Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tom Clancy on Article XII

I'm finally reading Debt of Honor by Tom Clancy, the book where the Japanese invade Saipan. It is not one of his more popular titles; In fact, the local book store doesn't even carry a copy. I was at a friend's house and saw the book sitting on a shelf and asked if I could borrow it. I am about half way through.

Published in 1994, the book is a bit dated. So much has changed in the last 15 years. What ever did we do with our lives before email, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, FOX News, and texting? It is hard to imagine my life without an email address, but amazingly enough I didn't use email until 1996. Makes you wonder how anything was ever accomplished back then.

Anyway, page 316 has a passage that alludes to Article XII of the CNMI Constitution:
Of late Saipan had become a much more popular place for Japanese businessmen. A recent court decision had struck down the constitutional provision prohibiting foreign ownership of land and now allowed them to buy up parcels. In fact, the island was more than half foreign-owned now, a source of annoyance to many of the native Chamorros people, but not so great an annoyance as to prevent many of them from taking the money and moving off the land. It was bad enough already. On any given weekend, the number of Japanese on Saipan outnumbered the citizens, and typically treated the owners of the island like...natives.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

There is something fundamentally wrong when a (non-indigenous*) individual has lived in a location for over 40 years and does not have the ability to own a piece of property or a home.


*determination and criteria of what establishes an individual as "indigenous" is also questionable given that all currently residing in Saipan originated from elsewhere to begin with.

bigsoxfan said...

Interesting, but not too surprising you didn't find it in the book store. I wonder who Tom talked to back in the '90's that could find Saipan on a map, let alone identify Article XII? I wouldn't be surprised if you are reading my copy of "debt of honor" I left my books at Round II and Bobby Cadillacs. If it is, I'm glad it found a good home. Still I think you might be more enlightened reading "the last navigator" by Steven Thomas. It is on the list at the library, but I couldn't check it out. If you can't let me know, I just picked up a paperback copy to go with my hardcover.
As to Article XII and the right s of long term visitors to own land, time will tell.

Anonymous said...

"Determination and criteria of what establishes an individual as "indigenous" is also questionable given that all currently residing in Saipan originated from elsewhere to begin with."
How far do you want go back? Is it to the point where we are either biologically Africanoid, Mongoloid or Caucasoid in terms of skull type? Most people of NMI descent have roots in these islands before the Spanish colonized. Do you have roots here before and through the Spanish, German and Japanese eras? Chronologically speaking you have been here since the US flag was raised and does that alone give you the right to own land? There are thousands of Chamorros and Carolinians who will have you believe other wise.

Anonymous said...

Tom Clancy used to be famous for getting his factual details right, to the point that, after "The Hunt for Red October" was published, he was suspected of getting hold of and using classified information. But here he missed the boat. Article XII was challenged in court, but it was upheld, not struck down.

Jun said...

I remembered a newspaper story sometime in the 90's about a local high school girl by the name of Piola Camacho who wrote to Tom Clancy as part of her school assignment. Tom Clancy wrote back and asked if she could provide materials about Saipan so that he could incorporate them into the book he is currenlty working on at that time "Debt of Honor." There were some errors about villages and places in his story but it was an entertaining book.It was a book of fiction and some people that are commenting here are taking it the wrong way.