August 2015


Barbara Tuchman’s description of the start of World War I was printed as the Guns of August, also printed as August 1914. It recalled the traditional conflict within the imperial house of Great Britain, in England and Germany, and when Archduke Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary was assassinated in Sarajevo, Kaiser Wilhelm unleashed his uppity commitment that Germany will head Social Darwinism and be upfront on the widespread imperial altruism at the time.

We shan’t revisit Tuchman’s description of the misconceptions, miscalculations, and mistakes that led to WWI, repeated in the lowly Austrian ex-corporal Adolf Hitler’s playing Kaiser (tsar) shortly thereafter as major players of the European empires doomed the final hours of imperial rule. 

To refer to the competition as WWII is accurate in that Japan massaging its Meiji oats was involved. India, Central Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean were not military combatants in the conflagration. It was Europe’s war. Countries born a decade later in Africa, Asia, and Latin America were from empires forced to divest colonial power. The U.S. holding all the financial chips reformulated neocolonial presence. G.I. Joe hummed Alabama around the world.

WWIII is depicted as the U.S. wrestling control of China’s presence in the seas of China. I see the ongoing world conflict as the struggle between organized asset-hungry powers dominant in stock exchanges and the dispersed guerrilla forces that won’t kowtow to the direction our banks and financial institutions lead us.

WWIII is currently being fought by those who will not excuse the mining spillage in Colorado that may take 10 years to clean up, or the foreign and native powers that take advantage of cheap Chinese labor and favorable policies, polluting air and rivers that eventually affects all. It is, at least, open to scrutiny compared to the quiet despoiling of the Amazon, the Congo, northern Canada, and the waters of the Pacific. 

Pictures of the huge debris floating in the Pacific Northeast is alarming; even off Saipan, no fish caught in the ocean is free of the high mercury discards we let seep onto our ocean floors.

There is no declared World War since the conflicts are sporadic, though I mark the Earthrise of ’68 as the turning point in human consciousness and the global “warfare” (we need a newer term that denote the energy and direction of change without invoking images of destruction). WWIII is a misnomer; a planetary struggle prevails.

To be sure, many of my colleagues still operate out of the European colonial definitions of continents and countries, as if there is virtue in the identification inherent in being a citizen of Nigeria, India, Venezuela, Canada, Malaysia, China, et al, and the political proprietaries that go along with it. Frustrations are high on public policies to protect the environment but we persist in just monetizing its mineral contents.

So it is guerrilla warfare, objective and enflamed encounters devoid of despair in decrying the despoliation of a planet either by conservative and liberal politics that want to manage or control the care of the planet through a regular bottom line, especially the organized ones who derive their existence from raising funds to support justifying their causes.

My writing about it makes me a paper literary warrior of no serious consequence other than as a source of entertainment for readers in our use of metaphors, but as I have said often enough, it is the deed that counts, not wordsmithing wonder, or, the gracefulness of our banners in the annual Earth Day parade.

The dudes that somehow manage to make little plots, e.g., the one close to Yale U, that bear green veggies in summer gardens, or those rooftop trees and other living things incorporated in building designs, wage skirmishes. 

A tree blown over by Soudelor’s fury at the PSS compound between Sun Palace and MHS lies on its side, revealing square rootage, evidently intentionally grown on squared space, like the Singapore style of planting and replacing it as soon as it reaches a certain height, but someone on Saipan obviously forgot to replace it when it was time. Too top heavy, it was fodder to a hungry storm.

This is the last day of August, written on the lucidity that we do so out of self-expression more than manipulating public opinion, but we have reason enough from readers not to quit the page yet. Besides, if Barbara Tuchman chronicled the Guns of August for WWI, and Tom Brokow penned his Greatest Generation of WWII, I herald the onset of “WWIII”, the Earth boldly refusing to helplessly let its vital signs drain in the greed of human deprivation fueled by colonial addiction to money and power.

We said “goodbye” several times before, only to find our way back to wordsmith, perhaps out of vanity to feed a literary addiction. This article, August 2015, may be one of those thresholds. Regardless, the sustaining health of Mama Gaia shall prevail, my dead body on the heap of its regeneration.

Jaime R. Vergara | Special to the Saipan Tribune
Jaime Vergara previously taught at SVES in the CNMI. A peripatetic pedagogue, he last taught in China but makes Honolulu, Shenyang, and Saipan home. He can be reached at

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