Yasukatsu Matsushima

Author:Yasukatsu Matsushima


Yasukatsu Matsushima








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It is interesting how the arguments against a place such as Guam being decolonized
are built upon a quiet and unspeakable assumption that huge swaths of the world
would be better off colonized and that it was a mistake for them to be decolonized.

When I say unspeakable it is something which so many people feel (in both the former
colonized and colonizing world), but thankfully has come to the point where it
cannot really be spoken of since the arc of the moral universe has been bent to the
point where it can be universally accepted as being wrong.

The world is still gray
on whether or not colonialism was right, since even those who have suffered feel
like their identities or their existence is impossible without the violent
disruptions of colonialism, but all can agree that it should not exist anymore.

A contemporary colony such as Guam, while being in the periphery of the current world
order, nevertheless feels the full weight of the center of this imperialist

I find it interesting that when the topic of decolonization is proposed
or discussed in Guam, even amongst so-called learned and intelligent people, it is
still nearly difficult for a learned or intelligent conversation to take place.

weight of that unspoken belief that the world was better when it was colonized and
that when people were under the heavy or imperceptible thumb of another things were
more prosperous and more stable it inundates life in Guam even if people don't know
it or feel it.

The spectre of third world chaos and of not having access to the
dreams the colonizer has long dangled before the widening eyes of those it has
colonized feel more strongly than ever.

When people refuse to talk about decolonization or demonize it, they feel this
pressure and therefore make their arguments (or lack thereof) as if they are doing
the public good.

Decolonization is a dangerous proposition which can only lead to
Guam no longer being a Third World colony of a First World country, but simply a
Third World country.

The subordination and the rank dependency is a necessarily evil
in order to keep Guam from joining the league of disastrous economies and tragic
societies that is the formerly colonized and eternally developing world.

But as I
said earlier, even if many people believe this, you cannot really say it out loud.
It is a thinking based on racism, not reality. It doesn't matter what pathetic
little tokens you can point to which colonization brought to this society or that.

Colonies were hardly as rich, as secure or as nice as people remember them to be, on
both ends of the spectrum. They were and are always in some way sites of racism,
imperialism and exploitation.

In the case of Guam's colonization, if the United States came to Guam in 1898 and
set forth a proposal to the Chamorro people that they were going to colonize their
island, deprive them of any rights for 50 years, attempt to dismantle their language
and culture and then later transform their island into what they hope to eternally
be their tip of the spear in the Pacific, it is safe to say that very few Chamorros,
if they were given the choice, would have taken the offer.

This is why you can
rarely, openly argue in favor of colonialism, even if so much of the rhetoric about
it as a system is that it is ultimately good for the people who are oppressed by it.
It is, on its surface so commonsensically wrong, and so that is why it becomes so
difficult to even find a way to nicely articulate it, which doesn't sound like you
are saying that non-white people should forever be shackled to white countries in
order to civilize and take care of them.

Guam suffers from the fact that you can
make that argument proactive, presumptively, and can argue in favor of colonization,
without mentioning it, but by only invoking the specter of savage and hopeless
decolonization in order to prop it up.

Even if you love the United States and want Guam's relationship with it to be
permanent you still cannot deny that Guam is a colony, and in the long run it does
Guam no good to think otherwise.

Those who deny the clearly obvious nature of Guam's
colonial status are doing the dirty work of those who would want to argue that the
world was better off when the majority of it was colonies run by colonizers. They
may not make this argument clearly, but they draw from the same well of racial


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