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In response to the Department of the Defense’s plan for Alternative 2 on our islands

Letters to Editor
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OWN who you are.

Know where you come from. Know what the land you roam possesses and what it can do for you. With all these concepts being instilled in our future generations, and us I can’t help but wonder when will it be recognized that our islands are more than just a playground for the military? When will our islands be looked at as more than just shields?

The islands that are filled with food on both land and sea. The islands that are thriving with rich cultures that still need to be taught and passed down to our future generations.

The damage that our islands will face at the hands of these military exercises is something we cannot recover from. Take, for example, a piece of paper. You get the sheet and it is nice and clean, ironed out, and without flaws. Crumple it up. What happened? When you open up the paper to bring it back to its full form, does it look the same? No. And quite frankly, it won’t ever go back to its original form. Such is the case with our islands.

Not only are they harming the land, but also they are hurting the air we breathe and the water that holds a large part of our food supply.

We’ve been taught to protect our possessions. We have been taught to appreciate what we are given. And now we are being left to beg for a voice in the decision that seems to have already been made? Why do we have to beg for protection on something that belongs to us? To our people? To our children? Why do we have to beg for clarification on what these plans are for? The land is ours. So why are we being made to feel like visitors in our own homes?

Who we are, where we come from, what is rightfully ours is what we are trying to protect. The world is already facing a pandemic that has changed life as we know it, and has given us all a “new normal.” What once was something we did so easily, so casually, and almost effortlessly is now something we have to give more thought and preparation into.

Why are we going to allow for military exercises that will affect our land and our waters, further exposing us to harmful chemicals, affect our health as well? With those chemicals, what are we then exposing ourselves and our children to? Do we really want to increase disease rates on our islands? Do we really want to leave our children and their children with nothing? Is our purpose not to protect what is ours, including our people?

To go far, we must come together. It is now, more than ever, that we as a community need to take a stand and protect what is ours and what our children should be able to enjoy with their children in the years to come.

 

TYLER JAMES WARWICK

Garapan, Saipan

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