Report Back on Okinawa IWNAM Gathering at Lā Hoʻi Hoʻi Ea 2017

by El-Rae C

This June 22-26, 2017, seven women from Hawaiʻi went to Okinawa for the International Women’s Network Against Militarism gathering. There, we reported on the militarization of Pōhakuloa, the Depleted Uranium in the bullets and bombs littered in the soil, being kicked up by the blasts and winds, affecting the surrounding communities.  We talked about the danger that the Navy fuel tanks in Red Hill poses to Oahu’s drinking water along the south shore.  We talked about the Hawaiian movement that stopped the bombing of Kaho’olawe, and are restoring the land and people’s relationships to it.  
We reported the U.S. has outright stolen Hawaiian Kingdom lands and then built military infrastructure on top of it. We corrected how the U.S. mis-educates people about U.S. annexation and Statehood, and interrupt how Hawai’i is seen as America. We had to because so many people from around the world, settle here looking for work, thinking they can just assimilate into American ideas of success and forget where they came from and where they are at.
Our delegation to Okinawa wanted to show how Hawai’i’s movement for demilitarization needs to bridge indigenous people and settlers, it needs to be an inter-ethnic movement, to heal the way that empire and militarization destroys our ancestral lands and tries to pit us against each other.

The Indo-Asia-Pacific Rebalance Policy
aka the Pacific Pivot
grows in name because it is expanding U.S. military presence in the Pacific region by 2025, to include South Asia and the Indian Ocean.  
Each Nation-state should be more equipped to protect its “mutual security” with the U.S.  
this means: continue to “fear” Others labeled as “terrorists.”
China and North Korea are propped up as “threats”

Korean activists on the ground teach
the North Korean threat is propaganda
to keep the Status of Forces Agreement and US Military presence in South Korea
to tell the lie that North Korea is enemy.
remember the armistice between North and South
Reunify the peninsula.

Japanese peace activist fight their own Status of Forces Agreement that allows U.S. bases there
after World War II, they could not have a military, because of its imperial past.
But now, Japan concentrates those U.S. bases in Okinawa, where the Battle took place
where environment and lives of the Okinawans are still sacrificed.  
Sympathy Budget and Self-Defense Force, conservative Japan wants to support
the US military agenda

Filipina activists fight the Visiting Forces Agreement, that allows the U.S. to conduct jungle warfare training with the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Muslim, Indigenous and displaced farmers resist the theft of their lands for corporate extraction and military aggression
they are labeled “terrorists” and “New People’s Army,”
The VFA has evolved into the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement to expand U.S.-Philippine military exercises and infrastructures
Strong man Duterte stands by U.S. military presence to “discipline” Marawi and Martial Law in Mindanao.
The U.S. keeps neocolonial Philippines as lil Brown Brother to watch China and pimp the South China Sea.

Turtle Island folks speak against collaboration between the domestic police and the U.S. military
Operation Urban Shield.
excessive use of force
lead to deaths of unarmed Black and Brown people.
Black Lives Matter!
The militarization of the Dakota Access Pipeline Project is aggressive against water protectors.
Water is life!

Chamorros fight the Mariana Islands Range Complex
Imprisoning their Islands and Seas as war training zones
Liteksan, home of ancient Chamorros and mother species of endangered tree
slated for destruction by Live Fire Training.  
The MIRC serves as a Western Pacific corridor
to connect with Hawaii’s military sites of the North/Central Pacific.   

Puerto Ricans fight to self-determine their political status.  
A plebiscite asked these questions:
Do you want to be 1) Independent/Free Association, 2) Keep Current Territorial Status or 3) Join U.S.?
70% boycotted the colonial election.  
27% of registered voters went to the polls and voted for Statehood.

These movements root their problems in the Indo-Asia-Pacific Rebalance Policy
connecting these places to weaponize our oceans and lands.
It's being strategized and implemented here in Hawai’i at Camp Smith, Pacific Command and Security Research Institutes in Waikiki and the University of Hawaiʻi.
We need to flip the “mutual militarized security” script to “mutual genuine security”.

  • We can make connections between indigenous Hawaiian and working people from militarized countries to stand together against militarism, corporate extraction and destruction of the natural environment
  • We can create decolonization and demilitarization education for all because we each need ancestral help to do long haul work of building societies that don’t depend on bases and war.

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