life (132) community (99) guahan (70) crafting (57) gallery (50) viewed (45) Celebrate (43) album (41) shopping (24) cast (16) oishi (12) hooping (5) growing (4)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Life in Wonderland: Heartbroken

I made the mistake of reading the local paper's online edition today.  I should have known better.  After reading the comments from the first article I clicked on, I found myself sad, frustrated, and disgusted.

War reparations removed: Senate takes out measure for war survivors


Just 24 hours after being told she and other survivors of the Japanese occupation of Guam may finally receive war reparations, Rita Santos Cruz had to be informed that the war reparations provision had been rejected by U.S. senators.
To be honest with you, then if that is the case, then no buildup. Forget it," said the 73-year-old war survivor. "You know, the leaders of Guam better wake up, because we, the manamko', are not kidding them."
Language in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2011, passed by the House of Representatives last week, provided $100 million for Guam war reparations. The reparations plan provided $10,000 to $25,000 for victims of the occupation or the living relatives of those killed during the war, who could submit claims until 2016.
Guam Delegate Madeleine Bordallo had expressed optimism that the provision finally would be accepted when the Senate worked on a compromise defense authorization bill. But yesterday, Michigan Sen. Carl Levin announced that the language providing for the claims had been rejected by the Senate, according to Bordallo's office.
"I am extremely disappointed in the decision by Senate leaders to remove Guam War Claims from the compromise defense authorization bill," Bordallo said in a statement. "I will be meeting with House and Senate leaders tomorrow to discuss the way forward for this important legislation."
The Senate is currently considering an amended version of the defense authorization bill passed by the House of Representatives.
According to Bordallo's office, the Senate can pass the defense authorization bill only by unanimous consent. Because Senate leaders knew that several senators continued to object to the war claims language in the defense authorization bill, they made the decision to amend the bill and pass it without war claims.
As of yesterday afternoon, the bill had not been passed by unanimous consent in the Senate.
For advocates of war reparations on Guam, the decision is a blow to a decades-long fight to receive recognition and compensation for the suffering of those who survived the Japanese occupation.
"How many times do we have to go through this? How many more years? What is it going to take?" asked Sen. Frank Blas Jr. yesterday. "Are our people worth it?
The president of the Guam War Survivors Memorial Foundation, Blas has been pushing for the reparations through a traveling exhibit sharing the stories of survivors, as well as through a newly launched website,
"Obviously I'm disappointed," Blas said. "Greatly disappointed in the decision to remove what was supposed to be a compromise."
He said he was disappointed with the Democratic leadership in Washington, as well as with Bordallo's efforts.
He said even if Guam received funding from the federal government to support the buildup, it wouldn't compensate for the lack of funds for war survivors.
"In lieu of this, Guam is going to be receiving so many billions of dollars in construction money? Tell that to an 85-year-old war survivor who's not going to be around," said Blas.
Cruz, who was just 7 years old when the first bombs fell, said she watched Japanese soldiers brutally beat her pregnant mother during the occupation. Even though she was a little girl, the soldiers forced her to work.
She said that after years of pushing for reparations from the U.S. government, she was so frustrated she would even consider legal action to get reparations for the island's aging survivors.
"I'm getting pissed off already, because they are treating us like toys," she said.

Some of the comments:

chinpoko wrote:

Shouldn't we be getting war reparations from Japan? I mean they are the ones who committed the atrocities, not the U.S. Why does the U.S. have to pay for the crimes of the Japanese?
 I thought this way too, until one day I asked my dad this question.  He explained to me that our right to                     ask Japan for reparations was given away, not by us but by the U.S.  Japan was forgiven by the U.S. and we didn't have a say in it.

fiestaman wrote:

One would think that Guam would say to the USA:

THANK YOU FOR COMING TO OUR AID IN TIME OF NEED AND MAKING US A PART OF YOUR COUNTRY. (Thank you for ditching us and coming back after realizing you want need our land.  Thank you for bombing the crap out of our island without regard to the people who were loyal to your country even when they weren't citizens.  They didn't need homes after the war, since they had the U.S. flag to keep them warm and dry.)

THANK YOU FOR PROVIDING EVERY FAMILY ON GUAM EVERYTHING THEY NEEDED TO MAKE SOMETHING OF THEMSELVES.  (Thank you for taking our land and making us dependent on your "handouts."  Our island once provided every family on Guam everything they needed to make something of themselves and now every family relies on scraps from the U.S.)


THANK YOU FOR LIBERATING GUAM FROM JAPANESE OCCUPATION AND FROM THEIR TORTURE. (Thank you for reoccupying our island on a greater scale than before the Japanese occupation.  Thank you for being a gentler occupier.)


THANK YOU FOR PROTECTING US FROM OTHER COUNTRIES THAT MIGHT WANT TO DO GUAM HARM. (Thank you for using our land to protect other countries.  Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to protect the rights and lives of real American citizens while Chamorro soldiers' families living on Guam are second class citizens made to feel like they owe their lives to the red, white, and blue.)


In other words, there is NO NEED for war reparations, because the USA has done this island RIGHT and CONTINUES TO DO SO. (Ignorance is bliss. If only were all so lucky, we'd all be fanatically patriotic.)


 I guess fiestaman is not from here! If that's what he thinks,then one would be "WRONG" ! The U.S. forgave Japan of their war crimes against the people of Guam & beause of that Japan is not liable for what they done to the people here during that time. We do Thank & Appreciate the U.S. for Coming to our aid, but they got what they came for & then some "PROPERTY"! The Chamorro people has lost in every way anyone can ever "LOSE"! I say,let them take back what they think their giving us,& give us back our "ISLAND"!

 albertfujmori2 wrote:

 guam generates its revenue from payments from the military is way to low.the kind of activites the united states conducts in this area,the local government should be collecting a couple billion annually for the privilge.(!!!) no sucessful organization would agree to the terms put forth by the united states.

Your being grossly underserved by the congressional representative and the rest of the local governments heiarchy.

the united states is in decline anyway,the asians will replace them as the dominate force in the world.perhaps its time to forming alliances with nations in the neighborhood like china,russia and the middle east. since albert enjoys the american holiday christmas,a gift for the PDN comment section.

We deserve more from respect from the U.S. and from our own people. This Christmas I want Santa to bring us an island wide education campaign on our island's history and political status.  Then maybe next Christmas he can take that campaign to D.C.

To read the article and more of the comments go to:

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Life in Wonderland: Support small businesses!

This holiday season I want to try to support small businesses in my community.  Last night I went walking with a couple of friends and we stopped in to a little store.  Trick Stop is a small business in Tumon that sells all kinds of magic tricks and novelty gifts.

I want to make more of these little videos to share on my blog and Facebook to help our small businesses.