A few stars were still sparkling in a sky that was turning rapidly blue when Koko and I got up to see the big, bright moon that had been illuminating the house all night. Our visit was short, as the interior clouds soon swallowed her whole, and then the sun rose, golden, in the narrow band of clearing along the horizon.
Yesterday evening, before we watched another show-stopping moon rise amid puffy clouds over the Giant as a soft, straight rain fell upon us, setting the stage for a moonbow that didn’t materialize, I was listening to a very interesting program on KKCR.
Hosted by Jimmy Trujillo and Katy Rose, it featured Naliko Markell, interior minister of the Reinstated Hawaiian Nation, and John Gates, a legal scholar and expert in international law who is helping the Nation with its groundbreaking legal case over land jurisdiction.
At one point, Kauai attorney Dan Hempey, who is lead attorney in the case, called in and was asked by Katy about the likelihood of Hawaiians prevailing against the United States without bloodshed.
Dan, after explaining that “the right for Hawaiians to organize as a nation is protected by law in Hawaii,” and that those engaged in such activities are not revolutionaries “doing anything illegal or treasonous, they’re exercising a right that guaranteed to them by law,” said: “It’s kind of a trend, colonized countries being let go by their colonizers.”
Katy, while saying that she hated to sound cynical, then remarked that often these colonies were freed only after “an intense struggle.”
This prompted Dan to note that the Reinstated Hawaiian Nation is “totally non-violent,” adding that he hoped the creation of a Hawaiian nation could be achieved without any bloodshed.
“They don’t shoot you for going to court,” he said.
Observed Katy: “I think they shoot you when you start to win.”
I hate to sound cynical, too, but Katy’s right. America’s history is littered with the bodies of both internal and external dissenters who were assassinated or otherwise eliminated when their words and/or deeds got just a little too threatening to the status quo that supports the continuation of the corporate-military-industrial complex.
Hawaii, of course, has its own large and key role in that complex. To borrow some lyrics from Sudden Rush:
“And another thing that might be quite scary, would they even give a damn if Hawaii wasn’t so important to the military?”
And while we all like to trust in the rule of law, the Hawaii Superferry case is one very visible recent example of how the integrity of the courts can be undermined and overruled by a special interest group that has the money and access to power to rewrite the law to suit its fancy.
Surely Hawaii’s landowners, who have long held political sway in the Islands, would be similarly averse to any legal ruling that might shift the balance of power into the hands of the indigenous people. We’re already seeing the State of Hawaii appeal the state Supreme Court’s ruling that prevents it from selling or transferring the so-called “ceded lands” — lands that it knows it doesn’t own, but is supposed to be holding in trust.
Yet despite the intense obstacles, I’ve consistently observed that those involved in the Hawaiian independence movement are strongly motivated by the perception that ultimately, justice has to prevail. Often, I’ve heard them express such terms as “Akua willing,” or “with the support of Akua.”
There’s a spiritual component there that keeps them from giving up while working through Western power structures that are heavily stacked against them. And it struck me that a belief in the righteousness and inherent power of fairness and justice has been the driving force behind many struggles for independence.
So once again, after yesterday’s show, when I was thinking of the struggle inherent in the independence movement, I found myself wondering, is aloha enough?
And then I has to ask myself, is there really anything else?