Sunday, January 11, 2009

Guam should be wary

"US PLANS for military buildup leave Guam wary" (Page A9, Jan. 4) reminded me why the Chamorro people are increasingly fearful of the destruction of their environment and culture, and why many are doing all they can to prevent the massive US military expansion in their occupied land.

Guam remains the colony designed to reinforce US dominance in Asia that William McKinley and Teddy Roosevelt envisioned when they seized it from Spain in 1898. Twenty-five years ago, members of the Guam Land Owners' Association worked with two maps. One depicted Guam's best fresh water supply, agricultural land, and fishing grounds. The other showed the US military bases in their homeland. The maps were nearly identical.

Now, with many Okinawans and other Japanese saying that they've had enough of US nuclear-powered ships based in their cities, and that they are fed up with the terrifying noise of night-landing and low-altitude flights and the seizure of their lands, the idea is to transfer some of this nightmare to Guam. Guam's isolated 155,000 people are a frail force to resist the imperium.

As a nation, we feel shame when we recall the genocide and cultural destruction of our country's first peoples. We should not repeat it with the military corruption and destruction of Guam.

Joseph Gerson
Director of programs
American Friends Service Committee
New England Region

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