31 January 2011

Chinese Ambassador Visits Aruba, Curacao and Sint Maarten

H.E. Ambassador ZHANG Jun met with officials of three new autonomous countries

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Peoples Republic of China
 From 8 to 14 January, H. E. Ambassador ZHANG Jun visited Curaçao, Aruba and Sint Maarten, the three autonomous countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. During his visit, Ambassador ZHANG met with Governors, Prime Ministers, Ministers of Economic Affairs and Directors of Foreign Relations Office of the three autonomous countries. In Curaçao, he also met with Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Spatial Planning, and representatives from the business community. Besides meetings with local governments, Ambassador ZHANG also held talks with the representatives of the local Chinese community in the three autonomous countries.

During the official meetings, Ambassador ZHANG gave comprehensive introductions on current relations between China and the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and the latest bilateral economic and trade development. He said that China attaches great importance to the relationship with the Kingdom of the Netherlands, respects the political system of the Kingdom and the development path chosen by the people of the three autonomous countries. China is willing to further develop relations with the three autonomous countries within the framework of the overall relations between China and the Kingdom. The good momentum of the bilateral relationship creates even better conditions to develop relations between both sides. China would like to enhance people-to-people contacts, economic and trade cooperation and cultural exchanges with Curaçao, Aruba and Sint Maarten based on mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, so as to promote mutual understanding and eventually achieve win-win outcome.

Leaders of Curaçao, Aruba and Sint Maarten welcomed Ambassador ZHANG's visit. They hoped that the special geographic locations, sound infrastructure and favorable investment environment the countries enjoy may attract more Chinese enterprises' investment into this region. In the meantime, the fast development of Chinese economy brings along good opportunities for deepening mutual exchanges and cooperation in every field. Curaçao, Aruba and Sint Maarten are willing to strengthen cooperation with China in the fields of sustainable energy, tourism and ocean shipping, so as to continuously boost mutual exchanges and cooperation.

Curaçao, Aruba and Sint Maarten, located in the Southeast of the Caribbean Sea, are among the four constituent countries forming the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and used to be island territories that constituted the Netherlands Antilles. In 1986, Aruba seceded from the Netherlands Antilles and officially became an autonomous country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. On 10 October 2010, a Dutch constitutional reform formally determined that the Netherlands Antilles ceased to exist, that Curaçao and Sint Maarten also gained the status of autonomous country within the Kingdom. The Kingdom of the Netherlands now consists of four countries, namely the Netherlands, Curaçao, Aruba and Sint Maarten.

27 January 2011

The Hand that Feeds

"You should always bite the hands that purport to feed you, if only to test to see whether they truly are feeding you or not."

by Michael Bevacqua
for Marianas Variety

When trying to explain certain political or theoretical points to my students I often stray away from academic examples or verbiage and try to illustrate things through more accessible popular culture forms such as movies or song lyrics. For instance, when trying to explain recently the way in which Guam’s dependency on the United States cripples us and limits us, consistently helping us accept that we are inadequate, I could have referred to numerous examples in our community and our government to make my point. Instead I found myself referring to a heavy metal song. And to my surprise it actually helped push the point home.

The song was "The Hand that Feeds" by Nine Inch Nails, which is about somebody who is stuck in a position of subordination, kneeling before someone who controls them. They don't seem to know anything is wrong most of the time, but this position of being controlled actually leaves them hollow inside. The chorus calls upon the kneeling object of the song to rise up and to bite the hand that appears to feed it, to chew it up and reject their dominance and power.

The lyrics for me are naturally connected to a famous quote from Chamorro scholar Laura Torres Souder's seminal article "Psyche Under Siege" which discusses the psychological dependency and feelings of loyalty that Chamorros feel for the United States, that trap them in a subordinate relationship with it. The quote is so embedded in our society, and strikes deep into the bones of Chamorros. It is a quote that dictates so much of our lives, how we see ourselves in the world, what we as a people or an island are or aren't capable of. It speaks so much to the predicament of the island today, why a massive unilateral military buildup, which could literally shatter the island, is somehow welcomed and celebrated.

This is the logic that pins us down, that insists that we continue to kiss the hand that feeds us, that we never question the mandates of that hand, that we never look past it, but continually submit to it, since there is nothing possible without it. Here is the quote in question:

“Naughty, naughty, you should not bite the hand that feeds you. Remember, life boils down to this, he who holds the purse strings rules the roost.”

In my opinion, you should always bite the hands that purport to feed you, if only to test to see whether they truly are feeding you or not.

If Guam were ever to change political status, I think that this song should be our new anthem. We can even translate it into Chamorro and invite Nine Inch Nails to come and perform on Liberation Day!

And wouldn’t it be nice to have an anthem which doesn’t put you to sleep like some droning dirge, but instead challenges you, the way this song does, where its final verses shout over and over, "Will you stay down on your knees?"

26 January 2011

One Exercise in Political Status Education

A Comfortable Colony

by Michael Bevacqua
for Marianas Variety

At the close of each semester that I teach at UOG, I make my students in Guam History undertake a project called “I Chalån-ta Mo’na” which is a political status forum/debate where the class is divided into three groups each of which represents a different possible political status for Guam. They spend a few weeks ahead of time researching and preparing arguments and then come together to argue over whether statehood, independence or free association is the best choice for Guam’s future. When the project is first announced most students moan about having to talk about things which they either know/care nothing about, or things which they associate with “activists.” But in the heat of the forum, the being forced to articulate your thoughts and the possibility that they in some small way might matter in terms of what direction the island heads, makes the event hotly contested.

The goal of this exercise is not just to inform, but also to hopefully instill some understanding about the importance of issues of political status. Guam is one of the last “official” colonies left in the world and the fact that we are so clueless about our status and so apathetic as an island to changing it is a travesty. We are a colony in denial about being a colony and sometimes it seems that our number one industry is neither military nor tourism, but rather making excuses as to why it is either alright or necessary that we remain a colony.

This is understandable given that Guam is a pretty “comfortable” colony, but that does not change the fact that Guam’s relationship to the US is fundamentally not one of equality, but of ownership. Although Guam is the recipient of “state-like” treatment, we are not a state, we are a possession, an unincorporated territory, and so while we may want to feel that our relationship to the US is just like any state, any other corner of America, it is not, and we do ourselves little good by pretending it is otherwise.

Despite what most may think, our political status is not a minor issue, but literally affects everything on this island.

Where you stand on Guam’s current colonial status and what you think (or don’t think) about what should happen next goes to the core of how you are a person of Guam. How you live here, what you feel about this place, what you think it’s capable of and where you think it should go next.

I hope that my students can take from this exercise both how political status is potentially connected to all other issues on Guam, but also that they should take a more active role in discussing it. Every once in a while my students impress me with their arguments. One such class happened this past semester and I wanted to share with you my notes for their conclusions, which really draw out well some of the benefits of each status.

INDEPENDENCE: The US Constitution was made a long time ago and while it is a good constitution, in our group we decided to come up with our own. That is what each people in their own place are supposed to do and that is what Independence is. With Independence we would have our own laws and no one to answer to. We could prioritize Chamorro language and culture, or we could legalize marijuana in order to make money. We could open up the Marianas Trench for exploration or research. The point is that it is up to us. Right now we are stuck in the Western ways, and sometimes that is good, but we are not empowered to make our own choices. Right now we are told that Health Care is supposed to be a privilege, but what if we wanted to make it a right? Under Independence, Guam could. And for those who are worried about our defense, we can always make an agreement with the US military to keep them here. Right now the US military is here because they colonized us, but how much better would it be if they were here because we made a deal with them and not because they took our land?

FREE ASSOCIATION (FAS): If you guys don’t feel too excited about independence or statehood then FAS is what you want. We have all grown up with Guam now, and it is good right now, but we just need a little more to help us live better. The other two statuses are too hard and too many things against us. Independence and Statehood will both be too much for our small island. FAS gives us the freedom to do what we choose. It is not against anyone. We want to forge alliances with other places, but keep close to the US. We can use the US and its funds to improve things like our hospital and education, but always leave the door open to partner with close countries like the PI (Pacific Islands). Guam has always been a transit point and with FAS we would be able to develop those ties.

STATEHOOD (Integration): There is a long list of things which Guam would lose if it moved away from the US. Our passports and our student loans are just two of them. People would leave the island, our future would become uncertain. We need to choose what is best for this island and not follow the radical ideas of others. Statehood is a step in the better direction. Who can be against more cooperation and unity with a larger power which has done so much for us? We would become more stable as a state, with more money and more prestige. We wouldn’t be outside looking in, we would be a part of the American family. Who is to say anyway that if we became an independent country the US wouldn’t take advantage of us even more? At least as a State we would be inside and they couldn’t just bully us like they do others.

25 January 2011

"We Are Guahan": DoD Plans to Acquire More Land, Pagat Plans Unchanged

News Release

Guam - In contrast to a(n earlier) statement...by the Governor and the visiting federal  (U.S.) delegation, "We Are Guåhan" today released a statement of its own arguing that the Department of Defense actually plans on acquiring more land and claiming that DoD's plans for Pagat remain unchanged.

Officials from the Department of Defense (DoD) were on Guam for one day to pitch their plans to build a firing range complex at Pågat Village and the surrounding areas to island leaders. During their meetings, DoD officials confirmed that Pågat Village and the surrounding area remain its “preferred alternative” for the site of its 5 firing ranges.

Although DoD plans to “acquire” Pågat Village and the surrounding area – including the Guam International Raceway Park – DoD officials verbally promised “un-impeded access” to Pågat Village. This suggestion is similar to the one made by Undersecretary Jackalyn Pfannenstiel soon after DoD was sued by the Guam Preservation Trust, We Are Guåhan and the National Trust for Historic Preservation for not following the law.

For over a year, the people of Guam have opposed DoD’s plans to acquire any additional land or to build a firing range complex at Pågat Village. DoD’s continued plans of “acquiring” over 1,000 more acres of land and firing around and above Pågat Village do not address these concerns. “Un-impeded access” to Pågat Village was never the issue.

“The messengers may change, but the message remains the same: DoD plans on taking Pågat,” says We Are Guåhan member Cara Flores-Mays. “Pågat, and what it represents, is worth more to our island than vague promises of returning land that was taken from our people decades ago.”

Responding to DoD’s proposal is Governor Calvo’s first opportunity to fulfill his promise to the people of Guam that he will not abandon Pågat, and that the Calvo Tenorio administration will not agree to DoD expanding beyond its current footprint.

Governor Calvo ran on the promise that Pågat is not for sale. This means that he would never allow DoD to fire bullets over or around the graves of our ancestors. This means that Pågat will not be traded to DoD in exchange for the return of thousands of acres of land DoD currently owns but does not use, or a promise to ask Congress for money to pay for a museum and cultural center.

“Machine guns being fired overhead, and grenades blowing up in the distance, are unacceptable impacts on Pågat Village and the people living in the surrounding area,” says Flores-Mays. “We Are Guåhan will not give up on Pågat.”

Emotional State Funeral for late Montserrat Chief Minister

The Editorial Staff of Overseas Territories Review joins the people of Montserrat, and of the entire Caribbean, in mourning the loss of the former Chief Minister Dr. John A. Osbourne, a stalwart in the Caribbean regional integration movement.

Montserrat and regional leaders honor Dr. John A. Osborne in emotional funeral service.

SKN Vibes

BRADES, Montserrat (January 24, 2011) – “John Alfred Osborne was a great man, a truly noble son of Montserrat. The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States and the region as a whole have lost a leader of immense stature, a man of deep conviction and strong commitment to the development of his country and the wider region.”

Those were the sentiments of Prime Minister of St. Kitts & Nevis and Chairman of the OECS, the Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas at the official funeral of Montserrat’s former chief minister Dr. John A. Osborne last Friday. They were echoed throughout the two-hour service by various leaders including the Chief Minister of Montserrat, Hon. Reuben T. Meade, former Chief Minister Hon. Dr. Lowell Lewis, and Speaker of the House Ms. Teresina Bodkin.

Dr. Osborne’s body Lay in State from 8am until noon at the Montserrat Cultural Centre, which also serves as the island’s Legislative Chambers. Hundreds came to view the body which was surrounded by honour guards. Every 20 minutes the guards rotated between members of the Royal Montserrat Defence Force, the Royal Montserrat Police Force, the Montserrat Secondary School Cadet Corps and an Osborne Family Honour Guard.

The funeral followed an emotional procession of the body, with members of the RMPF, the RMDF and other uniformed bodies from the Government Headquarters in Brades to the Montserrat Cultural Centre, led by the Antigua & Barbuda Police Band.

Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Chief Minister Mrs. Beverley Mendes gave a stirring rendition of “Motherland” one of Montserrat’s national songs. The eulogy was given by daughter Shirley Osborne and Dr. Howard Fergus presented a poem which exemplified the former leader and the man who was a driving force in the island’s advancement economically and regionally.

“Dr. John A Osborne served his country and the region with distinction. He was a true patriot – a man who loved his country and devoted his life to its development… His patriotism was unparalleled, as was his abiding faith in his people, and concern for the welfare of the least among them. He was passionate about the OECS, and his enthusiasm and optimism energized his colleagues and peers at Meetings of the OECS Authority. Dr. John Osborne was a politician who inspired respect not just in Montserrat but throughout the Caribbean region and beyond. He was indeed a true public servant committed to public welfare, and the notion of service above self,” Dr. Douglas said of Montserrat’s longest serving statesman.

Other officials in attendance at the funeral included Prime Minister of Antigua & Barbuda, the Hon. Baldwin Spencer, Chief Minister of Anguilla, the Hon. Hubert Hughes, Hon. Julian Fraser of the British Virgin Islands, Hon. Ambrose George of Dominica, Senator Maxine McClean of Barbados, Hon. Walcott Richardson of Anguilla, Ambassador Dr. June Soomer of St. Lucia, Acting Secretary General of CARICOM Ambassador Lolita Applewhaite, and Sir Louis and Lady Linda Straker of St. Vincent & the Grenadines.

Prime Minister Spencer called Dr. Osborne a true statesman and friend of Antigua & Barbuda. Ambassador Applewhaite, reading a statement from Chairman of CARICOM Heads of Government, Prime Minister of Grenada, Hon. Tillman Thomas called Dr. Osborne the “quintessential politician, statesman and [a] Caribbean integrationist.”

The former chief minister had a record 38 years in political office with 18 of them as chief minister. He was an entrepreneur and shipwright with a passion for his family and Montserrat. In a fitting homage to his love for the sea, Dr. Osborne’s coffin was a replica of one of his earlier ships the Western Sun and was built by Junie Irish. Dr. Osborne was buried after a private funeral service on Saturday morning, January 22 at the St. Peters Anglican Church.

24 January 2011

Marine Preserve Areas Double Drowning Risk for Indigenous Guam Fishermen

Concrete evidence on how dangerous fishing has become for the indigenous Chamoru fishermen since fishing restrictions as result of the Marine Preserve Areas.

(HONOLULU ) For fishermen on Guam who have traditionally fished inshore, a major concern is the loss of accessible fishing grounds caused in part by the establishment of five marine preserve areas (MPAs) in 1997. Fishermen have reported that the MPAs have displaced them from traditional fishing grounds, prevent them from teaching fishing techniques in a safe environment to the younger generation and impact the future of their local culture.

Now a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), provides concrete evidence on how dangerous fishing has become for the indigenous Chamoru fishermen since fishing restrictions in the MPAs at Tumon Bay, Piti Bomb Holes, Sasa Bay, Achang Reef Flat and Pati Point have been enforced.

"The major finding of the study was that, for Chamoru fishermen, the risk of drowning more than doubled after MPAs were enforced in 2001," note authors Devin L. Lucas, and Jennifer M. Lincoln, PhD. On the other hand, non-Chamoru fishermen experienced a sharp decrease in the risk of drowning after MPAs were established.

The NIOSH report "The Impact of Marine Preserve Areas on the Safety of Fishermen on Guam" also found that the proportion of drowning deaths to Chamoru fishermen that occurred on the East Coast (in more hazardous waters) increased from 20 percent during 1986-2000 to 63 percent during 2001-2009.

The report concludes:

"Before the MPAs were established, Guam residents fished primarily in the protected areas of the Western (leeward side) and Southern Coasts. Non-Chamorro fishermen were predominately recreational users, while Chamorro fishermen were more likely to subsist on the resource. As MPAs were established and enforced, the traditional and popular fishing grounds on the West Coast and Southern tip of the island were restricted. Non-Chamorro recreational fishermen most likely scaled back their fishing activities since few accessible, safe areas remained open. At the same time, Chamorro subsistence fishermen began fishing more heavily on the East Coast (windward side of the island)....That increased exposure to more hazardous conditions resulted in higher risk of drowning."

The report was prepared by NIOSH for the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council which was created by Congress in 1976 and is authorized by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act to manage fisheries in (U.S.) federal waters surrounding Guam, Hawaii, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and the US Pacific remote island areas.

21 January 2011

Sint Maarten Education Minister Outlines Vision for Quality Education

Minister Rhoda Arrindell delivers message on "The Right to Quality Education."

Daily Herald

PHILIPSBURG--Education Minister Rhoda Arrindell said her vision for quality education is that in the short-term her Ministry would implement compulsory education and eradicate school drop-out.

"To achieve this will require that we improve teacher performance and professionalism, a goal which I am happy to report, is shared by the Windward Islands Teachers Union(WITU)," Arrindell noted when delivering the 24th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Lecture hosted by Conscious Lyrics Foundation and held in the Philipsburg Cultural and Community Saturday night. Her topic was 'The Right to Quality Education.'

She said she had already established a regular monthly meeting with the union to enlist its collaboration and ensure that all remain on the same page in matters related to teachers and to education in general. Moreover the Minister said her vision calls for the need to improve the overall learning environment, from making a better and more effective use of the physical assets available, such as schools, gyms, etc., to ensuring that no child learns with a hungry stomach at school. She said her tour of several schools last month served as an eye-opener to those physical needs and the concerns expressed by those schools will be addressed effectively.

In addition, her vision she said requires establishing Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with providers of higher education so that there is continuity for students, as well as promoting studying in the region. "I have already initiated efforts in this direction with institutions of higher learning in the Caribbean, which efforts will be expanded upon shortly in order for them to yield the desired results", the Minister said.

She said the mid-term goals her Ministry has set include among others, the systematic use of information and communication technology (ICT) in all schools. "This will ensure that all students will have access to computers and the Internet and that they are used systematically throughout the school curriculum. In this 21st century, all St. Maarten students must be computer literate and Internet–savvy," she stressed.

Furthermore, she said she intends to institute Physical Education instruction in all schools. "It is my view that the image of the nerd as physically weak must be confined to the TV screens where it belongs and not be allowed to sink root in our consciousness."

"In the long term, I envisage an educational system in which there will be a steady and seamless stream of students from the time they enter playschool to the time they are ripe for secondary school and ultimately university or any other institution of tertiary learning.

"In concrete terms, this means that all secondary school graduates should be able to possess a minimum level of competence, with a curriculum that has a high academic content, and that includes arts and culture as well as sports as mandatory subjects. This would mean eventually expanding school hours, improving professionalism, and greater parental involvement in the education of their children up to the higher education level," she suggested.

"In the long term, also, I want to see each school having teams in all sports and participating in an annual sports festival. It should not be far-fetched to establish in each school teams that will compete against one another for national titles or institutionalize healthy competition in cultural activities such as Carnival, Emancipation Day, Christmas, etc. among our schools," the Minister noted of her vision.

She said she strongly believed that each school, each educational institution on our island, must be of the best quality it can be, with the best students, the best teachers, the best equipment, and reaping the best results in competitive examinations.

"Quality education in this day and age, cannot and should not be viewed as "elitist" or "expensive." In fact, to paraphrase the quote of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. which I began this lecture with, "Nothing in the entire world is more expensive and elitist than 'sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity' parading itself as expertise," said the Minister.

Noting her quest for quality education she said the question of course is how Government can afford this with the meagre financial resources and limited human resources. "What I certainly pledge to do is ensure an effective and prudent husbandry of the resources available to us. The "cut, cut, cut," mode in which government finds itself at the moment must translate into greater creativity in making use of what we have and setting priorities that are achievable within our means.

"I believe in the genius of the St. Maarten parent to find the funds needed to grant his or her child the kind of quality education outlined in this vision. I know you believe, as I do, the adage to be true that says: 'If you think education is expensive, try ignorance,'" the Minister said.

In concluding the Minister said, "The time to act is now, when we can no longer blame others for our shortcomings; when our pride and dignity as a people should not allow us to wait on hand-outs to build our own schools and develop our own curricula; when the reality of our goals demand that we do not throw away the wisdom of our most successful educators when they retire, but find ways to use them to our best advantage.

"The time to act is NOW, when our manifest destiny is freedom. And for that freedom to ring loud and clear to all corners of the globe from our hills and mountain tops, we have to embrace a new kind of education that will rest on two pillars: quality - that is excellence - and performance."

20 January 2011

U.N. Urges Chile to Halt Evictions of Indigenous Protesters

UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of indigenous peoples James Anaya sent a letter to the Chilean government on Monday reminding Chile of their international obligations under the Convention 169, which outlines the protected rights of indigenous people, including the right to preserve an indigenous group’s ancestral land.

By Mark Briggs
Santiago Times

Following months of protests and sit-ins surrounding ancestral land claims on Chile’s Easter Island, the United Nations has officially called on the Chilean government to help diffuse tensions.
The international body’s primary recommendation was to “avoid new evictions and police presence on the island that exceeds what is necessary and proportional.”

The U.N. Special Rapporteur James Anaya said he was dismayed by the lack of dialogue between government parties and the Rapa Nui indigenous community, questioning the level of force used against the indigenous groups who have been occupying government buildings and hotels in the Island’s main town of Hanga Roa since August 2010.

Anaya sent a letter to the Chilean government on Monday reminding Chile of their international obligations under the Convention 169, which outlines the protected rights of indigenous people, including the right to preserve an indigenous group’s ancestral land. Chile ratified U.N. Convention 169 in 2008 under former President Michelle Bachelet, and the document came into full force in late 2009.

President Sebastián Piñera has defended a series of forceful evictions on the grounds of maintaining public order, including the most recent, violent evictions of Dec. 29, 2010. Yet the Rapa Nui maintains that they resorted to building occupation only after numerous attempted petitions proved fruitless.

The Chilean government rented nearly 90 percent of the island’s land to British sheep farmers during the latter part of the nineteenth century, disregarding indigenous groups historically on the island. Easter Island, located over 2,000 miles from the coast of Chile, came under the country’s mandate in 1888, although the Rapa Nui were denied Chilean citizenship until 1966.

The Hito Rangi Clan is currently occupying the Hotel Hanga Roa, which is constructed on land to which the group has claimed ancestral ownership.

In December 2010, the Mayor of Valparaiso, under whose jurisdiction Easter Island falls, signed an order to begin the evictions of protesters. On Dec. 3 government soldiers and police forces clashed with the occupants, leaving 25 people injured (ST, Dec. 6). Police allege they moved in after being attacked with Molotov cocktails and machetes, although eyewitnesses denied the claims.

Violence again flared on Dec. 29 as dozens of clan members were beaten by police.

The Chilean government has been attempting to promote tourism to the UNESCO World Heritage Site made famous through the Moai or Easter Island Heads. Tourist agencies have reportedly claimed that the ongoing land dispute has cost the island around US$3 million in lost revenue over the last six months.

19 January 2011

Greenland Questions Denmark over US Rendition Flights

A Wiki leak suggesting government (Danish) duplicity on CIA renditions draws opposition criticism.

Edited by Julian Isherwood

Greenland’s Prime Minister Kuupik Kleist says that he plans to approach the Danish government over  weekend disclosures in a Wiki leak in Politiken, suggesting that the Danish government was not as interested in investigating CIA renditions as it made out.

“I will study the documents before commenting on them. But it sounds serious and is therefore a subject I will be discussing with Foreign Minister Lene Espersen and Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen when I meet them this week,” Kuupik Kleist tells Sermitsiaq, adding that until he has studied the documents he cannot comment furtherGreenland air space and territory is said to have been frequently used by the CIA in its rendition operations.

Greenland members of the Danish Folketing are critical of the government following the disclosures. “The issue has already caused unnecessary differences, so we need to find out what happened and what was said,” says Juliane Henningsen MP for Inuit Ataqatigiit.

Over the weekend, Politiken disclosed a WikiLeak report suggesting that while the government on the one hand told Parliament a full investigation would be carried out into CIA renditions using Danish, Greenland and Faroese territory, a US Embassy memo on talks with Denmark’s Foreign Ministry suggested Denmark wanted the issue to go away quickly and quietly.

Henningsen says she sees the apparent duplicity as a breach of trust in the Danish government.

The Danish opposition has also called for an explanation from the government, both in the form of a debate in Parliament and at the next meeting of the Foreign Policy Committee.

The Danish People’s Party’s Foreign Policy Spokesman Søren Espersen, on the other hand, supports former Foreign Minister Per Stig Møller (Cons) in his understanding of the memo that was written following a meeting between then US Ambassador James P. Cain and a senior Danish Foreign Ministry official.

“He was not the best diplomat that America has had in Denmark. I don’t have much faith in his judgment,” Espersen says.

Former Foreign Minister Per Stig Møller says the memo is Cain’s own view. “I have no way of knowing how Cain has understood discussions with Danish civil servants and during discussions at which I was not present,” Stig Møller says.

Editor's Note: Greenland is an autonomous country in association with the Kingdom of Denmark, and enjoys a broad degree of self-governance, whilst retaining voting representation in the Danish Parliament.

Former top US diplomat questions Danish Govt. Claims

The former US State Dept. Chief of Staff says the CIA does not use (Greenland) airspace without permission.One of the most senior figures in former President Bush’s government has questioned the Danish government’s position regarding CIA rendition flights. The Danish government has said that it had no knowledge of the flights, despite the fact that the aircraft used by the CIA repeatedly flew through Danish airspace and landed at airports in Greenland.
“I find it difficult to believe that the Danish government was unaware of the flights,” says Colin Powell’s former Chief of Staff Lawrence Wilkerson. Wilkerson was chief of staff from 2002 to 2005. Wilkerson says that he has not taken part in any meetings on the CIA’s rendition programme and thus does not have firsthand knowledge of the flights.

“But I have been involved in several other military operations in the past,” says Wilkerson who was also one of Powell’s closest employees when the latter was defence chief. He says that he has also been involved in other military operations which sometimes included the CIA.

“The CIA does not just fly through another country’s airspace without permission. The normal procedure is that the head of the CIA approaches the head of intelligence in the country concerned and says that the United States is about to carry out some missions that will involve that country’s airspace and that the missions are central to American national security,” Wilkerson says.

“It is then up to the intelligence chief of the other country to decide whether he will inform his political masters – but he will normally do that in order to keep his back free,” Wilkerson says adding that permission is normally given without further questions as to what the missions involve.

The former chief of staff says it is normal procedure for governments to say one thing in public and something else to other countries.

“Particularly if it is about confidential conversations and things which – if they became public knowledge – could endanger national security. So that happens in particular when the discussions involve the CIA,” Wilkinson says.

Meanwhile, the Copenhagen Post reported a subsequent reply from the Danish Prime Minister:

PM silent on charges of double-dealing
DV News

Leaked documents suggest government was not interested in confronting US over CIA transports.

The prime minister, Lars Løkke Rasmussen, has refused to comment on the government’s role in the alleged illegal transport of CIA detainees over Danish airspace, including Greenland. The issue appeared after Wikileaks published documents from the US Embassy in Copenhagen.

“I will not comment on leaked documents,” the PM told TV2. “The issue has been dealt with and the former foreign minister has answered questions about it in parliament.”

The leaked documents indicate that on the one hand, the government promised parliament to ask the US about CIA’s transfers of detainees while, on the other hand, telling the opposite to the then US ambassador in Denmark at the time. Danish government officials, according to Politiken newspaper, made it clear to the Americans at the time that they wanted the issue to die away.

Flood of Indigenous Demands a Challenge for Chile

Inter Press Service (IPS)
by Daniela Estrada

SANTIAGO (IPS) - While many are sceptical that the Chilean government will deliver on its promise of a shift in indigenous policy, the deadline is looming for the administration of Sebastián Piñera to live up to Inter-American Commission on Human Rights recommendations with respect to imprisoned members of the Mapuche community.

"The challenge for this year is preventing a situation where it is the courts that intervene, as a last resort, to try to solve the demands of both the indigenous communities and the owners of disputed lands" claimed by native groups, Jorge Contesse, director of the Human Rights Centre at the private Diego Portales University, told IPS.

"The political authorities have to take a hand in the matter," the lawyer said.

Of the nine indigenous groups officially recognised in this South American country of 17 million people, the Mapuche are by far the largest, with more than a million members.

On Jan. 6, members of the Rapa Nui community filed a complaint of police brutality, which is now before the military justice system. Between September and December, members of the group were violently evicted by carabineros (militarised police) from land that they claim as their own on Easter Island.

On Sept. 9, 29 Rapa Nui clans asked the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to grant precautionary measures to protect them, a request that is under consideration.

"All of this is happening in the context of a conflict where the Rapa Nui are laying claim to land and demanding self-government, self-determination and immigration control," Camila Labra, a lawyer with the non-governmental Citizen Observatory, which is backing the request to the IACHR, told IPS.

Easter Island, a tourist destination famous for the nearly 900 huge mysterious rock statues that dot the landscape, is located 3,500 km off Chile's Pacific coast and was annexed by this country in 1888. The native inhabitants are of Polynesian origin, and some of them are threatening to declare independence if their demands are not met.

The volcanic rock island is one of the most remote inhabited places in the world, and has a population of 3,800. The Rapa Nui people, who make up 60 percent of the population, want to restrict immigration by mainland Chileans and foreigners.

"The more stubborn the authorities' refusal to engage in dialogue, the more radical the indigenous demands will become," Contesse said. "The more participation by and consultation with indigenous people increases, the more social conflicts will decrease. That is what the government should understand and act on."

The Chilean government has until early February to respond to the IACHR about compliance with the recommendations outlined by the Organisation of American States (OAS) human rights body with respect to cases of violations of the human rights of Mapuche community members sentenced in 2003 under the controversial counter-terrorism law.

Some Mapuche areas in southern Chile have a long history of conflict over what the native communities claim as their ancestral land.

Although more than 600,000 hectares of land have been returned to indigenous communities by the authorities since 1990, activists stage periodic occupations of land, much of it owned by logging companies, and a number of them have been prosecuted and sentenced under the draconian anti-terrorism law.

Abuses against the Mapuche people are also widespread.

An international mission convened in 2007 by the non-governmental Observatory for Indigenous Peoples’ Rights, which included representatives from groups like Amnesty International, Norwegian People’s Aid and the Argentine Centre for Legal and Social Studies (CELS), documented dozens of complaints of abuses, such as violent raids of Mapuche homes in which the police often destroy household goods and objects of cultural value, mistreat elderly people, women and children, and hurl racist epithets.

The strategy to take their cases to the courts has brought the Mapuche people a few victories.

On Jan. 4, the Supreme Court accepted a case brought by the Citizen Observatory on behalf of a Mapuche community in the southern city of Lanco who were not consulted with respect to the construction of a garbage dump near their homes.

Prior consultation with native peoples with regard to any project that affects their communities or land is stipulated by International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 169 Concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples, in effect in Chile since 2009.

In the meantime, the Anide Foundation and the Children and Youth NGOs Network of Chile (ONG-IJ) are preparing a report to present at a hearing that the IACHR granted them during its next period of sessions at its Washington headquarters in March. The report will describe the "systematic pattern" of police brutality against Mapuche communities, which has particular effects on children and teenagers, psychologist Andrea Iglesias with Anide, a child advocacy organisation, told IPS. They "have been victims of wounds by rubber bullets, intoxication by tear gas and harassment in their schools, and often witnesses to threats of violence," she said.

The two organisations launched a citizens' campaign on Dec. 10 to protest the human rights violations suffered by three young Mapuche Indians prosecuted under the anti-terrorism law even though they were minors. The three youngsters are being held in preventive custody in a juvenile detention centre run by the National Minors Service (SENAME) in the town of Chol-Chol, in the southern region of Araucanía.

The organisations are demanding that the three be released, based on the approval last year of reforms to the counter-terrorism law that stipulate that the severe legislation cannot be applied in the case of adolescents.
On Jan. 19, members of several human rights groups will visit the detention centre where the three are being held, "to jointly assess what situation they are in and what guarantees they have," Iglesias said.

"The judicialisation and criminalisation of persons, communities and organisations that defend their rights is increasingly seen as a strategy that those in power are trying to institutionalise," Milka Castro, director of the juridical anthropology and interculturalism studies programme at the University of Chile law school, told IPS.
The aim is "to silence legitimate demands that are not compatible with the state's export-oriented productive and extractive policies," she said. "And the most worrisome thing is that it is not an isolated policy, but is occurring throughout the continent."

In a column published early this month in the La Tercera newspaper, presidential adviser Sebastián Donoso stated that "the current government came to power with the conviction that public policies towards indigenous people were in need of a major shift, and that trust levels urgently needed to be shored up." Donoso, the government's expert on indigenous affairs, said significant steps have been taken in five areas: cultural promotion; the improvement of mechanisms of land distribution and restitution and productive development; a restructuring of institutions; the creation of effective processes of participation; and the adoption of an integral focus on development.  Castro, however, says "the current authorities' knowledge on the state of indigenous rights in the international legal order is scarce and biased, and they have, why not say it, a discriminatory and racist attitude and conduct." (END/2011)

18 January 2011

Self-Determination on Turks & Caicos Human Rights Agenda ?

Is self-determination as a fundamental human right part of the workshop's agenda?

Turks and Caicos Sun

As part of its on-going commitment to the advancement of human rights in the Turks and Caicos Islands, the TCI Human Rights Commission will continue its participation in the project Building Human Rights Capacity in the UK Overseas Territories.

A workshop, originally scheduled for November last year but postponed due to the passage of hurricane Tomas, has now been rescheduled for January 17th through 21st with the UK trainers holding sessions in Grand Turk and Providenciales.

The project is being sponsored by DFID in partnership with the Commonwealth Foundation, the Commonwealth Legal Education Association (CLEA) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The goals of the workshop are to:

- Increase the commitment by Overseas Territories Governments and partners to an improved human rights agenda

- Increase the awareness and capacity of governments and civil society to address human rights issues in the long term

- Strengthen human rights reporting and monitoring arrangements in accordance with relevant international treaties

This is the second in a series of proposed workshops to be held. The aim is to provide all participants in the training sessions with the foundation/building blocks about human rights and to address the needs of particular government departments and civil society in order to enable them to apply rights in practice/in their work. The training will seek to address matters that arise in the various Government Departments and other institutions and agencies such as Immigration, Labour, SPICE, the Police, Education, Health, Social Services, Gender Affairs, NGOs, Media, Business/Corporate Community, Statutory Bodies, Youth Affairs, Courts and Civil Society Groups.

Participants will, among other things examine;

- the role of civil society in promoting and protecting human rights

- rights as regards to gender equality, access to justice, immigration and labour rights, and

- how best to encourage civil society to monitor human rights, advocate for greater human rights protection, lobby authorities and use the international machinery for human rights protection.


Editor's Note:

The United Nations General Assembly in December, 2010 adopted its annual resolutions on the self-determiniation of the Turks and Caicos Islands and other non self-governing territories, and made the following points:

 "Aware that the Human Rights Committee, as part of its mandate under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, reviews the status of the self-determination process, including in small island Territories (including the Turks and Caicos Islands)

Reaffirms the inalienable right of the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories to self-determination, in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations and with General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV),

Also reaffirms that, in the process of decolonization, there is no alternative to the principle of self-determination, which is also a fundamental human right, as recognized under the relevant human rights conventions,

Further reaffirms that it is ultimately for the peoples of the Territories themselves to determine freely their future political status in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Charter, the Declaration and the relevant resolutions of the General Assembly, and in that connection reiterates its long-standing call for the administering Powers, in cooperation with the territorial Governments and appropriate bodies of the United Nations system, to develop political education programmes for the Territories in order to foster an awareness among the people of their right to self-determination in conformity with the legitimate political status options, based on the principles clearly defined in Assembly resolution 1541 (XV) and other relevant resolutions and decisions,

See also:

 CARICOM Secretary General Calls for Restoration of Elected Government in Turks & Caicos Islands

Turks & Caicos Calls for United Nations Oversight after British Rule Extended

Turks & Caicos All Party Commission Chairman Updates UN on Status of Constitutional Restoration

Political Parties In Turks and Caicos Merge For March Against UK Take Over

Turks & Caicos Political Parties Unite to “Reclaim Democracy”

17 January 2011

Martin Luther King - Beyond Vietnam (1967)

"A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war: This way of settling differences is not just." -  Martin Luther King

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King
April 4, 1967
Riverside Church
New York, N.Y.

Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, I need not pause to say how very delighted I am to be here tonight, and how very delighted I am to see you expressing your concern about the issues that will be discussed tonight by turning out in such large numbers. I also want to say that I consider it a great honor to share this program with Dr. Bennett, Dr. Commager, and Rabbi Heschel, some of the distinguished leaders and personalities of our nation. And of course it’s always good to come back to Riverside Church. Over the last eight years, I have had the privilege of preaching here almost every year in that period, and it is always a rich and rewarding experience to come to this great church and this great pulpit.

I come to this magnificent house of worship tonight because my conscience leaves me no other choice. I join you in this meeting because I am in deepest agreement with the aims and work of the organization which has brought us together, Clergy and Laymen Concerned About Vietnam. The recent statements of your executive committee are the sentiments of my own heart, and I found myself in full accord when I read its opening lines: "A time comes when silence is betrayal." That time has come for us in relation to Vietnam.

The truth of these words is beyond doubt, but the mission to which they call us is a most difficult one. Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government’s policy, especially in time of war. Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within one’s own bosom and in the surrounding world. Moreover, when the issues at hand seem as perplexing as they often do in the case of this dreadful conflict, we are always on the verge of being mesmerized by uncertainty. But we must move on.

Some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak. We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak. And we must rejoice as well, for surely this is the first time in our nation’s history that a significant number of its religious leaders have chosen to move beyond the prophesying of smooth patriotism to the high grounds of a firm dissent based upon the mandates of conscience and the reading of history. Perhaps a new spirit is rising among us. If it is, let us trace its movements, and pray that our own inner being may be sensitive to its guidance, for we are deeply in need of a new way beyond the darkness that seems so close around us.

Over the past two years, as I have moved to break the betrayal of my own silences and to speak from the burnings of my own heart, as I have called for radical departures from the destruction of Vietnam, many persons have questioned me about the wisdom of my path. At the heart of their concerns, this query has often loomed large and loud: "Why are you speaking about the war, Dr. King?" "Why are you joining the voices of dissent?" "Peace and civil rights don’t mix," they say. "Aren’t you hurting the cause of your people?" they ask. And when I hear them, though I often understand the source of their concern, I am nevertheless greatly saddened, for such questions mean that the inquirers have not really known me, my commitment, or my calling. Indeed, their questions suggest that they do not know the world in which they live. In the light of such tragic misunderstanding, I deem it of signal importance to try to state clearly, and I trust concisely, why I believe that the path from Dexter Avenue Baptist Church—the church in Montgomery, Alabama, where I began my pastorate—leads clearly to this sanctuary tonight.

I come to this platform tonight to make a passionate plea to my beloved nation. This speech is not addressed to Hanoi or to the National Liberation Front. It is not addressed to China or to Russia. Nor is it an attempt to overlook the ambiguity of the total situation and the need for a collective solution to the tragedy of Vietnam. Neither is it an attempt to make North Vietnam or the National Liberation Front paragons of virtue, nor to overlook the role they must play in the successful resolution of the problem. While they both may have justifiable reasons to be suspicious of the good faith of the United States, life and history give eloquent testimony to the fact that conflicts are never resolved without trustful give and take on both sides. Tonight, however, I wish not to speak with Hanoi and the National Liberation Front, but rather to my fellow Americans.

Since I am a preacher by calling, I suppose it is not surprising that I have seven major reasons for bringing Vietnam into the field of my moral vision. There is at the outset a very obvious and almost facile connection between the war in Vietnam and the struggle I and others have been waging in America. A few years ago there was a shining moment in that struggle. It seemed as if there was a real promise of hope for the poor, both black and white, through the poverty program. There were experiments, hopes, new beginnings. Then came the buildup in Vietnam, and I watched this program broken and eviscerated as if it were some idle political plaything of a society gone mad on war. And I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic, destructive suction tube. So I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such.

Perhaps a more tragic recognition of reality took place when it became clear to me that the war was doing far more than devastating the hopes of the poor at home. It was sending their sons and their brothers and their husbands to fight and to die in extraordinarily high proportions relative to the rest of the population. We were taking the black young men who had been crippled by our society and sending them eight thousand miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in southwest Georgia and East Harlem. So we have been repeatedly faced with the cruel irony of watching Negro and white boys on TV screens as they kill and die together for a nation that has been unable to seat them together in the same schools. So we watch them in brutal solidarity burning the huts of a poor village, but we realize that they would hardly live on the same block in Chicago. I could not be silent in the face of such cruel manipulation of the poor.

My third reason moves to an even deeper level of awareness, for it grows out of my experience in the ghettos of the North over the last three years, especially the last three summers. As I have walked among the desperate, rejected, and angry young men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they asked, and rightly so, "What about Vietnam?" They asked if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today: my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.

For those who ask the question, "Aren’t you a civil rights leader?" and thereby mean to exclude me from the movement for peace, I have this further answer. In 1957, when a group of us formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, we chose as our motto: "To save the soul of America." We were convinced that we could not limit our vision to certain rights for black people, but instead affirmed the conviction that America would never be free or saved from itself until the descendants of its slaves were loosed completely from the shackles they still wear. In a way we were agreeing with Langston Hughes, that black bard of Harlem, who had written earlier:

O, yes, I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath—
America will be!

Now, it should be incandescently clear that no one who has any concern for the integrity and life of America today can ignore the present war. If America’s soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read "Vietnam." It can never be saved so long as it destroys the deepest hopes of men the world over. So it is that those of us who are yet determined that "America will be" are led down the path of protest and dissent, working for the health of our land.

As if the weight of such a commitment to the life and health of America were not enough, another burden of responsibility was placed upon me in 1964. And I cannot forget that the Nobel Peace Prize was also a commission, a commission to work harder than I had ever worked before for the brotherhood of man. This is a calling that takes me beyond national allegiances.

But even if it were not present, I would yet have to live with the meaning of my commitment to the ministry of Jesus Christ. To me, the relationship of this ministry to the making of peace is so obvious that I sometimes marvel at those who ask me why I am speaking against the war. Could it be that they do not know that the Good News was meant for all men—for communist and capitalist, for their children and ours, for black and for white, for revolutionary and conservative? Have they forgotten that my ministry is in obedience to the one who loved His enemies so fully that He died for them? What then can I say to the Vietcong or to Castro or to Mao as a faithful minister of this one? Can I threaten them with death or must I not share with them my life?

Finally, as I try to explain for you and for myself the road that leads from Montgomery to this place, I would have offered all that was most valid if I simply said that I must be true to my conviction that I share with all men the calling to be a son of the living God. Beyond the calling of race or nation or creed is this vocation of sonship and brotherhood. Because I believe that the Father is deeply concerned especially for His suffering and helpless and outcast children, I come tonight to speak for them. This I believe to be the privilege and the burden of all of us who deem ourselves bound by allegiances and loyalties which are broader and deeper than nationalism and which go beyond our nation’s self-defined goals and positions. We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for the victims of our nation, for those it calls "enemy," for no document from human hands can make these humans any less our brothers.

And as I ponder the madness of Vietnam and search within myself for ways to understand and respond in compassion, my mind goes constantly to the people of that peninsula. I speak now not of the soldiers of each side, not of the ideologies of the Liberation Front, not of the junta in Saigon, but simply of the people who have been living under the curse of war for almost three continuous decades now. I think of them, too, because it is clear to me that there will be no meaningful solution there until some attempt is made to know them and hear their broken cries.

They must see Americans as strange liberators. The Vietnamese people proclaimed their own independence in 1954, in 1945 rather, after a combined French and Japanese occupation and before the communist revolution in China. They were led by Ho Chi Minh. Even though they quoted the American Declaration of Independence in their own document of freedom, we refused to recognize them. Instead, we decided to support France in its reconquest of her former colony. Our government felt then that the Vietnamese people were not ready for independence, and we again fell victim to the deadly Western arrogance that has poisoned the international atmosphere for so long. With that tragic decision we rejected a revolutionary government seeking self-determination and a government that had been established not by China—for whom the Vietnamese have no great love—but by clearly indigenous forces that included some communists. For the peasants this new government meant real land reform, one of the most important needs in their lives.

For nine years following 1945 we denied the people of Vietnam the right of independence. For nine years we vigorously supported the French in their abortive effort to recolonize Vietnam. Before the end of the war we were meeting eighty percent of the French war costs. Even before the French were defeated at Dien Bien Phu, they began to despair of their reckless action, but we did not. We encouraged them with our huge financial and military supplies to continue the war even after they had lost the will. Soon we would be paying almost the full costs of this tragic attempt at recolonization.

After the French were defeated, it looked as if independence and land reform would come again through the Geneva Agreement. But instead there came the United States, determined that Ho should not unify the temporarily divided nation, and the peasants watched again as we supported one of the most vicious modern dictators, our chosen man, Premier Diem. The peasants watched and cringed as Diem ruthlessly rooted out all opposition, supported their extortionist landlords, and refused even to discuss reunification with the North. The peasants watched as all of this was presided over by United States influence and then by increasing numbers of United States troops who came to help quell the insurgency that Diem’s methods had aroused. When Diem was overthrown they may have been happy, but the long line of military dictators seemed to offer no real change, especially in terms of their need for land and peace.

The only change came from America as we increased our troop commitments in support of governments which were singularly corrupt, inept, and without popular support. All the while the people read our leaflets and received the regular promises of peace and democracy and land reform. Now they languish under our bombs and consider us, not their fellow Vietnamese, the real enemy. They move sadly and apathetically as we herd them off the land of their fathers into concentration camps where minimal social needs are rarely met. They know they must move on or be destroyed by our bombs.

So they go, primarily women and children and the aged. They watch as we poison their water, as we kill a million acres of their crops. They must weep as the bulldozers roar through their areas preparing to destroy the precious trees. They wander into the hospitals with at least twenty casualties from American firepower for one Vietcong-inflicted injury. So far we may have killed a million of them, mostly children. They wander into the towns and see thousands of the children, homeless, without clothes, running in packs on the streets like animals. They see the children degraded by our soldiers as they beg for food. They see the children selling their sisters to our soldiers, soliciting for their mothers.

What do the peasants think as we ally ourselves with the landlords and as we refuse to put any action into our many words concerning land reform? What do they think as we test out our latest weapons on them, just as the Germans tested out new medicine and new tortures in the concentration camps of Europe? Where are the roots of the independent Vietnam we claim to be building? Is it among these voiceless ones?

We have destroyed their two most cherished institutions: the family and the village. We have destroyed their land and their crops. We have cooperated in the crushing of the nation’s only non-communist revolutionary political force, the unified Buddhist Church. We have supported the enemies of the peasants of Saigon. We have corrupted their women and children and killed their men.

Now there is little left to build on, save bitterness. Soon the only solid physical foundations remaining will be found at our military bases and in the concrete of the concentration camps we call "fortified hamlets." The peasants may well wonder if we plan to build our new Vietnam on such grounds as these. Could we blame them for such thoughts? We must speak for them and raise the questions they cannot raise. These, too, are our brothers.

Perhaps a more difficult but no less necessary task is to speak for those who have been designated as our enemies. What of the National Liberation Front, that strangely anonymous group we call "VC" or "communists"? What must they think of the United States of America when they realize that we permitted the repression and cruelty of Diem, which helped to bring them into being as a resistance group in the South? What do they think of our condoning the violence which led to their own taking up of arms? How can they believe in our integrity when now we speak of "aggression from the North" as if there were nothing more essential to the war? How can they trust us when now we charge them with violence after the murderous reign of Diem and charge them with violence while we pour every new weapon of death into their land? Surely we must understand their feelings, even if we do not condone their actions. Surely we must see that the men we supported pressed them to their violence. Surely we must see that our own computerized plans of destruction simply dwarf their greatest acts.

How do they judge us when our officials know that their membership is less than twenty-five percent communist, and yet insist on giving them the blanket name? What must they be thinking when they know that we are aware of their control of major sections of Vietnam, and yet we appear ready to allow national elections in which this highly organized political parallel government will not have a part? They ask how we can speak of free elections when the Saigon press is censored and controlled by the military junta. And they are surely right to wonder what kind of new government we plan to help form without them, the only party in real touch with the peasants. They question our political goals and they deny the reality of a peace settlement from which they will be excluded. Their questions are frighteningly relevant. Is our nation planning to build on political myth again, and then shore it up upon the power of a new violence?

Here is the true meaning and value of compassion and nonviolence, when it helps us to see the enemy’s point of view, to hear his questions, to know his assessment of ourselves. For from his view we may indeed see the basic weaknesses of our own condition, and if we are mature, we may learn and grow and profit from the wisdom of the brothers who are called the opposition.

So, too, with Hanoi. In the North, where our bombs now pummel the land, and our mines endanger the waterways, we are met by a deep but understandable mistrust. To speak for them is to explain this lack of confidence in Western words, and especially their distrust of American intentions now. In Hanoi are the men who led the nation to independence against the Japanese and the French, the men who sought membership in the French Commonwealth and were betrayed by the weakness of Paris and the willfulness of the colonial armies. It was they who led a second struggle against French domination at tremendous costs, and then were persuaded to give up the land they controlled between the thirteenth and seventeenth parallel as a temporary measure at Geneva. After 1954, they watched us conspire with Diem to prevent elections which could have surely brought Ho Chi Minh to power over a united Vietnam, and they realized they had been betrayed again. When we ask why they do not leap to negotiate, these things must be remembered.

Also it must be clear that the leaders of Hanoi considered the presence of American troops in support of the Diem regime to have been the initial military breach of the Geneva Agreement concerning foreign troops, and they remind us that they did not begin to send troops in large numbers and even supplies into the South until American forces had moved into the tens of thousands.

Hanoi remembers how our leaders refused to tell us the truth about the earlier North Vietnamese overtures for peace, how the president claimed that none existed when they had clearly been made. Ho Chi Minh has watched as America has spoken of peace and built up its forces, and now he has surely heard the increasing international rumors of American plans for an invasion of the North. He knows the bombing and shelling and mining we are doing are part of traditional pre-invasion strategy. Perhaps only his sense of humor and of irony can save him when he hears the most powerful nation of the world speaking of aggression as it drops thousands of bombs on a poor, weak nation more than eight hundred, or rather, eight thousand miles away from its shores.

At this point I should make it clear that while I have tried in these last few minutes to give a voice to the voiceless in Vietnam and to understand the arguments of those who are called "enemy," I am as deeply concerned about our own troops there as anything else. For it occurs to me that what we are submitting them to in Vietnam is not simply the brutalizing process that goes on in any war where armies face each other and seek to destroy. We are adding cynicism to the process of death, for they must know after a short period there that none of the things we claim to be fighting for are really involved. Before long they must know that their government has sent them into a struggle among Vietnamese, and the more sophisticated surely realize that we are on the side of the wealthy, and the secure, while we create a hell for the poor.

Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now. I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted. I speak for the poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home, and death and corruption in Vietnam. I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as one who loves America, to the leaders of our own nation: The great initiative in this war is ours; the initiative to stop it must be ours.

This is the message of the great Buddhist leaders of Vietnam. Recently one of them wrote these words, and I quote:

Each day the war goes on the hatred increases in the hearts of the Vietnamese and in the hearts of those of humanitarian instinct. The Americans are forcing even their friends into becoming their enemies. It is curious that the Americans, who calculate so carefully on the possibilities of military victory, do not realize that in the process they are incurring deep psychological and political defeat. The image of America will never again be the image of revolution, freedom, and democracy, but the image of violence and militarism.

If we continue, there will be no doubt in my mind and in the mind of the world that we have no honorable intentions in Vietnam. If we do not stop our war against the people of Vietnam immediately, the world will be left with no other alternative than to see this as some horrible, clumsy, and deadly game we have decided to play. The world now demands a maturity of America that we may not be able to achieve. It demands that we admit that we have been wrong from the beginning of our adventure in Vietnam, that we have been detrimental to the life of the Vietnamese people. The situation is one in which we must be ready to turn sharply from our present ways. In order to atone for our sins and errors in Vietnam, we should take the initiative in bringing a halt to this tragic war.

I would like to suggest five concrete things that our government should do immediately to begin the long and difficult process of extricating ourselves from this nightmarish conflict:

Number one: End all bombing in North and South Vietnam.

Number two: Declare a unilateral cease-fire in the hope that such action will create the atmosphere for negotiation.

Three: Take immediate steps to prevent other battlegrounds in Southeast Asia by curtailing our military buildup in Thailand and our interference in Laos.

Four: Realistically accept the fact that the National Liberation Front has substantial support in South Vietnam and must thereby play a role in any meaningful negotiations and any future Vietnam government.

Five: Set a date that we will remove all foreign troops from Vietnam in accordance with the 1954 Geneva Agreement.

[Sustained applause]

Part of our ongoing commitment might well express itself in an offer to grant asylum to any Vietnamese who fears for his life under a new regime which included the Liberation Front. Then we must make what reparations we can for the damage we have done. We must provide the medical aid that is badly needed, making it available in this country if necessary. [Applause] Meanwhile, we in the churches and synagogues have a continuing task while we urge our government to disengage itself from a disgraceful commitment. We must continue to raise our voices and our lives if our nation persists in its perverse ways in Vietnam. We must be prepared to match actions with words by seeking out every creative method of protest possible.

As we counsel young men concerning military service we must clarify for them our nation’s role in Vietnam and challenge them with the alternative of conscientious objection. [Sustained applause] I am pleased to say that this is a path now chosen by more than seventy students at my own alma mater, Morehouse College, and I recommend it to all who find the American course in Vietnam a dishonorable and unjust one.


Moreover, I would encourage all ministers of draft age to give up their ministerial exemptions and seek status as conscientious objectors. [Sustained applause] These are the times for real choices and not false ones. We are at the moment when our lives must be placed on the line if our nation is to survive its own folly. Every man of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits his convictions, but we must all protest.

Now there is something seductively tempting about stopping there and sending us all off on what in some circles has become a popular crusade against the war in Vietnam. I say we must enter that struggle, but I wish to go on now to say something even more disturbing.

The war in Vietnam is but a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit, and if we ignore this sobering reality, [Applause] and if we ignore this sobering reality, we will find ourselves organizing "clergy and laymen concerned" committees for the next generation. They will be concerned about Guatemala and Peru. They will be concerned about Thailand and Cambodia. They will be concerned about Mozambique and South Africa. We will be marching for these and a dozen other names and attending rallies without end unless there is a significant and profound change in American life and policy. [Sustained applause] So such thoughts take us beyond Vietnam, but not beyond our calling as sons of the living God.

In 1957, a sensitive American official overseas said that it seemed to him that our nation was on the wrong side of a world revolution. During the past ten years we have seen emerge a pattern of suppression which has now justified the presence of U.S. military advisors in Venezuela. This need to maintain social stability for our investment accounts for the counter-revolutionary action of American forces in Guatemala. It tells why American helicopters are being used against guerrillas in Cambodia and why American napalm and Green Beret forces have already been active against rebels in Peru.

It is with such activity in mind that the words of the late John F. Kennedy come back to haunt us. Five years ago he said, "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." [Sustained applause] Increasingly, by choice or by accident, this is the role our nation has taken: the role of those who make peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investments. I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin [applause], we must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. On the one hand we are called to play the Good Samaritan on life’s roadside, but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho Road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life’s highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.


A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa, and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say: "This is not just." It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of South America and say: "This is not just." The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just.

A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war: "This way of settling differences is not just." This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation’s homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into the veins of peoples normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice, and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

[Sustained applause]

America, the richest and most powerful nation in the world, can well lead the way in this revolution of values. There is nothing except a tragic death wish to prevent us from reordering our priorities, so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war. There is nothing to keep us from molding a recalcitrant status quo with bruised hands until we have fashioned it into a brotherhood.

This kind of positive revolution of values is our best defense against communism. [Applause] War is not the answer. Communism will never be defeated by the use of atomic bombs or nuclear weapons. Let us not join those who shout war and, through their misguided passions, urge the United States to relinquish its participation in the United Nations. These are days which demand wise restraint and calm reasonableness. We must not engage in a negative anti-communism, but rather in a positive thrust for democracy, [Applause] realizing that our greatest defense against communism is to take offensive action in behalf of justice. We must with positive action seek to remove those conditions of poverty, insecurity, and injustice which are the fertile soil in which the seed of communism grows and develops.

These are revolutionary times. All over the globe men are revolting against old systems of exploitation and oppression, and out of the wounds of a frail world new systems of justice and equality are being born. The shirtless and barefoot people of the land are rising up as never before. The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light. We in the West must support these revolutions.

It is a sad fact that because of comfort, complacency, a morbid fear of communism, and our proneness to adjust to injustice, the Western nations that initiated so much of the revolutionary spirit of the modern world have now become the arch anti-revolutionaries. This has driven many to feel that only Marxism has a revolutionary spirit. Therefore, communism is a judgement against our failure to make democracy real and follow through on the revolutions that we initiated. Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism. With this powerful commitment we shall boldly challenge the status quo and unjust mores, and thereby speed the day when "every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low;
[Audience:] (Yes) the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain."

A genuine revolution of values means in the final analysis that our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies.

This call for a worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one’s tribe, race, class and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing and unconditional love for all mankind. This oft misunderstood, this oft misinterpreted concept, so readily dismissed by the Nietzsches of the world as a weak and cowardly force, has now become an absolute necessity for the survival of man. When I speak of love I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response. I’m not speaking of that force which is just emotional bosh. I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality. This Hindu-Moslem-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist belief about ultimate reality is beautifully summed up in the first epistle of Saint John: "Let us love one another, (Yes) for love is God. (Yes) And every one that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love." "If we love one another, God dwelleth in us and his love is perfected in us." Let us hope that this spirit will become the order of the day.

We can no longer afford to worship the god of hate or bow before the altar of retaliation. The oceans of history are made turbulent by the ever-rising tides of hate. History is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals that pursued this self-defeating path of hate. As Arnold Toynbee says: "Love is the ultimate force that makes for the saving choice of life and good against the damning choice of death and evil. Therefore the first hope in our inventory must be the hope that love is going to have the last word."

We are now faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked, and dejected with a lost opportunity. The tide in the affairs of men does not remain at flood—it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is adamant to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words, "Too late." There is an invisible book of life that faithfully records our vigilance or our neglect. Omar Khayyam is right: "The moving finger writes, and having writ moves on."

We still have a choice today: nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation. We must move past indecision to action. We must find new ways to speak for peace in Vietnam and justice throughout the developing world, a world that borders on our doors. If we do not act, we shall surely be dragged down the long, dark, and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.

Now let us begin.

Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter, but beautiful, struggle for a new world. This is the calling of the sons of God, and our brothers wait eagerly for our response. Shall we say the odds are too great? Shall we tell them the struggle is too hard? Will our message be that the forces of American life militate against their arrival as full men, and we send our deepest regrets? Or will there be another message—of longing, of hope, of solidarity with their yearnings, of commitment to their cause, whatever the cost? The choice is ours, and though we might prefer it otherwise, we must choose in this crucial moment of human history.

As that noble bard of yesterday, James Russell Lowell, eloquently stated:

"Once to every man and nation comes a moment to decide,
In the strife of Truth and Falsehood, for the good or evil side;
Some great cause, God’s new Messiah offering each the bloom or blight,
And the choice goes by forever ’twixt that darkness and that light.
Though the cause of evil prosper, yet ’tis truth alone is strong
Though her portions be the scaffold, and upon the throne be wrong
Yet that scaffold sways the future, and behind the dim unknown
Standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above his own."

And if we will only make the right choice, we will be able to transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of peace. If we will make the right choice, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our world into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. If we will but make the right choice, we will be able to speed up the day, all over America and all over the world, when justice will roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.

[Sustained applause].

15 January 2011

"Free Hawaii" Activities Set for Jan. 16, 17 and 19

KU'E ACTIONS for Jan. 16, 17 and 19

From: The Committee of Hawaiian Nationals
(Pilipo Souza, Pomai Kinney, Kahumoku FloresŠ)

Contact: Pilipo Souza at 358-6428

Aloha kakou,

The Committee of Hawaiian Nationals invites you to the following Ku'e (oppose, object, resist, protest) Actions planned for next week. These public demonstrations serve as a reminder that events of 118 years ago deprived us of our country, and we are here to say "give it back," "FREE HAWAII". You are most welcome to join us. The more, the better!

January 16, 2011 - Sovereign Sunday - KU'E on the 118th anniversary of the U.S. Invasion. This protest action is a reminder that on this day in 1893 fully armed United States Marines landed in Honolulu, an act of foreign aggression in blatant violation of Hawaii's sovereignty. It is a call to make pono the hewa.

ACTION: HOLDING BANNERS AND SIGNS - This ku'e action is to demand the return of our country - FREE HAWAII.

9:00 AM Meet at Beretania Street fronting Fake State Capitol to hold FREE HAWAII, HAWAIIAN INDEPENDENCE banners and signs

9:45 AM Assemble at Queen Liliu'okalani statue to honor her, then proceed to Iolani Palace grounds for Š

10:00 AM People Talk (see attached flyer)

January 17, 2011 - Monday - Dr. Martin Luther King Day Events. On January 17, 1893, a faction of merchants and sugar barons, backed by the invasion force of US Marines that landed the day before, forced Queen Lili'uokalani to yield her ruling power to the U.S. and seized control of the Hawaiian Kingdom government. Coincidentally, the annual Martin Luther King Day parade and rally is being held on January 17 this year and The Committee of Hawaiian Nationals will participate in this event to draw attention to our efforts to FREE HAWAII.



6:30 - 7:30 AM Set-up at Queen Kapiolani Park / make pono; Check with Pomai Kinney / Display must be ready by 9:00 AM. Please bring your own chair to sit. We will have a few.


8:00 AM Marchers to meet at Magic Island, Ala Moana Park / Check with Pilipo / Park your vehicles at Magic Island, Set up banners/signs

Wear good walking shoes/ FREE HAWAII T shirts.

9:00 AM Parade begins at Ala Moana Park

Parade route Ala Moana Blvd. to Kalakaua Ave. to Queen Kapiolani Park.

Parade should end by 11:00 AM

Pilipo to shuttle marchers back to Magic Island to pick-up their vehicles.

10:30 AM Help to man "FREE HAWAII" booth at Kapiolani Park.

3:00 PM Pau. Break down. Pule Kakou / Move out!

January 19, 2011 - Wednesday - Ku'e at opening of the Fake-State Legislature

ACTION: HOLDING BANNERS AND SIGNS AT THE FAKE-STATE CAPITOL - This ku'e action on the opening day of the fake state legislative session is to make state officials aware that Hawaiian Nationals demand the return of our country - FREE HAWAII.

8:00 AM Meet at Punchbowl Street side walkway to the Queen / make pono
Set up banners/ signs (FREE HAWAII, FAKE STATE, etc.)

8:30 AM Begin Walk to Queen Liliu'okalani statue, pause. Walk through the state capitol rotunda to Beretania street. Back and forth.

9:00 AM Deliver FREE HAWAII message to Governor and legislators.

10:00 AM Opening ceremonies in both chambers of the State Legislature

Mahalo piha,
Pilipo Souza