‘the pacific theatre’

mephis got the last point! jessica better look out! thanks for playing everyone: the game is, guess what the title of this blog is referencing and you get a point – get 10 points and you get a prize…i change it as soon as someone guesses!

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mephis posted this question in a few posts back re: the article on war reparations for chamorros during world war 2 (‘chamorro’ is the name for the native people of guam, where i am from):

‘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?’

since i didnt respond earlier, thought i would respond here (hope that’s okay mephis!) in the actual comment stream, we mentioned the truth and reconcialiation commission in africa, and the powerful effect they had on the community. i don’t think this kind of forum would work on guam mainly because the japanese soldiers who committed war crimes do not live on guam, and are probably no longer alive. altho i think having a forum where the victims can be heard is a powerful gesture (and has occurred on guam to some extent).

and i dont think reparations will actually make amends, nor do i think money is enough. my grandfather’s older brother died during the war. he was not a soldier, but the japanese soldiers, while the u.s. military was re-invading our island, had chamorro men carry amunitions to the various forts / outposts to prepare for battle. then they tied the men to coconut trees and beheaded them. my grandfather’s brother was one of these men. and this is just one story. my grandfather spent almost the duration of the war in forced labor camps on guam.

will $25,000 make amends? no. will it bring down a nation or prevent other nations from committing such atrocities? no. will it benefit my grandfather’s life? yes, in a small way. at least for me, i can’t think of another gesture that would benefit him (he could USE the money) …

but still, it’s such a difficult question … is money an offensive gesture? an avoidance of true remorse? a capitalist response without deeper effects? i don’t know – WHAT DO PEOPLE THINK??? WHAT WOULD BE AN ALTERNATIVE REPARATION??? (thanks mephis for asking a tough question)…

the question for me also is what about the u.s. military? altho they didnt commit the same atrocities, they can be held responsible for much destruction and death on our island from 100 years of colonization…does that not warrant reparation? does guam not deserve freedom?

note: more info and pics found here

check out this page in particular

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off to work i go, but here is another short article (this has been on my mind):

Combat Communications Squadron to move to Guam

BY Josh Rogin
Published on Aug. 16, 2006
From http://www.FCW.com

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The 607th Combat Communications Squadron will leave in the coming weeks and move equipment and personnel to Guam, an Air Force official said today.

As part of the 607th Air Support Operations Group based at Camp Humphreys, South Korea, the squadron is responsible for rapid mobile communications deployment for wartime contingencies or natural disasters in the entire Korea area of operations.

“That leaves us short now of a combat [communications] capability that can go anywhere within the theater,” Col. Vincent Valdespino, director of communications and information at Pacific Air Forces headquarters, told an audience at the Air Force Information Technology Conference at the Auburn University campus.

A limited presence will remain to maintain the Korean Air Operations Center in Osan. But overall command, control and communications functions will be moved to the United States and its territories in the next few years, he said.

About 150 members of the 607th combat communications team will be relocated to Guam, beginning this year. A new squad will be deployed there with its completion expected in 2009. Military construction and operations and maintenance funding has already been secured, Valdespino said.

The move is part of an overall reorientation of command and control in the Pacific theater. Known as the strategic triangle concept, Hawaii, Alaska and Guam will form the base of operations for Pacific Command. The strategy aims to position critical resources on U.S.-controlled soil, while also allowing forces to be deployed to Asia or to the United States to assist in homeland defense missions.

Guam will receive the largest amount of equipment as part of this initiative. The island is set to host continuous, permanent Stryker, tanker, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance presence in the form of Global Hawk long-range unmanned aerial vehicles.

The move is also part of an overall decrease of U.S. forces in South Korea. In mid-2004, the United States and South Korea agreed to the phased withdrawal of 12,500 U.S. troops from the Korean peninsula to be completed by 2008.

President Bush has pledged to move 70,000 U.S. service members and 100,000 family members and civilian employees to the United States in the next decade.

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15 thoughts on “‘the pacific theatre’

  1. Okay…I haven’t been playing your game yet but I thought that I would give this one a shot. (I have a few minutes to kill while the kids sleep:) Is it “this connection of everyone with lungs” by Spahr? Hope your day is fantastic!

  2. twobutterfliez, I think you’re definitely right about this one . . . I was stumped, but it makes total sense now. I have yet to read any Spahr though – does anyone recommend her work? Which other poets/writers would you compare her (favorably or unfavorably) with?

  3. Okay, Craig, methinks you should make it a little bit harder with the title, just so that some of us may have the time to actually answer 😛 I propose that you don’t use any books published after 2000.

  4. well, i knew this one, obviously–i love spahr. oh well. spahr is great! i would compare her favorably with howe, stein, niedecker… um… i’m sure there are more. but she’s an amazing poet and you should def. check out her book.

  5. Craig, I think money’s the only possible reparation because the actors (or most of them) are no longer alive.

    Money is a natural communication – as natural as language to us human beings – built right into our brains.

    How else can an idea like this be addressed but by another idea – not by pysical action – which would be SO much more satisfying.

    One big ritual big dance party to get it all out! Something with music! Ending in exhaustion!

    But this is a really interesting question. I wonder what more you and others think about it.

  6. twobuttefliez gets the point! and i hope she continues to play!

    iseult, spahr is great! agree with jessica on the comparisons – check out also “f*uck you, aloha, i love you” i think i have a copy if you wants to borrow (or did i already let you borrow that one?

    okay francois, i’ll step it up a bit! but i try not to think about level of difficulty, just whatever comes to mind first! but this current title i think is a bit harder…

    gelsinger, glad to hear from you!!! true that money does communicate, but what does it communicate? what is a “war reparation” supposed to communicate? these questions bring me back to HD – which i will return to soon – in the War Trilogy, where she is sincerely looking for ways to heal from the traumas of war…she very clearly thinks the solution is psychological and spiritual (and that poets are to re-write the theatre, so to speak) … BUT does money really address the psychological trauma of war? does it provide deeper reparations?

    i don’t think it does (but that doesnt mean i dont think financial reparations should be made – i think they should)…but what does financial reparation communicate?

    need help with these questions…i hope other chime in

  7. i should mention that the new blog title is actually the first line of a poem…GOOD LUCK!!! and if you don’t know, try guessing — i am also curious as to what the titles maybe remind you of, of might sound like, etc…

  8. geez–way to step up the difficulty–i have no idea.

    as for money-trauma, i think money is like any other token exchanged that signifies ‘we are guilty. we hurt you. we’re sorry.’ like men give women flowers (money is better) when they act like cads. like rape and domestic violence victims sue for money after the SoL is up for a criminal case. an exchange of money is also a ritual, and apparently healing from trauma is made much smoother when there is a public ritual and reparation of some kind. the importance of ritual in soc-indiv relations is something that really interests me lately, esp. with the marriage amendment crap.

    kind of thinking aloud without direction.

  9. yeah it’s a hard one … after francois’s comment i started thinking well, what might be difficult to me might be easy for others, and vice versa…how is one to know? just intuition i guess, and this current title feels hard to me …

    HERE’S A HINT FOR EVERYONE: the first letter of the alphabet.

    also, i thought this might be a fun skill game, but now i am realizing how much of it is luck, as in it is only a matter of luck that any given person links to this blog right after i post the title and before anyone else guesses, and it is just a matter of luck that they have read what the title is referencing…anyways, i hope it is at least FUN! i’m having fun thinking of new titles!

    i think the idea of “exchanging money as ritual” is really generative and i hadnt thought of that. on guam, we give “chenchu’le” – that is, money at funerals, wedding, birthdays, easter, x-mas, or when someone is going on a trip … the meaning of the signifier changing with each context of course…

    anyways, also thinking aloud

  10. augh… ok, your “hint” sent me on a quick whirlwind through my library of Zukofsky and Andrews and my memory, at least, through Stevens… all for nought… doesn’t sound like their voices, although Zuk and Bruce quote a lot so… but it stll doesn’t really sound like them– not enough like eecummings for bruce’s earlier work and too sensitive to be his later work–too hesitant to be Zuk. actually, i suspect it’s a female poet. who though. this may only be because i forever asociate horses with Joy Harjo. Another fine poet. Isn’t there a poem called “Poem Beginning with the Letter A”? Not to be confused with Zuk’s “The” poem but another one… whose? Hugh McDiarmid? Too smooth to be him. Augh…

    On money and ritual: right, my family gives money on holidays, upon departing on a trip, graduations, and the sort of life-sacraments you list (ie marriage); also in judaic culture (at least in upper-class judaic culture) there’s giving of large sums of money when the child turns 13–a coming of age ritual. All of these events involve money in a larger ritual–there are many actions performed during xmas, bday, marriage that have nothing to do with money. Similarly, when money’s given in a reparation ritual (let’s say) it’s usually part of a larger ritual: a trial, the meeting of heads of state or representatives, the newscast which broadcasts the exchange.

    when you rob anyone, or group of people, of a ritual (“rob,” i didn’t realize–), say you don’t properly acknowledge that slavery for african americans in the 19th C still has repercussions for the 20thC heirs and that they have a right to mourn, it stymies the healing process and creates civil unrest. people must be allowed to mourn, marry, etc. in a public space and receive public acknowledgement and tokens. sometimes tokens are money; sometimes a monument or a street name (those always strike me as ridiculous–like you can make up for murdering MLK by naming a street after him).

    but i don’t know: why money? are other gifts (the Wise Man’s fabled myrrh for Jesus’s birth) just as good? money often comes along with other gifts, as at xmas, bdays, weddings, etc. (frankencense, myrrh, and gold, right?)

    but i am getting away from the political and into the theoretical.

    i think i should probably read some anthropology books but i don’t know where to begin.

  11. you’re on the right track…whenever i think of harjo, i think of saxophones – go figure…

    your phrase “reparation ritual” is a powerful one … almost a good title for a poem … interesting that the exchange of money is perhaps a cross cultural ritual –

    i def agree that unacknowledged injustices prevent healing, and the emphasis on a “public” ritual seems important also. reparations and monuments (these are starting to constellate in my mind) … yeah street names are strange. there was recently a controversy on guam when they changed a main street name to “Marine Corps Drive” – altho many patriotic chamorros respect the US military because they “liberated” Guam from the japanese during WW2, many others who are critical of the US view the act as an “re-occupation” – so even the naming of street can have variable signification.

    i wonder though, what other gifts would be as powerful as money? where’s mephis in all this ?

  12. >true that money does communicate, but what does it communicate? what is a “war reparation” supposed to communicate?

    As you know, reparations usually communicate coerced compliance with an international body’s judgement, or a desire to expand foreign commerce (I doubt the Japanese people are taking to the streets clamoring to give Guam reparations).

    Reparations for the individuals are as impossible as going back in time.

    Reparations can only be made abstractly – to reconcile the historical consciousnesses of the two nations. Money talks, and doesn’t need a translator. Like you said, the money will *help* like hands.

    The only “real” reparation would come from extirpating whatever exists in the one culture which caused its carriers (citizens) to act as they did. To eliminate the offending gene from the germ line, so to speak.

    Money, as a mediation for “real” experience, will only make it easier for Japan to ignore the search for that offending cultural gene.

    But money is the only possible reparation.

    Christ may have been on (to) something.

  13. Hmm… Wonderfully coincidental that I was racking my brain this morning about the commodification of damn near everything. (Hold on. I have to get another beer.) Just a few days ago you posted an article about how the US military is trying to re-take land that’s already been taken and given back. Money as token or money as symbol dances dangerously close to turning a family tragedy into a $25K commodity, but when it’s not coupled with a genuine change in attitude, it seems akin to throwing the money at your woman while you’re on your way out the door for a date. Reparation seems more than appropriate, but if you can’t use that money (and live your life) within a system that has compensated for its previous shortcomings (yet alone eliminated them), I don’t know how much has really been repaired.

  14. must agree with both forrest and gelsinger…great and thoughtful points! and kindof depressing actually, dont have much faith with “a genuine change in attitude” as far as imperial nations go…

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