Pacific Daily News

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Dec. 26, 2010) - The suffering the Chamorro people endured during World War II under a vicious and brutal occupation by Japanese forces continue to be ignored and disregarded by the U.S. Senate.

For decades, Guam's delegates have sought to push through war reparations for the people who were made to suffer beatings, rape, forced marches and slave labor, interment in concentration camps, beheadings and other killing.

The treaty that the United States signed with Japan absolved the invaders of paying war reparations to the people they brutalized for years during the war. That left the Chamorros of Guam with no alternative but to seek recognition and payment for their trials and tribulations from their own country, the United States of America.

The U.S. government eventually admitted the internment of Japanese Americans during the war was wrong. In 1988, America apologized for the action and it paid more than $1.6 billion in reparations to Japanese Americans and their heirs for being forced to live in guarded camps.

Yet it has continued to deny recognizing the pain and suffering of the Chamorro people of Guam, who lived under the U.S. flag for decades before the war. Every measure asking for reparations has been shot down.

We keep going back, persisting with the effort and, over the years, the reparations have been scaled back. Last year, U.S. Senate leadership offered a compromise, one that would recognize and pay only those who had survived the deprivations of the Japanese during the war, but Guam Delegate Madeleine Bordallo rejected the measure.

This year, the reparations measure was very similar to the compromise offered last year, and yet the Senate stripped it from the national defense spending bill.

Shame on the national lawmakers for again denying the Chamorro people their long overdue recognition and reparations for the pain and suffering endured during World War II.

With every year that passes, the number of survivors dwindles further. The U.S. government needs to do the right thing before all of these brave men and women are no more by recognizing the patriotism and bravery of Guam's Chamorros during the war and paying the proper reparations.


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