Re: 34th Anniversary of the Palau Constitution

The following is from Richard Salvador who commented on the post, 34th Anniversary of the Palau Constitution.

My take on things —

Wonderful Op/Ed Tia Belau. But I will take issue with you all about the proper significance of these days.

I begin with saying “HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO BELAU!” Let me explain:

On this July 9, we observe, actually, we celebrate, the creation of the Founding Document that declared and willed the small nation-state of the Republic of Belau into existence – our Constitution. The Constitution took some beating at the moment of its inception against huge obstacles set up by our supposedly benign colonial administrator! But it survived with some of its dignity intact. If it were a person, it would have endured some serious physical and mental abuse! But we persevered!
Our Constitution’s claim to fame in the political ranks of the radical was that it stood up to the US Military and demanded some dignity in the Nuclear Age. We demanded freedom from the deadly insanity of the age of the Nuclear. In the 3 decades since then, wars have been waged or provoked even at the slightest suspicions of possessing nuclear weapons; nations were compelled to submit and thousands have been killed. Belau’s Founders were wise beyond their years.
  • Ironically, even as we ensured that our approving the Constitution garnered separate super-majorities, American military demands and Compact requirements compelled us to set aside those nuclear-free provisions of our Constitution in order to allow the Compact of Free Association to come into effect! Let us not forget the battle scars of our national independence movement. Granted, they did not compare with the extent of the deadly scars of many independence movements of various formerly colonized places. But they taxed our physical endurance and levied a heavy toll on our spirits. Our sovereignty struggle deserves its own commendations.

But those days of the 3 decades previous when our Founding Fathers authored our Founding blueprint, are days when we became of age. We were born and we became of age. The years when we wrote our Constitution and then declared a Constitutional Government (1979 and 1980) are significant times. They mark our true Independence days.

October 1, 1994 was not really independence day. That day just marks the day the US Government’s Fiscal Year begins, a convenient day for the Compact of Free Association to come into effect in 1994!
During OUR INDEPENDENCE DAY, we do not mark the day the Fiscal Year of a foreign country starts because it is convenient to do so or because it is convenient to mark the day we exchange neocolonial sums of money meant to keep the structures of colonialism in check.
I have paid homage to those days of national founding, or rebirth, or renewal, or renaissance. (See, for instance, Legacy of Nuclear Testings in the Pacific: Re(Visiting) Los Alamos.–
Look under subheadings “Movement for a Nuclear-Free Belau” as well as “Beginnings of the Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific Movement.”)
On this day of rebirth, on this day of remembrances, we give thanks to our Founders, we pay homage to their work and their struggle and we look forward to continuing Belau’s work and place in the world.
richard salvador

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