It is another Liberation Day. Most people will be spending their time BBQing, drinking, watching parades, gambling or waving flags. I don’t doubt that those things can be fun, but I profoundly wish that more people would spend their Liberation Days reflecting on the holiday itself. Reflecting not meaning that we blindly wave flags and watch parades, but rather reflecting in the sense of asking ourselves basic questions about that day and how the way we remember it affect how we see ourselves, our relationship to the US and our place in the world today. Celebrating “Liberation Day” in Guam, a place that still remains a colony of the United States is strange to say the least.
In 1985, the Chamorro rights group OPI-R or Organization of People for Indigenous Rights posted an ad in the newspaper on Liberation Day in which they asked a simple question, “Kao Magahet na Manlibre Hit?” Are we truly free? I’ve included the text from that ad below. I find it particularly cool because it was written in Chamorro.
“Kao Magåhet na Manlibre Hit?”
I magåhet na linibre siempre u fåtto giya Hita komo gaige i destinu-ta gi kannai-ta.
Desde ki ma tutuhun i kinalamten gubetno giya Guahan, tåya’ na i propiu taotao tano’-ñiha.
Este na direcho ma rekonisa gi palu siha na isla gi oriyå-ta, lao yanggen tumachu put i direcho-ña komo Chamorro, meggai biahi di ma despresia.
In hengge na gaige i direcho put i destinun Guahan gi kannai ayu siha i hagas ha’ manmanchomma’ gi direchon pulitikat guini.
Este ki ma rekonisa yan ma praktika i direchon Chamorro put estao pulitikat, tåya’ kabåles linibre.