Stop Threats of War and Militarization: Women from Guam, US, and Asia-Pacific Region Call for Peace and Diplomacy

We call on President Trump and Kim Jong-Un to ratchet down their reckless and dangerous rhetoric that threatens all of humanity. We urge you to sit down and talk, for all our families, our children, and the future of our planet.  We need dialogue, understanding and nonviolent cooperation. The bombast and brinkmanship must stop. Diplomacy and reason must prevail.

We understand the North Korean people’s fear of a U.S. pre-emptive strike. There is still no Peace Treaty ending the Korean War, when the United States carpet-bombed 80 percent of North Korean cities. From 1950-53, four million people were killed; one in four North Koreans. U.S. and South Korean forces continue highly provocative and threatening war games — the world’s largest — simulating surgical strikes on North Korea, “decapitation” and regime change.

Military masculinity — civilian and uniformed — threatens world peace and security. North Korea must stop testing missiles and nuclear weapons, and the United States must stop its military exercises with South Korea. The U.N. Security Council must also lift draconian sanctions imposed on North Korea that harm ordinary people on a daily basis. We call on both North Korea and the United States to sign UN Resolution L.41 that bans nuclear weapons worldwide.  

The indigenous people of Guåhan (Guam), or native Chamorus, must not be used in the standoff between the United States and North Korea.

Guåhan is situated in the Mariana Islands of Micronesia in the northwest Pacific. The island and her people suffered great atrocities in World War II during Japan’s invasion and occupation. Chamorus have been caught in the geo-political crossfire as their lands have been stolen and then militarized by imperialist governments. Following the Spanish-American War in 1898, Guåhan became an unincorporated U.S. territory acquired through the Treaty of Paris.       

The U.S. military occupies nearly one-third of Guåhan, with B-1 and B-2 bombers, nuclear powered submarines, a THAAD missile defense system, an arsenal of bombs and bombing ranges, landing strips, and military fueling stations. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) now aims to acquire an additional 1,000 acres of sacred cultural lands in the ancient village of Litekyan for a live firing range complex. Two-thirds of the neighboring island of Tinian is leased by the DOD for training grounds, and the DOD plans to expand these firing ranges by acquiring the pristine island of Pagan. They also want to expand the use of ocean explosives and active sonar in the Marianas Islands Training and Testing range–nearly 1 million square nautical miles of sea and sky, which is larger than Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, Montana and New Mexico combined. Militarization has already been toxic; its expansion will further contaminate our lands and seas which we all depend upon for our survival.  

Today, Guåhan remains a modern-day colony. Residents cannot vote for the U.S. President, and their Member of Congress has limited voting rights (only at the committee level of decision-making). Guåhan receives about 1/7th of funding afforded U.S. states, and her people are ineligible for U.S. social programs, such as unemployment and Social Security Disability Insurance. Since 1946, Guåhan has been on the United Nations’ list of non self- governing territories. In 1988, Guåhan residents sought to change its political status through the Guam Commonwealth Act into Congress. For nearly 20 years, the bill sat in committees before Congress voted to deny the Guåhan people self-government. Still, the Guåhan people persist in their struggle for self-determination, political decolonization and independence.   

This hyper-militarization of Guåhan and the Korean peninsula is part of the U.S. plan to strengthen its military posture in the Asia-Pacific region in its efforts to “contain” China. But militarism is no solution to this situation, which has arisen out of imperialism, colonial violence, Cold War rivalries, and U.S. military hegemony. No one is left unharmed. Millions of Korean families remain separated, and democracies repressed on both sides of the DMZ in the name of national security. Across the region families have been displaced and broken apart by militarism. Neighboring countries like Okinawa, the Philippines, and Hawaiʻi have become unwilling accomplices or targets for more military destruction and violence.

As women we deplore that fact that billions of government dollars are spent in preparing for war and destruction, rather than devoted to genuine security: nourishing food, clean air and water, housing, access to healthcare and medicine, education, and democratic institutions.

CALL TO ACTION

We must affirm the histories and identities of Korea and Guåhan that seek freedom from this perpetual state of war and militarization.  

We must build dialogue with those who survived wars and military violence to understand what is at stake if leaders decide to go to war again.

We must learn how to communicate nonviolently and organize across militarized communities to dispel the propaganda that seeks to use our bodies and lands against one another.

We must restore our connection to land as sacred, and live our lives as prayers, to protect lands and people from further military violence. Protect Litekyan, Pagan, Tinian, the ocean, and skies from live-fire training.

We must oppose all justifications to weaponize the Asian and Pacific region, including halting the construction of the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Live-Fire Training Range Complex (LFTRC) and removing the U.S. THAAD Missile Defense System from South Korea.  

Freeze the US-ROK military exercises in exchange for freezing North Korea’s nuclear and missile program. End the Korean War with a Peace Treaty, de-militarize the DMZ, and help heal and reunify the Korean people and peninsula.

International Women’s Network Against Militarism: http://iwnam.org
Women Cross DMZ: https://www:womencrossdmz.org
Women’s Voices, Women Speak: http://wvws808.blogspot.com  

2 Comments

Bobby Montemayor

I Agree and support to protect lands and people from further military violence

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Barbara Walker

The U.S. Government’s viewing other countries in stereotyped terms avoids reality and facilitates obtaining U.S. citizens approval for U.S. Government military intervention — and the accompanying death and destruction. Diplomacy is required if the U.S. does, in fact, wish to seek compromise on and resolution of serious conflicts. Of course, other governments are aware of, and reserve right to act in consideration of, U.S. past action taken in violation of agreements (e.g., Libya).

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