Thursday, April 9, 2009

Musings: Two Masters

Dark was the operative word when Koko and I went walking this morning, although it wasn’t all that early. But the dark sky was mottled with darker clouds and the streets were dark with rain. At times Koko nearly disappeared when she slipped into the shadows, following some tantalizing scent, prompting me to recall a conversation I had with a hunter the other day.

You always want to have at least one white dog in your pack, he said, so you can follow it out in the dark.

Makes sense.

Numerous trucks passed me, with all the drivers waving, and then I passed a small, black truck parked alongside the road. Its entire back window was filled with old English lettering that read: Charge Um Like One Visa.

Ran into my neighbor Andy and his dog Momi, who always greets me with sweet, restrained affection. It’s in marked contrast to the way Koko says hello to Andy, which is standing on her back legs, front paws waving, and all the while whining.

We got to talking about a number of things and somehow the conversation wound around to the bisexuality of the alii, with one Hawaiian scholar suggesting that perhaps it was safer for chiefs to have sex with other men because then they didn’t have to worry about offspring, especially those who might be of lower status or plotting to kill their siblings in order to gain power.

Makes sense.

We parted ways and within a minute I heard a raucous, wild squawking, which set Koko to lunging, and I looked through a hedge to see one rooster mounting another. Then they parted ways, shaking out their feathers.

Stopped to read the headlines on my neighbor’s newspaper and a man walked by, smoking a cigarette, and asked, what kine dog that? I don't know, I answered, just poi. We smiled at each other and he stopped to pet Koko, then I turned my attention back to the headlines and was aggravated to see yet another front-page splash on that lame Wailua reservoir fish-stocking project. It's a perfect example of the conflict between the mission and actions of DLNR.

On the one hand, you’ve got our state aquatic biologist, Don Heacock, fighting these releases because numerous scientific papers show how badly introduced species impact the native environment.

And on the other you’ve got DLNR employee Wade Ishikawa pushing them — under the guise of “natural resource management,” no less.

As one scientist noted in an email to me:

By law DLNR is supposed to malama the natural environment, protect native species, not destroy them.

It’s the same conflict we see over feral animals, with the state caught between its mandate to protect native species and its desire to perpetuate hunting. What’s that old saying about you can’t serve two masters?

I thought about that while reading an Advertiser article that was distributed today via email under the subject heading Hewa: Settlement Proposed in Battle Over Hawaii Ceded Lands. For those who don’t know, the Hawaiian dictionary defines hewa as mistake, wrong, incorrect, defect, and the man who distributed the email often uses it to mean evil.

The proposed agreement, being drafted by attorneys for the state and OHA, calls for the lawsuit that was just bounced back from the U.S. Supreme Court to be dismissed with prejudice in return for Gov. Lingle signing a bill that would require two-thirds approval from the Lege on any sale of the so-called “ceded lands.”

The article states:

The proposal appears to be a way for the two sides to come to a compromise each can live with while taking away the uncertainty of an impending Hawai'i Supreme Court ruling.

Problem is, it would quash attempts to secure a moratorium on “ceded land” sales until Hawaiian claims are resolved. So any such settlement is bound to result in folks condemning OHA as an instrument of the state, a sell-out.

Like DLNR, OHA often finds itself caught between a rock and a hard place — which is not to say that such predicaments aren’t at times entirely of its own doing.

If you’ve been wondering what the big agribusiness and chemical companies are doing in Hawaii, you might want to check out the cover article I wrote for Honolulu Weekly. It gives an overview of what’s happening with GMOs in the Islands, and some of the related issues.

And in the midst of it all is the state again, trying to please the folks who produce our number one farm commodity, while mandated to protect the environment and public health. Except in this case, they aren't even making the pretense of serving two masters.

I’ve also got a piece in that issue on how the Maui District Court decision on Kahoolawe relates to sovereignty.

Support your independent newspapers!

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

very interesting stuff. compliments

Anonymous said...

Blue gill - rubbish fish.

Anonymous said...

That fish is a pest. Only to be used for sport fishing. Catch and release?

line of flight said...

I'm going to reiterate again, my opinion on the Kahoolawe matter:

If Reinstated Government believe the state government is not legitimate, they ought go to prison and be a political prisoner. The conscious attempt to transgress the laws of the State of Hawai'i and then raise a technical procedural/jurisdictional issue to get out of going jail, to me seems like a major case of ambivalence about the underlying claims. Gandhi, Mandela, MLKJr, Aung San Suu Kyi, and others have all spent time in prison for their part in liberating their people -- and I doubt Gandhi ever raised a jurisdictional issue when sent to jail by the viceroy.

I agree with Audre Lorde's statement that the master's tools will never dismantle the master's house. This just looks like working class post-structuralism in the court system -- which, in my mind, is reification of the impotent rage that colonialism creates in the souls of the colonized.

Anonymous said...

"they ought go to prison and be a political prisoner."

typical american response.

Problem is, in case you havenʻt noticed and are only recently starting to be exposed to the issues, is: they have been going to jail. Bottom line - for being Hawaiians.
Due to subterfuge called ʻlegislationʻ.

You are the one who has been duped.

Anonymous said...

LofF, have you met Katy Rose? You both speak the same language. The language of pretentious white people.

line of flight said...

Funny because I'm not white and I have a degree in Hawaiian studies. This response of trying to box me or anyone else into a box that can then be dismissed without addressing the underlying issues, I think is a reactionary function of a deeply damaged colonized person. The point being that there is a deep narcissism in the position that if I don't agree with you or sound familiar and comforting to you, I'm white!

I think everyone knows that American response to the Hawaiian question has been incarceration. My point with the Reinstated Kingdom, however, is that they are looking for recognition of "sovereignty" by an American court of justice. That doesn't look like liberation or decolonization (depending on which anti-colonial camp you are). Or am I missing something? Why are these Hawaiians looking to a white American woman, Judge Simone Polak, to grant them recognition as a sovereign entity? Exactly.

Successful anticolonial struggles around the world don't include the middle-class self-colonized need to get the colonizers or oppressors approval through its courts or elsewhere. Court strategies are reformist strategies (e.g. mainstream American Black movements of the 20th century), not a revolutionary strategy.

The real point is that colonialism is much more insidious and painful than we want to admit, it is then represeed and then becomes the stumbling block for real independence.

The Hawaiian situation is not that unique that it somehow is free from the same colonialism-created neuroses that every other colonized person experiences.

Anonymous said...

your mind has been colonized by pretentious white people

line of flight said...

hahaha! i appreciate what is implied by accusing me of being pretentious. although i don't think i'm really contributing anything especially significant (unless you think challenging your narrow-mindedness and neurosis is important), just ignoring what I say and boxing me in with your dismissive labels doesn't make what I say false.

Anonymous said...

"that they are looking for recognition of "sovereignty" by an American court of justice. "

No they are not.

line of flight said...

then why did they meaningfully participate in their own trial? persons who do not seek recognition or the validity of a court to pass judgment upon them are defiant and don't hire expert witnesses. have you ever seen a war tribunal?

why did they call witnesses (and experts) and seek a ruling by the judge on the matter? let me guess: they called the sovereignty experts as witnesses because they don't want to assist the court in their attempt to have it recognize their claim of sovereignty.

we really don't know what you're saying because its hard to divine the basis of your position from personal attacks on me and Katy and the one sentence statements of denial.

Anonymous said...

Iʻll guess youʻre assuming I am the same one that made a personal attack on K. Rose who at the same time made an attack on me. It was not me.
April 11, 2009 1:07 PM is another ʻanonʻ.
Please chill out.

Regarding seeking recognition, itʻs a nation to nation determination. Only one nation needs to recognize the Reinstatedʻs right to exist; and it DOES NOT have to be the U.S.

It would be diplomatic to give the occupying nation the opportunity to right the wrong.

And it appears that is what is going on.

You seem to have some quick answers and assumptions, but nothing beats research and I believe those guys have been on the road educating interested people about the reinstatement process since 1999.

Check it out. Straight from the horsesʻs mouth if you want to know.

line of flight said...

I am not dismissing the Reinstated Kingdom's work. My original statement said there was ambivalence. I have watched their presentations of public access television. They have a fairly well thought out program and have actually taken the time to do a grassroots organization across the archipelago -- unlike some "kingdom" folks. i think going into American courts, though is a major case of ambivalence for the reasons I've laid out.

I still have not heard the reasoning behind how seeking to get off on a procedural technicality by getting an American court to recognize claims of sovereignty is consistent with a claim of sovereignty in opposition to American's claim of sovereignty and dominion over the islands.

I am very interested in exploring this ambivalence further. I think it will be useful for the movement as a whole, but apparently I'm the only one.

Anonymous said...

"Problem is, in case you havenʻt noticed and are only recently starting to be exposed to the issues, is: they have been going to jail."

-- hi. can you note what the "charges" where in the examples you had in mind? (i am guessing things like "trespass"...or?). thanks

"Funny because I'm not white and I have a degree in Hawaiian studies."

--- ha. nice one!

"I think everyone knows that American response to the Hawaiian question has been incarceration."

-- i suspect a few consecutive complete sentences can be thrown together to support that contention, but it would be very hard to defend

"Only one nation needs to recognize the Reinstatedʻs right to exist; and it DOES NOT have to be the U.S."

-- well i can start a club with some kids, and we can have our own rules and "recognize" those rights etc, sure. but if that club starts taking on the powers of the state (like police powers) and/or ignore local government laws (drivers lic, for ex)...you are gonna run into some problems. so in that sense, i dunno, but "internal recognition" alone of certain powers, rights, and duties

"I am very interested in exploring this ambivalence further. I think it will be useful for the movement as a whole, but apparently I'm the only one."

-- the two "competing" powers are the current "publicly elected" gov, and this "reinstated gov" which wants more power (and recognition). one way to do this is in cooperation with the "elected" gov via its courts, leg, etc. another other way to do it is just with force (armed revolution). and there are still yet other ways too...you seemed to describe in part, for ex, how others in the past in different parts of the world had used "jail time" to their advantage, and similar methods of non-cooperative but also non-violent pressure

Anonymous said...

April 12, 2009 2:27 PM

KIND OF A LOT ʻOFF THE PAGEʻ ARENʻT YA?

Anonymous said...

eh, i read some things that were of interest and posted some comments and/or questions, ya

Anonymous said...

A: Urination

Q: 1) What did the UN say to Israel in 1948? 2) What will no other significant national government say to those crazy natives living in the state of Hawaii in the USA?

Anonymous said...

Well, they won't say "your a nation", but they would probably say "piss off".