Hello ladies! I am a member of We Are Guahan, a grassroots organization that is fighting to hold on to what we've got as an island community here on Guam.
The U.S. Military decided (under the Bush administration) that because Japan no longer wants them in Okinawa, they will be relocated to Guam. Guam was never consulted in this decision in any way. DoD is acting with disregard to the island's environment. They've already claimed and built on a third of the island (much of which is land that the people were never compensated for).
Guam's current infrastructure, including our utilities, schools, hospital (the one we have is already at full capacity and we are expecting to have possiibly up to 60,000 new patients), etc...are already taxed. The government of Guam is having a hard time as it is, pulling itself out of some major debts, and DoD wants us to take out more loans to make some of the changes needed for the buildup. They want to build another air craft carrier berth, which will destroy up to 70 acres of coral reef.
Our island is small, yet is home to approximately 170,000 people. This buildup is being said to be the biggest and most expensive in military history, and our island simply cannot handle it!! The quality of life here on the island will surely suffer. Traffic here is already chaotic, and they are sending 10,500 (not 8000 as they originally stated) combative marines here to the island. They want to use sacred lands as a firing range.
We are also concerned about what this means to Guam should there come a time of war. Do we now become a watched target of North Korea or China because of our increased military presence?
The US is planning on spending billions of US tax dollars on this buildup, and the people of Guam are not being given any choice in the matter.
We are having to stand up and say "No, this is NOT acceptable" but we need to reach out further. We Are Guahan is doing a lot to organize community meetings, but we need help. We need people in the mainland US to know what is going on, and that we are not okay with it. And that we need help.
I am on the committee for letter writing, and am in the process of researching who needs to be bombarded with letters to get some attention on the matter. We are working on looking for existing environmental groups (or others) that could help get the word out to larger media groups.
I can't stress it enough, that we NEED help. We need help with writing letters to federal officials, maybe the people at the pentagon who are not so stoked about the costs, to Hank Johnson (who thinks we'll capsize lol), etc. Anyone you can think of... organizations... like the Sierra Club? Other ideas?
There are a lot of people here on Guam, people of all cultures, yet we still celebrate our indigenous culture with pride. We love our island, there is so much beauty here, in the water, on the land, the people. We have lives, and this military buildup will have a huge impact on all of us. It seems as though the only people here on island who support the buildup believe that there is money in it for them via the economy, etc. The people here feel like they are being bought out by the military, and it just feels icky. But we are empowered, and we are standing up for our island, and we need help.
Here are some links if you want to find out more about the military buildup on Guam:Article in the Washington PostWe Are Guahan websitePagat, Yigo on Guam listed by Time Magazine in 11 most endangered historic placesRead the Final Environmental Impact Statement, for the straight stuff given by DoD (its massive)Local news coverage article/video clip
More video clips:OnePagat land peaceful ProtestsSpeaking out against buildup & militarism
Please help us!