Warning: This post is emotionally charged. If that bothers you, I don't really care. Thank you.
Recently people , including our dear Governor, who have been commenting on the news, in blogs and in articles, are saying some sad things about the activists, who've been speaking out against the build up. They think that people shouldn't get emotional at the public hearings. They feel it is disrespectful and unproductive.
If your land was being looked at, by the Department of Defense, as a site to be used as a firing range, wouldn't you be emotional? I'd be pissed off. I'm pissed off and it's not even my land. I'd be especially upset because it does not seem as if the Department of Defense has really looked in to using the land they already have. They keep saying they can't use their land, because it's a preserve , yet they'll put the hawksbill turtles, green sea turtles, and the spinner dolphins at risk so that they can park their big-a$$-nuclear-boat at Apra 63 days out of the year. The land in Pagat is a preserve. It preserves families. It preserves a latte site. It is the home to many plants and animals, that can't speak up to save their habitat. The Guam Raceway Park is also important, in my mind. It keeps our roads safe from the dangers of illegal drag racing. Many families visit the park on the weekends and it is also a venue for car shows. Wouldn't you want to preserve that?
And what about our environment? For decades DOD has been pumping toxins in to our land and oceans. For years they've been attempting to clean it up, but to be honest with you, I think the only reason they attempt mitigation is because of agencies like EPA, Fish and Wildlife, and Department of Agriculture. The individual soldiers may care about the environment, in fact I'm friends with many who do, but in my opinion, DOD cares only about efficiency and convenience. We see many soldiers volunteer in the community. When I went with Nel on the extreme tree planting expedition, there were soldiers helping out. They, along with us, nearly got struck by lightning, only to plant a couple trees. And yet DOD will willingly take what those soldiers worked hard at preventing, soil erosion, and increase it by destroying mangroves. That doesn't upset you? And again, what about the turtles, dolphins and coral reef? U.S. laws dictates where the people of Guam can't fish, but those same laws don't prevent the military from wreaking havoc on an already strained eco system? This doesn't make you emotional?
Aren't you worried about our island one day running out of fresh water, and having to rely on the military and their proposed desalination plant, for our most basic neccesity? Does that sound like the vision you have for your children and grand children? You want them to be at the mercy of the military for water? This thought makes me extremely prone to emotional break downs.
And is it really that irrational , that every once in a while, when our community is confronted with such extreme issues we get down right mad, or sad? When our manamko are forced to plead so that their families' land will not be leased or sold by force, should we calmly stand by and wait and see? When we read, in the DEIS, that our cost of living will continue to rise faster than our incomes, even when the Chamber of Commerce says our lives will be better, should we not question them? Is it disrespectful to be concerned? Is it disrespectful to worry about our health care? Is it disrespectful to put our essential needs before the convenience of a nation that considers us as possesions? When a Nobel Peace Prize winning president, is unaware that his nation's military is going to displace families, endangered species, ancestral remains, and a culture already ravished by colonizers, should we not try to open his eyes?
And lastly, shouldn't anything worth fighting for also stir some emotion in you? We are not robots. We are living beings. And we should not judge or be judged for just caring enough about something that it may bring us to tears or cause us to raise our voices, in desperation just to be heard.
To the various activists groups and individuals, who continue to fight past the judgement, thank you. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for protecting our land, ocean, culture, and people. Thank you for educating the youth. Thank you for being an inspiration to those who were silent, including myself. Thank you for reminding us how strong our community can be, if we just stand together.
And to those in silence, who fight to hold back tears, who can't speak through sobs, remember all that this island has been through and know that as long as there is still one heart that beats to protect our home, there will be hope.