Koko wanted to go out at 3 a.m., so I indulged her, and the reward was snuggling in and sleeping in on this wet, new moon morning. A survey says 47% of Americans sleep with their pets, and I’m among them. I once went out with a man who emphatically announced: “There’s no way I’d ever let a dog in my truck or in my house.” Needless to say, there was no second date. Some chasms are just too wide to bridge.
I wonder if the same is true with the Hawaii Superferry and its Kauai opponents, even though Sen. Gary Hooser has been pushing for some sort of reconciliation process and Jeff Fishman, publisher of LightLine, yesterday sent out a letter to his subscribers urging folks to “slow down with rhetoric and reaction and get up to speed with education of the issues and avoid escalating conflict.”
It’s good advice, as I think few — aside from the media, which thrive on conflict above all else — want to see a showdown between protestors and law enforcement if the ferry returns to Nawiliwili Harbor.
I see a couple of difficulties, however, in resolving the dispute. Aside from the question of Superferry’s sincerity in wanting to pursue ho`oponopono, there’s the issue of who on Kauai would be asked to sit down for peace talks.
Since the protests, especially the actions of jumping in the water to block the ferry, were spontaneous events, it’s not like there’s one group that can speak for all or profess to have any control over the actions of other demonstrators.
And then there’s the issue of Oahu folks continuing to fan the flames of the controversy, as they’ve done from the get-go. Last night’s KGMB News carried a segment on a letter written by Big Island attorney Lanny Sinkin and non-violent activist Jim Albertini that had been picked up by The Surfer’s Path magazine.
The lengthy letter states, in part: “We do not come to convince or discourage. We come only to urge you to follow carefully the last step of non-violent resistance. After you have examined the facts, studied the law, examined your heart and conscience, and decided that action must be taken, the last step is to fully inform yourself of the consequences and make proper arrangements.”
The letter goes on to outline, in what I thought rather chilling detail, the possible legal ramifications of violating the federal “security zone” imposed at the harbor, including prison time, fines and the substantial cost of mounting a defense.
However, those aspects of its message were ignored by the KGMB broadcast, which instead focused on the letter’s comments about “you have to be prepared at the level of the Native American who decided when it was ‘a good day to die.’”
The broadcast also included a comment by state attorney General Mark Bennett, who charged the letter encourages people to break the law, and a statement by special agent Brandon Simpson: "The FBI in collaboration with its partners over at the United States Coast Guard will investigate any threats to the Superferry operation."
Hawaii Reporter's Malia Zimmerman and KSSK talk show hosts Perry and Price also jumped into the fray.
In her post, Zimmerman repeatedly attempted to discount Albertini, who spent a year in federal prison for jumping into the Hilo Harbor to protest the entry of a naval vessel carrying nuclear weapons, as a felon, while Perry and Price dissed the Kahului Harbor Coalition, one of the plaintiffs in the Superferry litigation, for not having a professional website.
Zimmerman even questioned why The Surfer’s path boasts that it uses “non-GMO soy based ink” on recycled paper: “Why does it matter if the product is GMO if isn’t being consumed? Isn’t this taking the whole green thing a little far?”
Apparently Zimmerman and Perry and Price missed the irony of accusing others of engaging in diatribes and inflammatory rhetoric.
My point is that many on Oahu have already made up their minds about the Nawiliwili Harbor protests and Gov. Lingle’s Kauai meeting based on superficial media coverage, which continues unabated, and it will be difficult, if not impossible, to change that perception.
Still, Jeff Fishman offers some wise advice about how Kauai folks can proceed in this ongoing controversy:
“Media is limited in its coverage and regardless of the man-made Laws and the process the State and others may have gone through to help get us to where we are now, the blame game is not really going to save Kauai from the irreparable harm that may occur with HSF. Conflict with SWAT teams and Coast Guard officers that are "just doing their job" will not be in anyone's best interest and will further exacerbate the image of our beautiful island and people. Yet, in a way, we are under siege and the pressure from such forces acting upon us causes many to have to release in ways that we might tend to judge, so let's kokua and love more. Hopefully the more self-destructive tendencies will be channeled in more creative and constructive directions in the weeks to come.
“This is a struggle in evolving consciousness, one to be resolved within, more than without. Keep the peace, gather information (Light), send it out (Lines), and let people know what you can about this.”
Yes, education and conscious awareness are perhaps the most effective and enduring bridge-building materials.