“desolation bloggers” will stay up till someone guesses the reference! who will it be i wonder?

work was hectic today, but fun. had a funny moment in my third grade class: i told a student that his penmanship was too messy and that he would have to work on making it neater. he replied, “but that’s my style and it expresses my personality – i can’t just change my personality.”

an interesting moment today: in my fourth grade class, they are working on descriptive paragraphs. one girl decided to describe her house. Her paragraph was mostly about how many rooms there were, and what color the walls were. Then there was this last sentence: “The house still has a wood carving of my Vietnamese name hanging around.”

it has an eerie effect; the house as she described it was an empty shell until the last line – and suddenly this wood carving seems to occupy the entire house, echoing. there is also a tone of surprise with the word “still” – as if by moving to america and taking on an english name (a name is a kind of “house”), she probably thought that anything Vietnamese would disappear. the name seems to have such a fragile presence just “hanging around” and any moment will decide to leave. Perhaps i am making too much of this, but it really stunned me. what do you think?


(this pic is a hint to “desolation bloggers”)


so i also wanted to repost this article…an important read:

Guam coalition presses for war reparation
By Mar-Vic Cagurangan
Variety News Staff

A coalition of local organizations is petitioning the U.S. and Japanese governments to compensate the wartime victims of the Japanese Imperial Army’s atrocities out of the $6 billion that Tokyo pledged to help defray the cost of the Marines’ relocation to Guam.

The Coalition Group for War Reparation wants the U.S. and Japan “to bring closure to this tragic chapter in the history of Guam” before transferring the 8,000 Marines and their 9,000 dependents from Okinawa to Guam.

“The $6 billion committed is not because Japan loves the U.S. On the contrary and what is very obvious is that Japan wants to relieve itself from the burden and problems associated with U.S. Marines occupying Japanese land,” said Dr. Jose T. Nededog, coalition organizer.

“The coalition strongly feels that the Japanese government must recognize and accept responsibility for what it did to the peaceful indigenous Chamorro people of Guam during World War II and compensate them
accordingly,” Nededog added.

The coalition’s petition is addressed to President Bush, members of the U.S. Congress including Guam Delegate Madeleine Bordallo, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. Attached to the petition and individual letters sent to U.S. and Japanese officials is a copy of Guam Legislature’s Resolution 127, adopted in March, asking the U.S. government to grant Guam $2.4 billion to fund the island‚s infrastructure development needs that the troops relocation entail.

The resolution also requests Bordallo “to propose full funding of Guam war reparations to be incorporated within or without the overall funding and financing of military base expansion on Guam as an appropriate opportunity to address the bring closure to this historic injustice.”

Japanese troops invaded Guam on Dec. 8, 1941 and occupied the U.S. territory for 31 months, subjecting the natives to executions, torture, forced labor, forced march and internment in concentration camps. The U.S. eventually recaptured the island, leading to the 1951 peace treaty that exonerated Japan and spared it from paying war reparations.

“It has been over 62 years since the end of World War II and where the people entitled to reparation were approximately 22,000, they now number approximately 5,000 as they are aging and dying daily. These are the victims or are surviving heirs of such victims,” the petition reads.

In a letter to Koizumi, Nededog said that despite the U.S.’s absolution of Japan, “the government of Japan is still morally and legally obligated” to compensate the people of Guam for the sufferings that they had gone through.

In a separate letter to Rumsfeld, Nededog said resolving the long overdue war reparation “can only bring better relationship between the people of Japan, the U.S. military forces and the people of Guam.”

Pending in the U.S. Congress is Bordallo’s H.R. 1595, the Guam World War II Loyalty Recognition Act, which would provide restitution to the people of Guam who suffered atrocities — including personal injury, forced labor, forced marches, internment, and death — during the Japanese occupation of Guam.

If passed into law, the bill would grant $25,000 each for Guamanians (or their heirs) who were killed during the Japanese occupation and up to $15,000 for those who were seriously injured.


8 thoughts on “

  1. Jack’s Desolation Angels (one of my favorite books of his.

    Hey, am I going to see you on Oct. 5th at Alfred Arteaga’s benefit? If so, I’ll give you a book. It would be nice to meet.

  2. Hey sweets, forgot to forward the invitation to the benefit mentioned above. The dept wants us to be there to represent. Here’s the info:


    2006 AT CELL SPACE*

    An all-star lineup Latina and Latino poets and writers will
    participate in a special fundraising event for poet and educator,
    Arteaga. The reading, *Cantos del Corazon/Songs of the Heart* is one of
    several organized to assist Arteaga with medical costs needed for a
    transplant. The event will take place on Thursday, October 5 from 7:30
    11 p.m. at Cell Space in San Francisco. Arteaga, who is a professor of
    Creative Writing and Ethnic Studies at Cal Berkeley is also a renown
    and has written several books including *Cantos *(1991), *Red* (2000),
    *House with the Blue Bed* (1997) and a recent collection, *Frozen

  3. lorna, you get the point! (sorry mephis) … but i work until 930 pm on the 5th … but i am going to give my donation to my girlfriend (jenny, who is in berkeley’s ethnic studies phd) … and maybe you can give the book to her (and a hug!) if not, i hope we meet soon at another event perhaps! (ps. i just read “from the cables of genocide” and was really moved by the work — i am quite curious about “drive”).

    thanks for the info jenny, glad to see the department is showing its support!

    peace all … please go to the benefit if you can, more info at lorna’s blog also (which i have a link to)…

  4. Ha! I got this one yo! Long Day’s Journey Into Night!

    I think you should start doing song titles.


  5. I read this article with a bit of a heavy heart thinking how 62 years later, people are still waiting for some physical manifestation of justice and reparation. There are so many loose ends left over from that dark time. When you think back to the abject thievery of art throughout Europe, how so much of is housed in Moscow and St. Petersburg, to the tolls that it took on people’s across the world. The chapter still hasn’t been closed no matter how many memorials are built and how many days are set aside for rememberance. Money talks and bullshit walks is how the saying goes, right? So… its been pretty quiet, it sounds like, for Guamanians on that front. I was a little loathe to hear that this was addressed to that bastard Rumsfeld, methinks this too will fall on deaf ears, like so much else has. I wonder, in the future, what kind of reparations we shall be paying to the people’s of the middle east, what kind of memorials will have to be constructed? How many days set aside? Or, would it be possible, like in Rawanda, to setup reconcilliation committees, an act of forgiveness, a way of coming to terms in a unified, bilateral manner, without blame, accusation and finger pointing… wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone were not only capable but exercised such compassion before the fact, if not at least after?


  6. mephis gets the point! thanks for your thoughtful comment…have you seen the film “in my country” with samuel jackson and juliette binoche…it is about the “reconciliation committees” — a powerful film … i don’t know if reparations will ever be paid to chamorros before that generation passes … it saddens me to no end

  7. I think there’s a question I have to ask, will the reparations actually make amends? Is the money enough? I suppose the meta question I’m intersted in answering would be what’s the cost of the past? I know, its a physical gesture, a kind of acknowledgment. But what outside of money would bear as much weight and be as meaningful, or is money the ultimate sacrifice? You see what I’m getting at? I don’t disagree that the Chamorros are more than deserving of this, I’m just wondering what else might carry weight.


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