2 October 2012
MV-22 Osprey heading toward Futenma
Okinawan Message from to US Marines:
To our Brothers and Sisters in the US Marines

posted by Kyle Kajihiro


On October 1, six MV-22 Ospreys were flown into MCAS Futenma, and three more on the following day (see New York Times report by Martin Fackler), despite the all-island opposition against their deployment to the Marine base in the middle of the crowded neighbourhood of Ginowan. Back in 1996, sixteen years ago, US and Japanese governments made a promise to Okinawans to return it within several years. Today, the two governments have not only not returned it, but reinforced the base with these bigger, faster, noisier and accident-prone aircraft, sending a clear message to local residents that this base would stay for a while.

Many Okinawans believe that this is a punitive measure for their opposition against the plan to build a new mega-base at Henoko, Oura Bay, and it is simply unacceptable.

Here is a message from an Okinawan women's group "Gathering of Kamaduu gua," to the members of the US Marine Corps, with hope that it will speak to the conscience of the women and men who will be not only exposing Okinawan residents but themselves to danger. Author chinin usii, a member of the group says,

"Okinawans oppose MV22 Osprey, not just because they are dangerous. We are also expressing our anger against the denial of our lives, our dignity, and our democracy, throughout the history, and we are also voicing our determination so that such treatment of our people will not be repeated. If we allow this, we will be allowing such injustice to be inflicted on our children and grandchildren, and people in other regions of the world." @PeacePhilosophy

To our Brothers and Sisters in the US. Marines,

When you joined the Marines, maybe you thought you could help propagate, or protect, democracy in the world.

Now is a good time to think about democracy in Okinawa.

On the question of whether to bring the Osprey to Okinawa, do we Okinawans have a right to participate in that decision? After all, this is our island, and the sky over it, which the Osprey will be flying through, also belongs to us. Would it be democratic for the US and Japan to decide to bring it in, ignoring the Okinawans?

Of course, it would not.

We Okinawans have expressed our opposition in every peaceful way possible. On September 9, 100,000 people gathered at an anti-Osprey rally (out of a population of 1,400,000). The conservative Governor of the prefecture is against it. The Prefectural Assembly is against it. The conservative Mayors of both Naha City and Ginowan City are against it. The local government of every other city, town, and village in Okinawa is against it. Both local newspapers are against it. Even the PTA is against it. To ignore all this and bring it in anyway would be to insult the Okinawan people in a way that would never be forgotten.

Why do we oppose it? Because it is dangerous. It crashes too often. It has killed far too many Marines. Everybody knows this; Osprey is notoriously a flawed aircraft. It was not we who named it Widow Maker. Yes, it is sometimes an airplane and sometimes a helicopter. Thatís very clever. But sometimes it is neither. Then it becomes a big blob of metal in the sky, which can only fall to the ground. Not clever at all. We donít want it falling on us, and we donít want it falling with you in it.

As for the danger of the Osprey, we suppose you know all about that. And we think, perhaps, on this issue we can join forces. And so we ask you, in the name of democracy, in the name of our dignity and yours, in the name of our safety and yours: join us in opposing the Osprey.

Donít get in it, donít fly it, donít service it, donít go near it. Treat it like the death trap that it is.

When you joined the Marines, you probably wanted to do something for democracy and for the dignity of human life.

Nowís your chance.

             Your Brothers and Sisters in Okinawa

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