Monday, October 20, 2008

Musings: Never Too Late

The moon, just slightly fuller than half, was directly overhead in a patch of blue within a sky of quilted gray that soon enveloped it, too, when Koko and I set out on this breezy morning.

As we walked, I detected two distinct vibrations of sound — chirping crickets and buzzing bees — that were audible even through the cacophony of crowing roosters. Koko, for her part, focused on scents lurking in the grass and dead things in the street.

I found a small bird’s nest beneath a stand of ironwood trees, and was carrying it, cupped in one hand, marveling at its intricate construction, when we ran into my neighbor Andy and his dog, Momi, an encounter that never fails to thrill Koko — and me, to a lesser degree.

We talked about my trip to Honolulu, which was taken up with research into Hawaii’s fisheries and an interview with the Rev. Kaleo Patterson, a former Kauai resident who is continuing to work on nonviolent approaches to social change through the Pacific Justice & Reconciliation Center.

I was working on a story last night about Kaleo and his explorations into indigenous peace-making initiatives, including the Hawaiian practice of ho`oponopono, so regrettably was unable to attend “The Queen's Women,” a play that re-enacts a meeting about the Kue, or "monster," petitions, which were signed by nearly every kanaka maoli to protest America’s annexation of the Hawaiian Islands.

People don’t seem to realize that Hawaiians never did support America’s theft of their kingdom, and 115 years later, that sentiment is still very much alive.

The federal and state governments obviously find that rather threatening, and I was interested to learn from Kaleo that the state has its own little “Secret Service,” a group that monitors Hawaiian activists and their activities. I wonder if it’s comprised of bruddas, in the usual attempt to pit Hawaiians against Hawaiians, or if it’s staffed by non-Hawaiians who don’t give a rip about the injustice that was committed.

I’m always struck, in video footage I see, by the faces of local cops when they have to participate in actions against Hawaiians. It’s obvious that they don’t relish the duty. In one video, I saw several cops wiping tears from their eyes as they walked through Brescia’s land at Naue, where each burial was identified by a little tiki torch. And in the film “Noho Hewa,” their expressions were grim and their actions were very gentle as they arrested houseless Hawaiians living alongside the road on Oahu. Kaleo said that during the Star Wars protests out at PMRF in the early 1990s, Kauai cops participated the first day, then refused to return for the second round of action, requiring the navy to bring in MPs from Schofield to execute the dirty deeds.

Obviously, many local cops recognize this kind of stuff for the travesty that it is. I mean, arresting Hawaiians for objecting to launching rockets from a sacred burial dune, or for being without houses in their own homeland? How bogus is that? How can the state in good conscience criminalize homelessness, anyway, especially when it’s caused by the state’s own economic policies, which favor the rich who are rapidly displacing the poor, a disproportionate number of whom are Hawaiians?

In researching my piece on Kaleo, I came across an article he’d written for the New Internationalist back in 1993, following Iniki, in which he talked about how tourism and militarism have adversely affected Hawaiians.

In the 15 years since it was published, both have only gotten more entrenched, with tourism morphing into even more insidious forms: the proliferation of vacation rentals in the conservation district and luxury estates that are sprawling over coastal ag land. Both types of construction frequently disrupt burials.

“Noho Hewa” included footage of the many burials that were disturbed in building the Hokulia golf course and estate homes on the Big Island. And if that’s not bad enough, burials that are preserved are turned into marketing tools, offering the clueless a chance to feel like they’re really getting close to "Hawaiian heritage."

When I was in Honolulu, I had dinner with a man who attended Kamehameha Schools for nine years, during the 1970s, yet learned virtually nothing about his culture. As we talked about “Noho Hewa,” he gave the responses I frequently hear from Hawaiians and non-Hawaiians alike: “Isn’t it too late to get the land back?” and the kicker, “This is too depressing.”

Yes, it is depressing, but only if one resigns oneself to accepting this injustice, to believing that it is too late, and that nothing can change. I’ve come to believe that it doesn’t matter what form sovereignty ultimately takes, or how it all shakes out for non-Hawaiians.

The first step is to make things pono again, to acknowledge the wrong that was committed when the U.S. overthrew the monarchy — as was done in the 1993 Apology Resolution, Public Law 103-150 — and take concrete, good faith steps to begin the process of reconciliation mandated by the resolution.

Once that’s done, and I’m not talking about the rip-off known as the Akaka Bill, then the rest of the solution can fall into place.

32 comments:

nunya said...

FROM JOANʻS ARTICLE:
"The first step is to make things pono again, to acknowledge the wrong that was committed when the U.S. overthrew the monarchy — as was done in the 1993 Apology Resolution, Public Law 103-150 — and take concrete, good faith steps to begin the process of reconciliation mandated by the resolution."

Agreed. Does anyone have any concrete plan to accomplish this? And how can this be accomplished with the same old methods meaning ʻthe improper claimant trying to assert the improper claimʻ?

Who would the proper claimant be? Certainly not ʻNative Hawaiiansʻ a classification designated by the occupier. Certainly not Kanaka Maoli (alone without a political status) because Kanaka Maoli defines the race of people.

Could it be a person holding the same citizenship as the occupier? No.
Could any of us, citizens of the U.S., travel to Japan and make political decisions? No because we are foreigners to Japan.
THEN WHY CAN THE U.S. COME HERE AND DO IT TO HAWAII? U.S. citizens are foreigners here in this de facto state. The reason they can get away with it is because they are being ALLOWED to.

Shouldnʻt it, logically, be that the proper claimant must be a Hawaii National?

Absolutely. And that is what has been holding up the progress. The U.S. Govʻt knows this and theyʻve been laughing all the way to the bank.

Repatriation to oneʻs own country. Renunciation of the U.S. citizenship. Hard for many to do, understood. It might leave one feeling like they are up a creek without a paddle. Especially after being brainwashed by the U.S. for several generations.

Formal repatriation with all the trimmings, requirements that are needed under International Law, not just saying, "..Iʻm a Hawaii National because I never consented.."

There is a process, a procedure that must be officially followed for one to regain their citizenship, and in turn, their proper political status complete with AUTHORITY. Thatʻs real recognition.

How exciting. How easy. The answer has been sitting there for over 110 years.

Everything else is just half measures. Which avail NOTHING.

Anonymous said...

The appology declaration is considered symbolic and not in any way a mandate to perform sessionist-like changes involving a new hawaiian nation apart from the US.

That will never happen.

Katy Rose said...

There is plenty of history of decolonization in the world, so I would never say it can't happen.

I would say, however, that the US is never going to passively submit to decolonization because of a legal case or the opinion of the United Nations. The US will not act against its own imperial interests here or anywhere else on earth on the strength of a good argument.

Frederick Douglas, who fought slavery his entire life, said:

“If there is no struggle, there is no progress.

Those of us who profess to favor freedom yet depreciate agitation
are men who want the crops without plowing up the ground.

They want rain without thunder.

They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters…

This struggle may be a moral one or a physical one, but it must be a struggle.

Power concedes nothing without demand. It never has and never will.

Show me the exact amount of wrong and injustices that are visited upon a person
and I will show you the exact amount of words endured by these people.

These wrongs and injustices may be fought with words or with blows or both.

The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppose.”

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said -- The appology declaration is considered symbolic and not in any way a mandate to perform sessionist-like changes involving a new hawaiian nation apart from the US.

How do you know? What kind of apology is only symbolic?

Anonymous said...

All kinds of apologies are symbolic.

"We're sorry that happened to you so many generations ago, and we'll never repeat it, but we're not going to restore what existed those many generations ago."

It's like the ludicrous idea of reparations for decendents of black slaves.

We gave them their freedom, or at least a whole lot more than they used to. We're not about to give their nth generation decendents money.

Given that approach, we ought to give back the american southwest and lots of other parts to the indians.

We're sorry, here's a reservation with tax breaks, don't push it!

Maybe everybody throughout the world should appologize for every other nation overrun and give it all back and 'redo' the planet to...what...pre middle ages?

Everyone's sorry for everything we now know is bad practice, but everyone now has to move on from where things are now.

Besides, there are those rag head jihadists to kill now.

nunya said...

Hi Joan,
Donʻt suppose you could reveal who the festering little piece of excrement is that wrote in on time log: (October 20, 2008 3:05 PM)

Because I would like to know who this terrorist is amongst us...and believe me, I consider this low life to be a terrorist.

Joan said...

No, Nunya, I don't know who that Anonymous is. I only posted the comment so that folks could become aware of the ignorance and racism that motivates so many in the anti-sovereignty crowd.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous October 20, 2008 3:05 PM Has expressed the sentiments of one who has gained from the wrongs committed in the past. This is typically summed up by politicians as, "Let's put this behind us and move ahead." Sure my grandpa stole from your grandpa and invested well and now I'm living the good life while your family is living on the streets, but hey sorry about that. Please accept my sincere & symbolic apology and by the way if you come rob my house or steal my car you are a criminal and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. After all now we live in modern times now where it is just as illegal for the rich man to sleep on a park bench as for a homeless person to do so. All we want is justice, not justice us in jail!

Anonymous said...

Could anyone describe the secnario of a suceeded Hawaiian state.
Leave off the ideals, just describe how this takes place in real time.
What happens socially, politicaly, economically and physically to the one million people of this state?
Do we all return to our ethnic homelands?

Anonymous said...

> We gave them their freedom, or at least a whole lot more than they used to. We're not about to give their nth generation decendents money. <

Who, along with you, is "we?" The 18th-century colonial slave traders? Those 19th-century Americans who participated in government-sponsored genocide of the nation's natives? The 20th-century Americans who ripped the islands from beneath the feet of its people? The 21st-century Americans who Hail Palin and pray at the radio of Saint Rush, who today proclaimed Colin Powell's endorsement of Obama is purely a matter of race?

Or are you, in fact, all of those?

Anonymous said...

And there are way more "terrorists" than "nunyas".

The Urban dictionary defines "nunya" thusly:

1. nunyas
a)none of your business.
b)none of yours

Mikey: What's for dinner, woman?"

Sue: "Nunyas."

Mikey: "Say wha?"

Sue: Make your own food, lazy ass. What I'm eatin' ain' nunyas."

Anonymous said...

Yes, I'm on the winning side. Winning big. We winners take but don't give back. You can take from us if you can. It would make you winners. If you can't you remain losers.

The world is not fair. It is not "even". Justice is an illusion. The legal system is a method for conflict resolution rather than justice, where money an influence count.

The world is what it is. I didn't make it that way, but learned how it works and how to work it and have been richly rewarded.

Your mileage may vary.

Take it easy, but take it.

Anonymous said...

the reincarnated gadfly; taking it easy to the bank-oops closed. insufficient funds-no mo' credit for you. howz your portfolio these daze?
what's it feel like to take it up your assets and liabilities? hope you have better protection than a broken condominium cuz, cause you gonna need'em when your house of cards tumble like a twin tower in a september breeze. remember, what comes around goes around and payback is a bitching excuse to do some ethic cleansing starting with the few, the proud and the rich. watch yo'back gadfly, the buzzards are circling, sharks are in the bay and the predators at the fed reserve and SEC are lining up to feed you to the third world markets. protein is in short supply and in lean times, fat cats like you go first.

Anonymous said...

I'm sitting pretty, protected, no stock investments at all, no debt at all, all money in FDIC vehicles. Enough assets to last me forever even in a return to a full-on depression.

Better than you, I'll bet.

But keep on grousing...it is amusing.

Anonymous said...

the buzzards are circling, sharks are in the bay and the predators at the fed reserve and SEC are lining up to feed you to the third world markets.

That's a socialist hippy wish if I ever heard one. Those who keep a level head and use this opportunity to load up on stocks of good companies will be well rewarded in coming years. Those who preach collapse and panic will in a couple of years after the economy has recovered from recession, be in pretty much the same condition they're in now, the same condition they've always been, and the same condition they'll always be as long as they keep on believing their end-times mythology.

Anonymous said...

> Those who keep a level head and use this opportunity to load up on stocks of good companies will be well rewarded in coming years. <

The mantra of every Old White Guy Imperialist since the 17th century.

Anonymous said...

"Those who keep a level head and use this opportunity to load up on stocks of good companies will be well rewarded in coming years."

As Mr T would say "Shut-up foo" Don't you know the ecological pie never gets any bigger no matter how many "years to come you have."

Ain't nobody going to have to be a slave all the time no more, we going to take turns -- and guess who's turn it is now?

Anonymous said...

So much trouble in the world;
So much trouble in the world.

Bless my eyes this morning;
Jah sun is on the rise once again.
The way earthly thin's are goin',
Anything can happen.

You see men sailing on their ego trip,
Blast off on their spaceship,
Million miles from reality:
No care for you, no care for me.

So much trouble in the world;
So much trouble in the world.
All you got to do: give a little
Give a little,give a little ,give a little!
One more time, ye-ah! give a little Ye-ah! give a little
Ye-ah! give a little Yeah!

So you think you've found the solution,
But it's just another illusion!
(So before you check out this tide),
Don't leave another cornerstone
Standing there behind, eh-eh-eh-eh!
We've got to face the day; Ooh-wee, come what may:
We the street people talkin',
Yeah, we the people strugglin'.

Now they sitting on a time bomb;
Now I know the time has come:
What goes on up is coming on down,
Goes around and comes around.
So much trouble in the world;
There is so much trouble
So much trouble in the world;

Anonymous said...

No matter how many times you repeat "The Hawaiian Injustice," no matter how many times you state it as fact like some state, it is still an opinion attached to facts as we pitifully know them. Less kind would be to call it "revisionist history" which, of course, happens continuously and is determined by what is currently politically popular.

There is also nothing ignorant or racist about that simple statement; just a step towards critical thinking and away from emotional partisanship. You've taken sides, hooray for you; but, it's made you a propagandist. Those you refer to as ignorant can only be educated by information; not propaganda.

Joan said...

It's not "opinion attached to facts as we pitifully know them" that the Hawaiian monarchy was illegally overthrown, it is fact. Revisionist history is trying to present as otherwise.

Anonymous said...

> Less kind would be to call it "revisionist history" which, of course, happens continuously and is determined by what is currently politically popular. <

Less kind to whom? The conquering race who wrote their self-serving history and have long taught it in the schools?

The history of American exploitation of its indigenous people has just begun to emerge from the dark ages of its own nostalgia. The revision of noble Natives and happy Hawaiians has nothing to do with political correctness, and everything to do with the pursuit of historical accuracy.

Anonymous said...

The monarchy was not "overthrown" illegally or otherwise. The 1893 event was a revolution by naturalized citizens of the Kingdom of Hawaii. Just like your American Revolution which was assisted by the French. That is the fact. To call it an illegal overthrown is the only way historical revisionists can attempt to get sympathy from the naïve and ill informed.

kaiulani said...

I love you Joan and your heart for our people! We are moving towards victory in every way. Kaiulani

Katy Rose said...

"Just like your American Revolution which was assisted by the French. "


The "American Revolution" coincided with and was predicated on the genocide of Native peoples by the European settlers - or "naturalized citizens" as you might call them.

Anonymous said...

That's why the "Old White Guy Imperialist" faction ahas ruled the world for so many centuries.

It's unlikely to change, so I'm proud to be an Old White Guy Imperialist.

Nothing will change in my pristine world. Barring ill health, I'm insolated from everything and loving it!

Go Imperialists!!!

Anonymous said...

Well, prior to the American Revolution, we had to clean house.

Out with the old, in with the new!

Anonymous said...

> That's why the "Old White Guy Imperialist" faction ahas ruled the world for so many centuries.

It's unlikely to change, so I'm proud to be an Old White Guy Imperialist.

Nothing will change in my pristine world. Barring ill health, I'm insolated from everything and loving it! <



"...We're now seeing the same pathology at work in the McCain-Palin campaign. McCain and Palin look at America and see what they wish was there, rather than what's actually there: an America in which they'll be greeted as liberators and rightful heirs to the mantle of leadership. America, after all, has been led by white Anglo-Saxons for the last two-plus centuries and, for the last 40 years, mostly by Republicans. For that to change is almost unthinkable. And so Team McCain just edits out the inconvenient America that doesn't seem likely to vote GOP. That America's not real. It just can't be.

I'm not entirely without sympathy. Behind the anger and the us-versus-them rhetoric we've seen at recent McCain-Palin rallies, there's a palpable sense of dislocation and anxiety: the anxiety of those who feel that things are slipping away from them, that the world is changing too quickly and too uncomfortably. Change has come fast -- and change hurts."
-- Rosa Parks
Los Angeles Times
October 23, 2008

full text at http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-brooks23-2008oct23,0,3219478.column

Anonymous said...

You think the "great black hope" who may win the election will really change things that much?

Dream on.

Live as usual in America (incl Hawaii). We tack back and forth from lib to con like a sailboat, but we always move in the same general direction.

The pendulum swings back and forth, but nothing really changes that much over decades.

I'm still with the Old White Guy Imperialists.

Anonymous said...

> You think the "great black hope" who may win the election will really change things that much? <

That's not how it works.

The people who leaders inspire to think beyond the mundane change things. The children who aspire to follow a leader's path change things.

Anonymous said...

good luck trying to change a system whose very social, cultural and political DNA, as it were, is based on free market capitalism with as little governmental oversight as is necessary to keep the wheels on.

Equality, if defined as the lower classes having the same benefits of life as the upper classes, just isn't part of our national DNA. No classlessness for us.

Anonymous said...

It's been said that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

This country is like a huge oil tanker which takes hours to come to a stop and takes over 20 miles to do a U-turn.

The fundimental momentum of the USA is such that many changes are just not possible...disruptive of the "DNA" of the country...free market capitalism with just enough governemtal oversight to keep the wheels from coming off.

No enforced economic equality here...we are a meritocracy.

Anonymous said...

1) i believe the crown lands case is going before the supreme court. that ruling will speak volumes (personally i hope they find a way to rule in favor of ethnic hawaiians)

2) while no court is going to care much what ~ "second or third generation naturalized hawaiians" did as to an "overthrow," the orders to send troops ashore do seem to have been improper and, arguably, the effect was foreseeable (in other words "but for" those troops the revolution would not have occurred). this could be a basis for liability (which in turn could be attacked by a statute of limitations defense, among others)

3) the understanding of US and/or international law on the part of sovereignty folks is, i am sorry to say, painfully awful (fyi - unless congress and the president sign off on a "treaty/law"...whether a child of the UN or some court in holland, it means little)

4) and where are the bishop trust monies? i mean if there were ever a period to better educate and arm a group of people with the tools to improve their station in life it is these days...an underutilized and ill-managed resource if you ask me

5) if anybody cares to get a better sense for what was going on in the world in the 1800's, look up william walker - it will help put 1800's hawaii in better context (in short - he was a jerk that tried to take over central america)