Monday, August 3, 2009

Musings: Things Change

One thing I love about going out in nature is I’m continually reminded that nothing remains the same, and things do change. And so it was when Koko and I went walking this morning under a sky thick with clouds in the west and choked with brilliant stars and planets in the east.

Gradually, the clouds thinned in the west, revealing first Jupiter, then the hulking masses of the interior mountains, and finally brief glimpses of their summits. Meanwhile, quilted clouds poured in from the east, and by the time the sun rose, everything was consistently gray.

Of course, not all changes happen so quickly, or are so easy to detect, as I was reminded in telling a friend about Dr. Dean Saranillio’s presentation at Saturday’s “Unmasking Statehood” event. Saranillio, a professor at UH, told of how Lorrin Thurston, a leading force in the illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy, capitalized on the prevailing attitude of white supremacy to make a case for the coup and subsequent annexation.

Thurston traveled to the Chicago World Fair with an exhibit on volcanoes that played up the notion of Pele as a dark, brutal, superstitious force that destroyed men, and the Islands as the place where American civilization and Hawaiian savagery met. The fair included exhibits from around the world that portrayed the darkest races — including Hawaiians — as “primitives” that needed to catch up to the more advanced white race, with Asian races somewhere between the two extremes.

Saranillio said that Thurston hyped the idea of deposed Queen Liliuokalani as a “dangerous woman of savage termperment,” who had planned to behead and him and others for treason, even though beheading was not a common practice in Hawaii. Thurston also began advancing the notion, still prevalent today, that it wasn’t a question of whether Hawaii would be controlled, but by whom.

(And that reminded me of a question that is often raised in regard to Hawaii’s independence: shouldn’t Hawaiians be glad that America, instead of some other nation, overthrew their monarchy? I liked Ikaika Hussey’s reply: “Why should people have to choose their oppressor? The idea is to eliminate oppression and imperialism.”)

Saranillio went on to talk about how Hollywood made the film “Go for Broke!” to soften Americans’ attitudes toward the Japanese in preparation for Hawaii's statehood. He also showed a clip of William F. Quinn, who was governor of the Territory of Hawaii and went on to become the first governor of the new state, saying statehood would "allow us to sell Hawaii like never before.”

Seems big banks and insurance companies wanted to invest in the Islands, but were nervous about putting serious money into a Territory, and the tourism industry would get a boost when folks could travel someplace exotic without leaving the safety of the U.S. And of course The Big Five was all for statehood, because it would increase their profits.

Saranillio went on to talk about the opposition to statehood by Territorial Senator Alice Kamokila Campbell, who testified:

I do not feel...we should forfeit the traditional rights and privileges of the natives of our islands for a mere thimbleful of votes in Congress, that we, the lovers of Hawaii from long association with it should sacrifice our birthright for the greed of alien desires to remain on our shores, that we should satisfy the thirst for power and control of some inflated industrialists and politicians who hide under the guise of friends of Hawaii, yet still keeping an eagle eye on the financial and political pressure button of subjugation over the people in general of these islands.

He told of how she successfully sued the Hawaii Statehood Commission because opponents couldn’t access any of the $475,000 that had been allocated to lobby voters on the issue.

Saranillio finished up by discussing how Hawaii was placed on the United Nation’s list of non-self-governing territories eligible for de-colonization in 1946, but removed following the vote for statehood. He and others believe the U.S plebiscite vote was conducted illegally in 1959 because the ballot should have included the options of independence and commonwealth status, but instead included only two choices: continuing as a territory or statehood.

“When you look at it, Hawaii’s progression toward statehood was based on white supremacy, greed, propaganda, fraud and corruption,” I told my friend.

“So what’s changed here?” he asked.

I didn’t have an answer, expect that now more people know what really went down. And truth does have the power to change things.

48 comments:

Anonymous said...

The truth has been known for a long time, by anyone caring enough to look into it.

What if, for example, every major news outlet in the world - for 1 week - headlined this information in print, tv, radio, internet.

Do you think that this would somehow lead to a groundswell of outrage and the tide would turn toward "righting this outrageous wrong"?

Maybe with Chavez and Castro.

I think the world would give a collective opinion that it was too bad how it happened, but everyone is better off now and that this is not unique to history and that we have much bigger issues to deal with. The world would basically do nothing.

Six months from that one week world-wide media blitz, possibly less, attention would have moved on as if it never happened. Tourism would probably increase, however.

Ignorance vs apathy. The "I don't know" vs the "I don't care".

Look at Tibet. The Dali Lama, an internationally visible symbol of the situation, has not effected change, yet everybody knows.

Getting the word out to everybody, not just those actively searching for it, would result in the elimination of the former, but you would be left with the latter.

And that is insurmountable.

Katy said...

Joan - It's Dean Saranillio.

Dawson said...

"And that is insurmountable."

Today.

And perhaps tomorrow.

And perhaps within your lifetime, and mine, and everyone now alive.

But permanently insurmountable? Impossible.

Revolution drives evolution.

Katy said...

I agree that education about the issue of US colonialism in Hawai'i is not enough to eliminate it, but it is a crucial part of the struggle.

Whether one believes things will change within her lifetime or not is not as important as working for what one believes in. The alternative is to lapse into cynicism, and luckily, some people choose to avoid that.

Where would we be today if some of the seemingly unchangeable conditions of the past - like slavery - hadn't been challenged by people who never saw the results of their struggle within their own lifetimes.

To paraphrase a wise quote - it's not up to us to finish the work. Neither is it up to us to desist from it.

Anonymous said...

OK..."permanently" may be over-reaching.

"The Movement" has a non-zero precent probability of attainment at some undefined date far, far into the future.

Of course, by that I mean "zero point zero zero zero, etc, 1" percent probability.

As to "far, far"...well, the Roman Empire lasted 500 years. Based on that, you have 300 years to go before whatever future "barbarians" storm the gates...and who knows...you may then have a new master...

But, if even that faint glow of hope, as of a dead star whose dying light reaches us billions of years after the fact, is enough to charge your ideological passions, then enjoy your pursuit.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I've always been cynical, and rarely been disappointed.

My motto: Within every silver lining there's a black cloud."

and

"Within every life a little rain must fall, followed by large hail and damaging winds".

Anonymous said...

one wonders if the "hawaii independence movement" will do much better than, say, the "puerto rico independence movement"

personally, i dont see where it will be any more successful. doing little more than railing against the US, while the US offers a pretty obvious largesse to people in HI, is not really going to go anywhere


dwps

Anonymous said...

Puerto Rico...our 51st atate?

Joan Conrow said...

Joan - It's Dean Saranillio.

Thanks for catching, Katy.

Anonymous said...

"one week world-wide media blitz, possibly less, attention would have moved on as if it never happened."

Well Michael Jackson's death is still "hot" and in the mass media. Of course I guess that's one of the "much bigger issues to deal with." you were talking about. May I suggest a life coach to help you better arrange your priorities?

Anonymous said...

There you go, assuming I follow MJ's death. I do not (although I do wonder where his nose is, and the rest of his body).

You make my point though. The world is more interested in dead MJ and alive Brittany Spears, iphones, etc, than Iran having (?) nuke bomb capability.

Where in the grand scheme of things both serious and mundane in the world's consciousness is "the Hawaiian question"?

Pretty damn low.

Dawson said...

"Where in the grand scheme of things both serious and mundane in the world's consciousness is "the Hawaiian question"?

Pretty damn low."


True enough. But then, never in history has popularity with the majority meant squat to the outcome of a minority movement.

The great lie of today's Western culture is it convinces people that things have been always thus.

Anonymous said...

What is this "western culture" thing.

Hawaii isn't "eastern".

Anonymous said...

Let's have a vote kingdom or statehood.
Kingdom proponets can even pay for it. Of course maybe the illegal immigrants shouln't be able to vote.

Kamoho said...

Another key point in the voting process was that non-resident military personnel were allowed to vote in the election. In 1959, there were over 100,000 military personnel in the islands at the time. That effectively skewed the vote in favor of the U.S.

Anonymous said...

This reminds me of the old baseball story:

Batter hits a good one...slides into base.

Ump shouts "Safe!" while at the same time giving the "You're Out!" one-arm thumb sign.

He and the batter have a conversation that goes like this:

"Look...you and I both know that you're safe, but 50,000 fans here and a million on TV know you're out...so you're out!"

So...whining about technicalities 50 years after the vote and 110 some years after the "overthrow" means nothing.

Everyone in the world feels that Hawaii is a state...and so it shall remain.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

"popularity with the majority" will be crucial in attaining your separatist dreams.

And that popularity is itself a dream.

Dawson said...

What is this "western culture" thing.

You mean besides a bunch of old white guys with money in one pocket, power in the other and one helluva half-millennium run as top dogs, who have convinced themselves they own the planet in perpetuity?

They're top dogs. For now.

But who, smelling the future, are running more scared year by year.


Everyone in the world feels that Hawaii is a state...and so it shall remain.

"popularity with the majority" will be crucial in attaining your separatist dreams. And that popularity is itself a dream.

Preach it, brothers! Louder, please -- your congregation seems to be losing faith in their own omnipotence, and yours.

Anonymous said...

We're not losing faith...ours' is grounded in reality and history.

Yours, however, is grounded in some sense that "right and good" will prevail.

Now, that's a misguided understanding of history.

Anonymous said...

It's obvious that "we" hold diametrically different views of the world and its future relative to "the hawaiian question" and other future possibilities.

There is no hope of convincing "you" of our beliefs as there is no hope that "you" will ever convince "us" of the viability of your dreams.

Therefore, further debate here has no useful value...

...other then the "poking sticks into anthills" humor value so valued in our society.

Hire the handicapped...they're fun to watch.

watchdog said...
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Kawehi said...

Well since trying to point out facts or truth to some of these RAGING idiots on Joanʻs blog seems absolutely pointless. We have reverted to idiocy, name calling, and the downright bastardization of the trite english language in the comments that have followed. A true sign of American intelligence and the paradigm in which they exist.

Moving on...

Hawaiianʻs would have never had the threat of another OCCUPIER here in Hawaiʻi because it NEVER would have happened. We donʻt need to choose an occupier because our form of government secured our place in our international community that we helped to build prior to Americaʻs rape of the WORLDʻS resources and treaties of peace. We as a Hawaiian nation had proved enough political power to get us through the mid 21st century, despite the fact that we are currently occupied America should still be held to standard for the treaty they broke that sparked the World Warʻs across our planet.

Unfortunately America canʻt keep their hands to themselves and have continuously waged war on the rest of the world since their illegal occupation began. Starting with with their war against Spain during the Spanish/American War, and it just continued from there. And you all thought Hitler was a bad guy... Iʻm sure AMERICAʻS casualties for "freedom" trumps Hitlerʻs head count any day.

Then after America imperialistically conquered Spanish colonies throughout the Pacific and other regions of the Americaʻs; shit sort of hit the fan and they backed off. World powers were beginning to mount in places like Russia, Germany, England, France, and Italy. As they saw Americaʻs war with Spain as opportunistic to build defenses and wage war on the others since TREATIES OF FRIENDSHIP AND COMMERCE no longer meant ANYTHING. By the beginning of the 20th century all hell had broke loose through out Europe. Bringing us the GREAT war that led us on into WWII.

Many historians will try and blame it on other nationʻs as we so love to read it in our skewed history books in America a.k.a. NAZI germany. But in reality when you look at it. America began the great span of wars that would continue until today. And you wonder why places like Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan have ramped up their efforts in creating nuclear power to defend themselves against Americaʻs history of imperial conquest. I think we would have done the same thing, only Hawaii was the pawn in this game of imperial conquest.

We could go back and forth screaming names like I said. But in reality this is a battle of good and evil. And if you donʻt recognize what that evil is. That evil is greed. It is expansion of power in the name of sacrificial blood in the name of Americaʻs empire. An empire built upon the blood of not only Americanʻs fighting for a false sense of freedom, but international casualties that are the pinnacle of their crimes against humanity.

Anonymous said...

Haha! Yeah, and the Franco-Prussian War of 1792 was Amerika's fault, and the Manchu Conquest of China, and the Thirty Years' War, and the first Jewish-Roman War, and the Crusades!

Anonymous said...

America is not AT war. America IS war!

I wouldn't count on 500 years of empire like the Romans. Less resources left and unseen enemies everywhere. Stay tuned for changes happening faster than the slow witted ever imagined.

Anonymous said...

Stay tuned for changes happening faster than the slow witted ever imagined.

Sure thing. And Jesus is coming reeeeeal soon, too.

Anonymous said...

i mean seriously..

"Hawaiianʻs would have never had the threat of another OCCUPIER here in Hawaiʻi because it NEVER would have happened"

-- france and the UK did


"prior to Americaʻs rape of the WORLDʻS resources and treaties of peace."

-- examples? (pick them carefully ;)


"the treaty they broke that sparked the World Warʻs across our planet"

-- say what?


"Iʻm sure AMERICAʻS casualties for "freedom" trumps Hitlerʻs head count any day."

-- i totally believe you view this as fact

and yes, those spanish colonies loved being under spain...


"Bringing us the GREAT war that led us on into WWII."

-- it was hoped you were going to cite US policy as to japan and oil, or even US/Mexico policy, zimmerman letter...something. but again, complete nonsense


"Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan have ramped up their efforts in creating nuclear power to defend themselves"

-- yes i hear afgan is making real RnD strides in their opium bomb program..


"An empire built upon the blood of" pioneers, indians, slaves, and soldiers; organized around a brilliant set of governing documents; with the benefit of an ocean on either side and great natural resources; thankfully still attracting and growing driven and innovative people

but sadly, your comment does seem to be your honest world view. im gonna blame public schools here


ps - "I wouldn't count on 500 years of empire like the Romans."

-- agreed. things move faster these days (see china)


dwps

Dawson said...

"sadly, your comment does seem to be your honest world view. im gonna blame public schools here"

Alternate reality though Kawehi's post may seem, it would be a mistake to dismiss the numbers of people worldwide who share similar views.

And it would be a mistake to blame public education. In California's schools in the late 1950's and early '60's, I was taught a distorted history of California's mission system that was at least as inaccurate, and infinitely more self-serving, than Kawehi's post.

The biggest mistake of all, however, would be to assume that because the poster's view of history is unsupported by the view of history that Americans accept, America is automatically clear of any connection to it and bears no responsibility in its creation.

The big difference between people who grow up as part of a dominant culture and those who grow up subjugated by it, is that the former accept at least the broad outline of their culture's worldview and interpretation of history, while the latter do not.

In that respect, the American view of world history is increasingly in the minority outside of America.

Disagree with the history in Kawehi's post or not, he echoes one great truth: in its manipulation of history, in its self-serving political disloyalty, and in its treaties with the indigenous people it has conquered, America can not be trusted.

Anonymous said...

What do facts and truth have to do with it? You somehow think this is meaningful and will change things.

America owns Hawaii as its 50th state. 99.999% of the world believes and agrees with it.

So keep bleating out your "facts and truth" to all who would listen...many for the purpose of declaring you nut-cases shouting from soap boxes. May as well add 2 more ineffectual words..."free Tibet".

Nobody cares. Or, at least, not enough to amount to a fart in a windstorm.

Anonymous said...

Degenerate views...tell us why you hate Hawaiian people so? What are you doing here?

Anonymous said...

"But in reality this is a battle of good and evil. And if you donʻt recognize what that evil is. That evil is greed. It is expansion of power in the name of sacrificial blood in the name of Americaʻs empire. An empire built upon the blood of not only Americanʻs fighting for a false sense of freedom, but international casualties that are the pinnacle of their crimes against humanity."

This is the crux of the issue. This is what made Hawaii a colony.

Anonymous said...

"What do facts and truth have to do with it?"

- the rational may have an advantage over the deluded?

"Nobody cares. Or, at least, not enough to amount to a fart in a windstorm."

- That's what everyone in Cuba thought before Che, Fidel and a small band of revolutionaries proved them wrong. Does this sound familiar

"The enemy soldier in the Cuban example which at present concerns us, is the junior partner of the dictator; he is the man who gets the last crumb left by a long line of profiteers that begins in Wall Street and ends with him. He is disposed to defend his privileges, but he is disposed to defend them only to the degree that they are important to him. His salary and his pension are worth some suffering and some dangers, but they are never worth his life. If the price of maintaining them will cost it, he is better off giving them up; that is to say, withdrawing from the face of the guerrilla danger."
— Che Guevara, guerrilla 1958

Anonymous said...

"Alternate reality though Kawehi's post may seem, it would be a mistake to dismiss the numbers of people worldwide who share similar views."

-- there is just no way i believe you are going to sign onto (even the rough majority of) that comment's historical accounting


as to calling out "self-serving" and inaccurate historical school texts. i could not support such an effort more. and i hear such books are still floating around (mostly in texas? :)


"the poster's view of history is [largely] unsupported by" fact.


as to "dominate cultures" or otherwise, and the world view of one or the other - sure, such tends to shape how they see things. but it does not mean a given group, or person from same, cant easily end up seeing things pretty clearly. there are just too many examples to the contrary (of what seems to be your assertion, as i understand it)


"In that respect, the American view of world history is increasingly in the minority outside of America."

-- i could easily cite many US historians who are well internationally respected


as to "America can not be trusted."

-- look. of course one can put together an intellectually honest, based in fact, and good faith argument that the US is -- on the net -- a "bad actor," all things being relative. but few are able to do this well


"tell us why you hate Hawaiian people so? What are you doing here?"

-- i hold no hate for them, speaking for myself. and i am here (like many others) because the weather is good, to answer your question


che prompts interesting questions. would fidel have turned dictator, even if he and the US were not antagonists? how do modern cuban political prisoners feel about che? a good che movie came out not to long ago; i recommend


dwps
dwps

Anonymous said...

Che or the outcome of the Cuban revolution is not the significant aspect of the comment. What is significant is nobody expected it and a small group of revolutionaries made it happen.

Anonymous said...

So, maybe, a Hawaiian "Che" will emerge to mount a "shock and awe" revolutionary movement that will "free" Hawaii?????????

With the current military presence in Hawaii?????????

I want to smoke/drink what you're doing!

Dreamers...maybe if you channeled your energies into sustainable power solutions or something you'd make a real contribution to the nation (the US, that is, of which you're a part).

Anonymous said...

"I believe that there is no country in the world including any and all the countries under colonial domination, where economic colonization, humiliation and exploitation were worse than in Cuba, in part owing to my country’s policies during the Batista regime. I approved the proclamation which Fidel Castro made in the Sierra Maestra, when he justifiably called for justice and especially yearned to rid Cuba of corruption. I will even go further: to some extent it is as though Batista was the incarnation of a number of sins on the part of the United States. Now we shall have to pay for those sins. In the matter of the Batista regime, I am in agreement with the first Cuban revolutionaries. That is perfectly clear."

– U.S. President John F. Kennedy, interview with Jean Daniel, October 24 1963

Anonymous said...

"With the current military presence in Hawaii?????????"

hehehe.... You fool! Just because I am in the military living off the government cheese does not mean I will obey orders.

Anonymous said...

there are many examples of relatively small groups of jerks and/or well meaning people picking up some guns and overthrowing a given regime. what sort of system they then create and maintain, is equally (if not more) important

iran, zimbabwe, poland, nicaragua, sudan, and romania are "recent" case studies that come to mind


dwps

Anonymous said...

The majority of those seem not to be an improvement over the old regime.

Anonymous said...

"iran, zimbabwe, poland, nicaragua, sudan, and romania are "recent" case studies that come to mind"

Are these jerks, well meaning people or both?

Anonymous said...

"The majority of those seem not to be an improvement over the old regime."

Have you recently been to these places? If not how would you know?

Anonymous said...

Yep we here in Romania sure long for the policies of Ceauşescu. To bad we executed him.

Anonymous said...

"Are these jerks, well meaning people or both?"

-- heck if i know for sure, but the polish thing in '89 seemed like it was led by some good people (and while not "violent," it looked like a "revolution" of sorts to me), as where the one in sudan (also, interestingly, in '89) looks now like a bunch of thugs led it

still, kauai does not (should not) have the luxury of thinking about such things till it gets its drug and sex crimes down, among other pressing and real problems


darwin_was_pretty_smart

Anonymous said...

Come on...we've kicked this pig around enough already...it's Wednesday...we need another steaming pile of musings to buzz over like the flies we are.

And that includes all sides of this issue.

Anonymous said...

"still, kauai does not (should not) have the luxury of thinking about such things till it gets its drug and sex crimes down, among other pressing and real problems"

The Hawaiians had no sex or drugs which appear to be a coping mechanism in the face of cultural imperialism. Turn the despair that feeds addiction into anger against the capitalists and keep pressing on all fronts against these sociopaths. Give them some of that tough love to clearly send a message that the gig is up, its over and ain't going any further. Ain't no flies on me Bub!

Anonymous said...

yah..I see that all the time...tents surrounded by crappy cars...sign-waving locals by the side of the road...real third-world.

Revolution my ass, losers.

nunya said...

Regarding the question of: If the U.S. didnʻt take over Hawaii, who would?

I called in on this show and responded with the treaties as did Kane Pa. The U.S. was the only country arrogant enough to invade a sovereign nation; as to your end of show caller, the Indian gentleman, who said Kane should forget about the treaties as an argument because they had 750 treaties that were violated...well again, it was the U.S. who invaded the Indiansʻ sovereignty.

So in this context, we must never ever discount the treaties.
It was the U.S. in both instances that violated these 2 sovereign states.