I have article on Native Chamorro people of Guam

Dear Editor,

I have an article that I’d like to provide to any intersted parties, (3,642 words).

The article, entitled: “War Stories: journalism and militarization on the tip of the spear,” deals with the problems of censorship as well as corporate self-censorship facing journalists and the Native Chamorro people of Guam.

I worked at both newspapers on Guam (the large Gannett-owned Pacific Daily News, as well as their small family-owned competitor, the Marianas Variety) over the course of the past year.

The article addresses the role and efficacy of the media on the territory under the heavy weight of the U.S. Department of Defense, as well as the active editorial policy of the island’s largest news source not to carry stories critical of the military and the DoD’s active “banning” of the other local paper from military events due to their critical coverage.

These moves to squelch military criticism come at a time when the DoD is preparing to establish a new base to house some 5,000 Marines and their dependents who are currently stationed in Okinawa. As it stands, a full third of the island’s 209 square miles are occupied by either Andersen Air Force Base or Navy Base Guam, and thus is inaccessible to the island’s Chamorros.

Many of the island’s elected leaders are concerned for the safety of their constituents.

The issue I would like to show is an ethical one, as well as an unfortunately too-common mechanical one: Guam is in many ways an insular, self-contained political environment. However, although they are a U.S. territory and Guamanians are U.S. citizens, the DoD never consulted these people on any level before deciding to partition off another large block of their land and militarize it.

There has been virtually no coverage of issues such as environmental contamination (as outlined in the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act, currently before the House of Representatives) or the history of this group of Marines in Okinawa.

And so, if it is the role of the media to inform the public so that they can best decide their own fate, Guam would serve as a fine – and very sad – example of  the manufacture of consent.

The saddest point, outside of their nearly five centuries of colonization, is that they are so desolate. It is for that reason that they serve as the most remote base of U.S. military operations, often called the “tip of the spear.” It is also for that reason that the DoD can do whatever they want with their land with or without their consent; no one knows they’re there.

Thank you for your consideration,

Beau Hodai

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