Marc Lynch, the director of the Institute for Middle East Studies at George Washington University, addressed an open letter to Mr. [John] Legend on the subject, urging him to “apply your strong political convictions at home to a very similar set of problems abroad, and reconsider this performance, or speak out about what you see. . . .
Mr. Lynch argued in his letter: “Bahraini lives have been taken by the police with impunity as well, and Bahraini lives do matter. I hope that you will think deeply about the implications of performing in a country like today’s Bahrain, where the violence of an unaccountable police against peaceful protesters mirrors everything against which you have spoken out at home. If you do decide to perform, perhaps you could speak out about the situation there as you have so gracefully done here in America.”
“John Legend Rejects Calls to Cancel Bahrain Show Over Rights Abuses,” New York Times
According to the Human Rights Watch:
“Bahrain’s human rights record regressed further in key areas in 2013 and the government made little real progress regarding reforms it claimed to pursue. Security forces continued to arrest scores of individuals arbitrarily in towns where anti-government protests regularly take place. High-profile critics of the government remain in jail on charges that relate solely to exercising their rights to freedom of expression and assembly. The judicial system, headed by ruling family members, has yet to hold any senior official responsible for serious human rights violations that have occurred since 2011, including torture-related deaths in detention.”
When I read news reports like this, it’s difficult to miss the parallels with Guåhan.
Very often, the same people who support human rights for one sector of people will not support it for others, silently, passively, by omission — or actively.
Often, those who claim to support democracy globally will support colonialism in Guåhan, regardless of the inherent illogic.
Chamorro lives — Chamorro indigeneity in its several forms — Chamorro agency, self-determination, sovereignty — all of that matters in a very real, material sense.
Munga maleffa’ i taotao Chamoru fan. Munga maleffa i sakkan manamko’ siha.