legislative public hearing held June 7, 2013, on Resolution 127. In the first half of this episode,  Senator Pangelinan, Chair of the Committee on Appropriations, Public Debt, Legal Affairs, Retirement, Public Parks, Recreation, Historic Preservation and Land explains the purpose of this hearing; Mr. Robert Celestial, advocate and president, Pacific Association of Radiation Survivors (PARS) outlines the history of RECA, how Guam entered the picture, the advocacy of PARS, and previous attempts to include Guam in the downwinder category with support from the Board of Radiation Effects Research of the National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences; then Anjelica Okada, University of Guam graduate student (Micronesian Studies), describes the Screening and Education Program, administered by the US Department of Health and Human Services, that would be extended to eligible people in Guam if RECA is amended,  as proposed.

The second half features the oral testimonies presented at this public hearing by the following individuals, all of whom supported Resolution 127: Lucille Cruz, Nursing Supervisor, Cancer Center of Guam; three cancer survivors --- Bruce Kloppenberg, John Farnum and Joaquin Leon Guerrero Diego; and Rose Marie Cabrera Quichocho and Hope Cristobal who testified on behalf of relatives diagnosed with cancer.

We conclude with the remarks of Dr. Chris Perez, PARS Medical Advisor, honoring and commending Mr. Robert Celestial, who was presented with a legislative resolution.

These statements and testimonies have been edited to fit the time frame allotted for this  program. For additional information on this topic,  go to www.senben.com

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July 5, 2013 @ 10:40 pm

Ep. 152 “Agent Orange in Guam, Part 2: Guam Veterans/Advocates Speak Out”

(hosted by Dr. Vivian Dames with production assistance of Joy White) airs 6/28/13.

This episode is the second in a series on Agent Orange (AO) exposure in Guam. In Part 1 of this series [Ep. 149 (5/31/13) program guests were retired and disabled US Air Force veterans MSgt. Leroy G. Foster and Sgt. Ralph A. Stanton who are key figures in the campaign to uncover the extent of damage done to veterans, their dependents, and civil service employees stationed at Anderson Air Force Base-Guam during the Vietnam War era,  as well local civilians who may be affected by the legacy of this toxic contamination. [see http://guamagentorange.info/personal_stories].

The national campaign for service connected disabilities claims for veterans due to AO exposure goes back several decades. During the 1970s and 1980s, the Veterans Affairs (VA) denied tens of thousands of claims related to disabilities and deaths attributed to AO exposure. However, beginning in 1990, the VA was forced to acknowledge that many types of cancer and other serious diseases are related to AO exposure. As a result of the Agent Orange Act of 1991, the VA is now required to provide presumptive service connection for a disease if the Institute of Medicine shows a positive association exists between AO and the disease. This list of AO related diseases, which includes many cancers and Type 2 Diabetes with a high incidence on Guam, grows as the Institute of Medicine continues to analyze scientific studies on the health effects of AO and issues bi-annual reports, expected through 2015.  As a result of these reports, hundreds of thousands of Vietnam War veterans and their survivors across the country have received billions of dollars in disability and death benefits.

Although retroactive payments may be made for all presumptions made before 2015, Guam advocates believe there are still many Vietnam era veterans and survivors eligible for these benefits who have never applied, applied but the review process was never completed, or applied but were denied and never appealed the decision. Unlike Vietnam War veterans and some veterans who served along the Korean demilitarized zone (DMZ), claims for disability compensation for AO exposure by veterans stationed on Guam during the 1960s and 1970s are not presumed and must be proven on a case by case-by-case basis.

Program guests in Part 2 of this series are four Guam veterans who are also advocates in different capacities for the local veteran community, estimated to be between 8,000-14,000.  They discuss Agent Orange exposure in Guam as a compensatory justice issue for veterans and as an environmental justice issue for the local community.  They are:

Tony Guzman (tony.guzman@gvao.guam.gov) has served as a volunteer advocate for veterans since his retirement from the US Army in 1996.  Since 2009, he has been employed as a Veterans Service Representative with the Guam Veterans  Affairs Office (GVAO), Office of the Governor. The GVAO, established in 1970, is the principal state office responsible for the development and management of policies and programs related to veterans and their families. The GVAO acts as a liaison between the Governor and veterans organizations and also between veterans and the US Department of Veterans Affairs.

Benjamin Guerrero (Chamorro1947@hotmail.com) is a retired Major (USMC), Vietnam combat veteran and recipient of disability benefits related to Agent Orange exposure. He served as Director of the GVAO from 2001-2004.  After leaving this position, he founded the non-profit organization Veterans Helping Veterans located in the John Gerber compound in the village of Ordot and serves as the organization’s volunteer director and advocate.

Tom Devlin (mophtd@ite.net) is also a Vietnam combat veteran and Commander of Chapter 1315, Military Order of the Purple Heart.  He is the originator and producer (with Art Mesa)  of the K-57 weekly radio talk “Vet Talk” which has been on the air for seven years. His many guests on Vet Talk include US Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki who visited Guam in May 2011 in conjunction with the  opening of the new Veterans Clinic.  Shinseki has supported the addition of presumptive diseases related to AO exposure, based on the Institute of Medicine reports, regardless of the economic impacts of these presumptions or how common the disease might be.

Victor Rodgers (victor.rodgers@guamcc.edu) is the current program host for Vet Talk.  He served in the US Navy for 23 years and was stationed with his family at the US Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina, from 1982-84.  Camp Lejeune was officially listed as a Superfund site in 1989 due to water contamination from 1953-1987.  Toxic chemicals reportedly leeched into ground water from a poorly maintained fuel depot and indiscriminate dumping on base, as well as from an off-base dry cleaner. Victims who later developed cancer and other ailments claim that USMC leaders concealed knowledge of the problem and did not act properly in trying to resolve it or to notify former base residents that their health might be at risk. In August 2012 President Obama signed a law to begin providing medical care for people who may have been affected by this toxic contamination.

Like the issue of Agent Orange exposure on Guam, claims for compensation have been hampered by the lack of official documentation by military authorities and testing and monitoring of toxicity levels.  Anderson Air Force Base is one of the Superfund sites in Guam designated under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) due to groundwater and soil toxic contamination, including dioxin, a primary component of Agent Orange.  This site is on the US Environmental Protection Agency National Priority List of the most hazardous sites across the US and its territories.

Music selection: “Agent Orange Song’ by Country Joe McDonald

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June 28, 2013 @ 7:33 pm

Ep. 151 “Guam Filipinos in Support of Chamorro Self-Determination”

Ep. 151 “Guam Filipinos in Support of Chamorro Self-Determination:  The Twenty-Something Halo-Halo Generation

(hosted by Dr. Vivian Dames with production assistance of Joy White) was recorded 6/11/12 and airs 6/14/13.

In commemoration of Philippine Independence Day (June 12), this episode features an interview with two Guam born Filipinos, representing the twenty-something generation,  who do not qualify to register for the Guam Decolonization Registry yet support the inalienable right of Chamorros, as a people, to political self-determination. The Guam  Decolonization Registry, established by P.L. 25-106,  defines ‘native inhabitants’ as those who became U.S. citizens by virtue of the 1950 Organic Act of Guam and their descendants.   Both program guests are US citizens by virtue of being born on Guam after the island became a US unincorporated territory in 1950.

Araw ng Kasarinlan (“Day of Freedom”) commemorates the Philippine Declaration of Independence from Spain in 1898. However, Philippine independence was not recognized either by the United States or by Spain. The Spanish government later ceded the Philippine archipelago, together with Guam, to the United States in the 1898 Treaty of Paris. But the Philippine Revolutionary Government did not recognize the treaty.  When the Americans sought to execute the terms of the treaty, a three year conflict, now called the Philippine-American War, ensued. The US finally granted independence to the Philippines on July 4 1946.  In 1962, President Macapagal declared June 12 as a national holiday , “in commemoration of our people’s declaration of their inherent and inalienable right to freedom and independence.”  This national “Day of Freedom” is also celebrated on Guam with events throughout the month, providing occasions for local Filipinos to take pride in this history and to reflect on their role in relation to the decolonization and self-determination struggle of the Chamorro people.

Program guests are two University of Guam graduates and third generation Guam Filipinos in their 20s:

Tabitha Caser Espina (tabithaespina@gmail.com), a former Miss Teen Philippines-Guam,   graduated as the University of Guam Fall 2011 valedictorian with a B.A. Elementary Education. She is now pursuing a Master of Arts in English and writing a thesis on Filipina identity on Guam.  In her work, Ms. Espina uses the names for Filipino sweets (ube, sapin-sapin and halo-halo) as metaphors for conceptualizing identity formation across three generations of Filipinas on Guam.

John “Metaforce” Sarmiento (jmetaforce@gmail.com), has a Bachelor’s degree in English literature and is a local performance poet and hip-hop artist who believes spoken word and music can be tools to “educate and uplift the masses”. He has been sharing his work in the local community since 2009.

Music/poetry selections: Lupang Hinirang (Philippines National Anthem);  Tabitha Espina (recorded in 1993 at age 5),  Island Girl by Alpha C. Espina, CD produced by Trax Studios, 1995; Blind Tongue, poem composed and performed in studio by John “Metaforce” Sarmiento; and Down with the Movement by Meta-Dakota-Willa [for this and other samples of Meta’s work, go to: www.arkiology.tv or www.youtube.com/defynow]

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June 21, 2013 @ 8:45 pm

Ep. 150 “A Renewal of Faith: The 2013 Congressional Address”

(hosted by Dr. Vivian Dames with production assistance of Joy White) was recorded 5/30/13 and airs 6/7/13.

The first segment of this episode features excerpts from the 2013 State of Congress Address “A Renewal of Faith” presented by Congresswoman Madeleine ZBordallo on May 30, 2013 at the Speaker Antonio R. Unpingco Legislative Session Hall in Hagatna.  Congresswoman Bordallo, a Democrat, is serving her sixth term.  She will continue to serve on the House Armed Services Committee and the House Committee on Natural Resources. She was re-appointed the Ranking Democrat of the Subcommittee on Readiness in the House Armed Services Committee for the 113th Congress, and is also a member of the Subcommittee on Military Personnel. In the House Committee on Natural Resources, Ms. Bordallo sits on the Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs as well as the Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation.

These excerpts focus on Guam’s political status and the ongoing project of decolonization, the military buildup and US defense strategy, veterans and the renewal of the fight for war claims. [For the complete text, go to:http://bordallo.house.gov/congressional-address-2013]

In the second segment, commentary on the Congressional Address in provided by (in order of presentation): Mr. Mark Calvo, Special Assistant to the Governor and Guam Buildup Office Director,  Mr. Frank F. Blas, Jr., Minority Leader of the 31st Guam Legislature who created the Guam War Survivor Story Website [http://guamwarsurvivorstory.com/]and attempted to unseat Congresswoman Bordallo in the 2012 election; Senator Frank B. Aguon, Jr. Chair of the Committee on the Guam US Military  Relocation, Homeland Security, Veteran’s Affairs, and Judiciary; Mr. Victor Rodgers, Co-Host for the K-57 radio program Vet Talk;  Mr. Ed Alvarez,  Executive Director, Commission on Decolonization; and WeAreGuahan.

[Additional Note: A public hearing on Resolution No. 127 relative to amending the US Radiation and Exposure CompensationAct (RECA) was  held at the Guam Legislature  Public Hearing Room on  June 7, at 5:30 p.m. This resolution requests the U.S. Congress to pass two bills that are currently up for consideration in the U.S. House of Representatives (introduced  by Congressman Ben Lujan (D-New Mexico) and the U.S. Senate (introduced by Senator Tom Udall (D-Idaho) to extend the eligibility for compensation to include the people of Guam. Congresswoman Bordallo introduced a bill to this effect in the 109th Congress, which failed,  then joined eight co-sponsors to re-introduce such an amendment in the 112th Congress, which also failed.  She made no mention of this unresolved reparative justice issue for Guam in her 2013 Congressional Address.]

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June 1, 2013 @ 5:33 pm

Ep. 149 “Agent Orange in Guam, Part 1: Sprayed and Betrayed”

(hosted by Dr. Vivian Dames with production assistance of Joy White) was recorded via Skype 11/17/12 and airs 5/31/13.

Since the 2006 announcement of the planned relocation of US marines from Okinawa to Guam, we have learned much about the commonalities between these two heavily militarized island communities with extended colonial histories.  Another commonality is the use in Guam and Okinawa of Agent Orange (AO) herbicides reported by US veterans and others which the US Department of Defense denies, despite mounting evidence. Since the release in 1994 of the first comprehensive report on Veterans and Agent Orange by the Institute of Medicine, an informal network has emerged seeking recognition and compensation for these veterans and their dependents.

Program guests are retired disabled US Air Force veterans MSgt. Leroy G. Foster (RetAirForceMan@aol.com) and Sgt. Ralph A. Stanton (rstanton@stjoelive.com) who are key figures in the struggle to uncover the extent of damage done to veterans, their dependents, and civil service employees stationed at Anderson Air Force Base-Guam during the Vietnam War period, as well local civilians affected by the legacy of this toxic contamination. [For more information about this network, go tohttp://www.guamagentorange.info]

For ten years, from 1969-78, Leroy Foster handled, mixed by hand, and sprayed Agent Orange herbicides on Guam. He sprayed often along the Air Force fuel pipelines and Marbo Barracks Complex and fuel tank farms at Tumon, Potts Junction, AAFB Andy I and II fuel tank farms and flight line areas, along with hydrant pump houses and perimeter/security fencing. He now lives in Westfield, New York and suffers a litany of AO related autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. He is convinced that the chronic health problems of his daughter and the multiple birth defects of his granddaughter are also related to his AO exposure.

Foster’s struggle with the Department of Veteran Affairs began in December 1987 and continues to this day. Although hundreds of veterans are claiming compensation for AO exposure on Guam, Foster is one of the few whose claim for direct exposure (but with no mention of Guam) has been approved. This weekend he is going to Washington DC to attend his Board of Veterans Affairs appeal hearing. He seeks to have Guam specifically indicated on his decision as the site of exposure to document the truth of what happened and to help other claimants and the people of Guam.  He anticipates this may be the last time he will be going to the nation’s capitol to challenge the “Delay and deny until they die” stance of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.  He says, “The next time I go will be in a coffin to Arlington Cemetery.”

Ralph Stanton was stationed at AAFB in 1969-70. He performed maintenance and repairs daily on fuel storage and delivery systems which were sprayed often with herbicides. He now lives in Savannah, Missouri, and also suffers several debilitating AO related diseases but was denied his claim for direct exposure to Agent Orange. The official reasons for this denial are that “data from the Department of Defense does not show any use, testing or storage of tactical herbicides, including Agent Orange, at any location on Guam,” and that “The Joint Services Records Research Center does not document the spraying, testing or storage of Agent Orange Anderson Air Force Base, Guam”.  Stanton appealed this decision on 10/9/11. A hearing was held 15 months later on 3/5/13 which Sgt. Foster attended and provided testimony.  A decision on Sgt. Stanton’s appeal is still pending.

The testimonies of Leroy Foster and Ralph Stanton parallel what has happened in Okinawa where dozens of former service members and local civilians have spoken out about the use of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War and its toxic legacy. While the U.S. government has approved several individual claims, it continues to deny that Agent Orange was ever kept, buried or used on Okinawa. As a result, hundreds of sick American veterans have been refused medical assistance and the Japanese government has been able to reject calls from citizen’s groups for health surveys and environmental testing and mitigation. [see the award winning film documentary entitled “Defoliated Island - Agent Orange, Okinawa and the Vietnam War” by Asia-Pacific Journal affiliate Jon Mitchell.]

Music selection: “Agent Orange Song’ by Country Joe McDonald

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May 23, 2013 @ 5:00 pm

Ep. 148 “Stories of Tiyan, Barrigada: Land, Labor, and Activism”

(hosted by Dr. Vivian Dames with production assistance of Joy White) was recorded 5/20/13 and airs 5/24/13.

Program guest is Mr. Alfred Peredo Flores, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History at the University of California-Los Angeles who is on island for the third time since 2007 to do archival and oral history research on the area called Tiyan (also known as the former Naval Air Station Agana, or NAS) in the central village of Barrigada.  The original air strip was built by the Japanese Navy using forced local labor during the WWII occupation and was opened in 1943.  After the recapture of the island by American forces in 1944 it was used by the US Air Force as a base until it was turned over to the US Navy which consolidated the facilities with those at the closing of Harmon Air Force base in upper Tumon in 1949. The US Navy operated NAS Agana until it was closed by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) in 1993. All federal lands and buildings were then turned over to the Government of Guam.  This represents the return of one of the largest tracts to date of military land in use.

Mr. Flores is of Chamorro and Korean descent, born in Seoul, South Korea and raised in Southern California.  His focus is 20th century U.S. history with an emphasis on American empire, Asian American history, Pacific Islander history, immigration, and labor. He is also a co-founding member of the student organization called the UCLA Graduate Coalition of the Native Pacific (GCNP), which advocates for the increased visibility of Pacific Islander issues in Oceania and in the diaspora.

If you wish to contribute to this Tiyan oral history project, you may contact Mr.  Flores at apflores@ucla.edu or call (671) 988-5709 or (760)799-1191.  He will be on Guam until June 11, 2013.

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May 23, 2013 @ 4:53 pm

Ep. 147 “The First Guam Visit of the Japan Mothers’ Congress” - BONUS

During  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.

See previous entry on Ep. 147 for show as it was broadcast in English.

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May 23, 2013 @ 4:37 pm

Ep. 147 “The First Guam Visit of the Japan Mothers’ Congress”

(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.”

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