Thursday, February 4, 2010

Hafa Adai, Mr. President! Can we have Guam, Okinawa, Jeju Island, & Vicenza back, please?

At her blog at the The Insular Empire: America in the Marianas website, filmmaker Vanessa Warheit connects the dots between last weekend's huge protest against US military bases in Okinawa and Japan and resistance by Guamanians who don't want US military expansion on their island (1/3 of the island is already covered by US bases):
Marianas Variety just published an article on Obama's upcoming visit to Guam. The fact that the US President has decided to fly 9000 miles to visit the Marianas is HUGE news... and speaks to how vital these tiny islands are to America's global strategy.

On the same day, the Associated Press reported this story about thousands of protestors in Tokyo (not Okinawa - Tokyo), asking the US military to GO HOME.

Something tells me these two things are related.

The real question now is: how do we get Obama to watch The Insular Empire? I've read Obama's book Dreams From My Father, and I really believe that Obama understands, first-hand, what it means to be colonized. I'd like to believe that if he understood the Marianas' colonial history, he'd start doing something to help the people of Guam - and the Northern Marianaas - achieve true self-determination.
Meanwhile, there are more dots in this global picture of popular democratic resistance to the expansion of US military bases--there are already over 1,000 US military bases throughout the world.

At Jeju Island, a biodiverse World Heritage site south of the Korean peninsula, villagers at Gangjeong are now experiencing a month of respite after days and nights of protests protesting the confiscation and destruction of their tangerine groves and the coral reef off their pristine coastline.

They're waiting for a court decision on whether South Korea can proceed with the construction of a naval base intended to port U.S. and South Korean Aegis destroyers outfitted with missile defense systems that the villagers say will be used to surround China's coast--potentially making their once peaceful island a target if hostilities break out.

And at the same time--In northern Italy, local residents and their supporters are continuing protests against the expansion of the US military base in the historic city of Vicenza. New video footage at Bruce Gagnon's blog shows Italian protesters entering the Dal Molin site and hanging rainbow flags from cranes and other equipment. This nonviolent protest comes near the two-year anniversary of a march attended by tens of thousands of people to oppose US plans to double the size of the Vicenza base.

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