More hate-fests planned

Photos by Itos Feliciano ©2010

May 31, 2010

CNMI Department of Indigenous Affairs Executive Director, Ike Demapan, told the Marianas Variety that more protest rallies by the indigenous people are being planned. The Department of Indigenous Affairs and the Office of Carolinian Affairs planned the rally held Saturday.

Demapan also said that Governor Fitial will push for a November referendum. Fitial wants a referendum to ask the question, "Do you support the DOI Report? Yes or No?" I am not sure the Federal Government would care whether it was "supported" or not. per PL 110-229 the DOI report was not the CNMI's to write.

The Fitial Administration is attempting to convince the federal government to continue the disenfranchised status of the foreign workers under the federal program.

Speaker Felicidad Ogomuro thinks that "the indigenous people of the Northern Marianas must remain in control of their destiny and not become a minority in their own land.”

Too late. The CNMI leaders sealed that fate decades ago with the foreign contract worker program that brought in tens of thousand of foreign workers. The governor brags that he wrote that law and now complains that the foreign contract workers may be granted status.

The Marianas Variety quoted Demapan as making these statements:
“What I would prefer is the status quo. The guest workers come in under an employment contract. It states that at the end of the contract period, you have to go back [to your country]. Or if your employer values your performance, then you get your contract renewed,” he said.

“I have no animosity toward guest workers. I have a lot of Filipino friends. Even in the Philippines, I have a lot of friends. I play golf with a lot of businessmen there, even with judges and senators. But what I would like to see here is the sentiment of the indigenous people through a referendum,” he added.

The issue is all about respect, he said.

“We welcome the guest workers but a lot of them don’t respect the indigenous people. Why can’t the guest workers address their concerns with our local legislators and the administration? Why do they have to go directly to the U.S. Congress? We’re not trying to kick them out, but if they don’t like us then they have the prerogative to go back to their countries,” he said.

He compared the current situation to the relationship between the owner of the house and a visitor.

“If you come to my house, that doesn’t mean you can dictate which room you want to sleep in and how many days you can stay. It’s just a matter of respect. It’s the name of the game. I don’t think we would go this far calling for a unity rally if we were given respect,” he said.
Respect? Why do the foreign workers go directly to the U..S. Congress? Maybe it is because the CNMI government has treated them so poorly. Or maybe because the CNMI governor shouted, "Go home!" to them. Or maybe because they are collectively owed over $6.1 million in back wages and other money that their unscrupulous employers stole from them and the CNMI government has done nothing to help them collect those judgments. Or maybe because the CNMI leaders want to keep them as a disenfranchised underclass in a two-tiered system chained to the CNMI. Or maybe it is because of legislative debates and resolutions that propose perpetually denying them of political and social rights. Or maybe it's because the CNMI government does not understand that they no longer have control over the foreign work force.

And talk about twisting things around: "We’re not trying to kick them out, but if they don’t like us then they have the prerogative to go back to their countries." It was not the foreign workers who ever said that they did not like the locals. Many racist remarks have been made against the foreign contract workers. Here just a few from the Marianas Variety comments:
no way jose. saying yes will provide precedent for others but americans taxpayer already fed up with immigrants…
Protect the indigenous Chamorros and Carolinians of the CNMI. If these foreigners feel otherwise, they can go back to the 3rd world countries they came from.
To Runningman, the purpose of the rally is to show solidarity among the locals. We certainly don't want any outsider who came here for the purpose of working to run our islands.
How disrespectful of you aliens to say that you take care of our elders, cook our food, build our homes, etc. when the fact is that you are paid to do it. It is understandable if you did all these for free under slavery.
You all came here to work because you cannot make a living at the place you came from. Your are a LUCKY bunch that made it here while most of your compatriots are languishing in dire straits back home.

It is OUR RIGHT to do what we want in our homeland, so shut up or leave!

Many of these poor, (sob,sob,sob) abused, (sob,sob,sob) enslaved, (sob,sob,sob) GFW's have been pumping out babies here on island for years. How many of these male children, U.S. Citizens, that are now in their late teens and early twenties have registered with the Selective Service System as required by law? They will fight to keep mom and dad here but will they fight for the U.S. if needed?

Yeah, to save more of taxpayer's money deport them thru cargo ships way cheaper.
Mr. Demapan should think about this -- If you have someone "come to your house" do you allow them to be robbed, cheated, or abused and do nothing to the criminal in your house who is responsible? When the CNMI government allowed the foreign contract workers to be renewed over and over, year after year they became community members, not just "guests."

If the issue is about respect, then why is this office disrespecting the foreign contract workers and the United States government at their rallies? Is this government office that Demapan leads just another hate group?

The Southern Law Poverty Center identifies hate groups across the 50 states. If they counted hate groups in all the territories there would most likely be more than the 932 that they identified in 2009. The SLPC states on their website:
All hate groups have beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.

This list was compiled using hate group publications and websites, citizen and law enforcement reports, field sources and news reports.

Hate group activities can include criminal acts, marches, rallies, speeches, meetings, leafleting or publishing. Websites appearing to be merely the work of a single individual, rather than the publication of a group, are not included in this list. Listing here does not imply a group advocates or engages in violence or other criminal activity.
The SLPC explanation of the increase and description of hate groups sounds similar to what is happening now with the indigenous movement in the CNMI with politicians and government agencies leading the charge (emphasis added):
Since 2000, the number of hate groups has increased by 54 percent. This surge has been fueled by fears of Latino immigration and, more recently, by the election of the country’s first African-American president and the economic crisis...

This growth in extremism has been aided by mainstream media figures and politicians who have used their platforms to legitimize false propaganda about immigrants and other minorities and spread the kind of paranoid conspiracy theories on which militia groups thrive.
The SLPC 's publication, Intelligence Report, detailed the extremism of nativist groups againt immigrants. Read more on hate groups.

Here are some more photos of the rally from photographer Itos Feliciano (Thanks Itos!)


the teacher said...

Children signing petitions is disgusting and that is true for both sides and all petitions.

The Saipan Blogger said...

Wow, Beningo Sablan looks really, really old.

To add to your or maybes:

Or maybe appealing to Congress is as American as standing up against injustice.

Anonymous said...

How shameful to ask to be respected. Respect is some thing that need not to be asked but to be earned as a result of action.

Anonymous said...

i know one guy there, gonzalo pangelinan, married to a filipina, i know they're not divorced. wondering why he's there.

Anonymous said...

Well looking at the groups that showed, not one looks underfed, they all look like the beach group, Bud and barbecue. I wonder what they would do if they did not have their house worker, farmers and maint. workers.

Anonymous said...

Hate Group? That might be a bit strong. There may be some people out there that don't like (hate,yes) the idea of workers getting status. From what I see these protests are not highly attended. It's not like you have thousands and thousands of locals protesting. The actual Government is doing what Governments do...trying to hold on to their power. If a dog bites you when you try to take away his food or pin him in a corner it might not be that he is a bad dog, just a scared one that is going to protect itself. People aren't that much different. They want what they want just as much as the contract workers want what they want. You can push your point and they will push theirs. Although the locals will have some say in the final decision, as the turnout for these rallies shows not all locals feel the way these "frightened dogs" do.

Wendy said...

Anonymous 5:05:

Are they like frightened dogs or like attack dogs or maybe sly foxes? They were the ones who created the system and they liked it just fine when they were pulling the strings and keeping the disenfranchised workers under their thumbs. When the federal system kicked in, then they cry foul and try to rewrite history. If they feel as though they are in a corner, it is not because they were backed into it, but because they walked into it.

I think if these people and the TTT were on the mainland, the SLPC would label them a hate group for their radical, anti-American speech and for their agenda, which to to deny political and social rights to the majority of the adult population in the CNMI. Actually, I am going to contact the SLPC about PL 17-1 and about this movement to see what they say. The SLPC defends people through legal channels and educational campaigns.

Hi Ron (Teacher): You said, "Children signing petitions is disgusting." I remember when Nani was in elementary school, she came home with a petition that she made to save the rain forest in the Amazon. She had learned about the deforestation and wanted to do something about it. She got hundreds of children at her school to sign it then her teacher sent it to the NWF. I think children initiating and signing petitions is fine as long as they know what they are signing.

In 2007 we had a petition drive and meeting at Kilili Beach concerning status. The U.S. citizen children asked if they could have their own petition to sign for their parents. I thought then and I think now that that was amazing. I still have a copy of the written statement and signature pages signed by the children who were appealing for their parents to stay with them on Saipan. It was the child who asked who solicited signatures. Petitions are a form of democratic expression.

Anonymous said...

So did the Indigenous Affairs pay for these banners? Anyone?

Anonymous said...

Could someone please identify the people in these photos? Or at least the speakers? Do they own businesses in the CNMI? Do they employ alien workers?

Anonymous said...

Noni 2:14 There are lots of guys at this rally who are married to Filipinas. The governor and Kilili to name a couple. Seems like they appreciate the foreigners in some ways, but don't want them to have rights. Pity these women who married these guys and imagine how they must be disrespected and treated at home. They sit silent while their husbands refuse to support rights for their fellow countrymen and countrywomen. Is it because they only care about themself or because they are afraid to speak up? hmmm...

Anonymous said...

Third world country then! Fine! We accept that because we know we are very poor people. But we are proud enough to say that we know how to survive by our own sweat and blood. We work hard for the money. We do not stay idle and wait for foodstamps to fill our needs. At least we do our best to please and satisfy our employers. What if all aliens leave your house to follow your wish? What happens when your grants are cut by the U.S.? Can you still have the pride to call us people from the third world? Whatever names you call us, you are still welcome to our third world country when you need medical service. You said, we are not respectful inside your house.Then why do you molest us and rob us of our rights to be human like you? Why do you hate us so much? Can anyone explain what JUSTICE in this place really means?

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:11 PM,
No their wives are not disrespected and maltreated at their house, the husband are, they are just pretending to be tough. This is the only place they can talk and talk without being interfered! Do you think their wives are idiot? they are and let's see who's going to lost wife.

Anonymous said...

Wendy, I noticed that you said the locals are trying to "rewrite" history and that they "walked into" the problem. The latter I can agree with, although I don't think they expected this result. Every contract worker that is here now came on their own free will and accepted the conditions of their employment. I don't think the government expected this situation to happen, but it did, and yes, you can't go back. I'm just saying it was not their goal to have this happen. Car maintanance is a lot like that. You ignore the lights going off until the car stops and then you wonder what happened. Should have paid more attention. You didn't, so now your stuck with the results.
When will the USA act on the contract workers requests? My view is two fold:
1) The minimum wage is going up. When it goes up enough that the island becomes about as attractive place to work as the USA then two things will happen a) Stateside workers might be more inclined to move here to work b) contract workers might be more inclined to stay if granted citizenship.
2) Unless the Obama administation does something for the overall immigration issues in the US before the mid-term elections then it could be a much longer wait.
The CNMI situation is just to small to invest political capital unless this was going be a test case.
Forget platitudes about how "good and just" the USA is. These days it's all about politics and who can keep power. If the CNMI can help them fine, if they can't, then the workers are just going to have to "go with the flow" of the general immigation policies.

Anonymous said...

Seeing John Joiner attending with his very sweet Japanese wife is really pathetic. Shame on you, John!

Anonymous said...

and they say locals are starving...

Anonymous said...

Noni 9:20, Just remember that the NMI, in most conversations by outsiders, has long been referred to as "less than a third world country". Look at the elected and "connected" it tells the story. Most all of third world countries have educated leaders. (whether they are good or bad)

Anonymous said...

Noni 9:20, Just remember that the NMI, in most conversations by outsiders, has long been referred to as "less than a third world country". Look at the elected and "connected" it tells the story. Most all of third world countries have educated leaders. (whether they are good or bad)

Anonymous said...


Hate Fest??! said...

Unity Marchers: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Anonymous said...

Photos don't look like a "Hate-Fest" to me.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, photos don't look like a Hate Fest. Photos make it look more like a Geriatrics Conventions. Average age of these participants is 55.