Saturday, November 10, 2007

Musings: Rockets and Bones

A nice thing about Saturdays is I can walk a bit later, when it’s actually light, without encountering many cars, save for the odd hunter’s truck with the bed packed full of dogs. This is their day to romp.

Ran into my neighbor Andy and he shared part of my walk, discussing sacred land, iwi kupuna and a historic house in the neighborhood. Conversations with Andy are always far ranging and informative.

I brought up the topic of iwi kupuna — ancient Hawaiian bones — because I attended a talk by Kyle Kajihiro and Terri Kekoolani last night on militarism in Hawaii and the role of the Superferry.

Terri told of becoming active in the issue after encountering boxes filled with human remains at Bishop Museum. Some 2,000 Hawaiian burials were dug up at Mokapu during construction of the Kaneohe Air Base on Oahu, and she’s been involved with efforts to have them returned to their original resting place.

“My ancestors were removed from their gravesites for a military facility,” she said. “This is the impact of militarism on our people.”

Of course, the impacts began in 1893, when U.S. Marines aided sugar planters in the illegal overthrow of Hawaii’s monarchy, and the military presence has been expanding ever since.

Now the push is on to beef it up ever more, as I wrote about recently in Honolulu Weekly, especially at Kauai’s PMRF, which launches missiles from Nohili — dunes filled with burials, much like Mokapu.

The U.S. has engaged in similar scenarios of military domination on other tropical islands, like Okinawa and Vieques, in Puerto Rico — resulting in the same land destruction, pollution and cultural impacts we’ve seen in Hawaii.

“Why do people do this?” Terri asked rhetorically.

I’d finger the usual suspects: fear, power, greed.

While we’re on those subjects, I was extremely troubled by the Senate’s 53-40 vote to confirm Michael Mukasey as the new U.S. Attorney General, despite his refusal to classify waterboarding as a form of torture. Even if Congress passes a law against waterboarding, as some Senators suggested, it won’t change the guy’s basic principles and views.

It’s particularly disheartening that six Democrats joined Republicans to get Mukasey approved. What’s the point of regaining control of the Senate if lawmakers jump the political fence to support President Bush?

It’s similar to how our Democrat-controlled Legislature backed Republican Gov. Linda Lingle on the Superferry bail out bill. But at least Hawaii lawmakers can claim their constituents support the Superferry. Have folks been calling their Senators to say they want the military to keep torturing people in military prisons?

Still, Kyle noted, “there’s global resistance to this kind of action happening,” and many communities have found — once people got over their fear — that “non-violent resistance added value to their daily lives,” resulting in greater cooperation and various human service initiatives.

I know I'm not the only one who sees that as a possible positive outcome of Kauai's opposition to the Superferry.

“The struggle itself was the teacher," Kyle said. "They learned new ways of relating to one another and created a microcosm of the kind of world they wanted to live in. I think society is sick when people sit back and just let things happen to them.”

He also discussed the military’s plans to use the Superferry to transport the Stryker brigade, which he said "is aimed at suppressing resistance in Hawaii," and warned Hawaii is “not far from the day when environmental activists and military activists will be branded as terrorists.”

Actually, it seems that day has already come, seeing how anti-terrorism laws and the Homeland Security Act were used to create the new federal “security zone” at Nawiliwili Harbor.

Ultimately, those engaged in civil disobedience need to consider one key question, which was raised at the meeting by my friend, Jim Alalem.

"Are you prepared to die for what you believe in? Because this is all commitment stuff. If you guys going, you gotta go all the way."


robertwood said...

Some additional Michael Mukasey memorabilia.

1.) NYT "Mukasey Wins Vote in Senate, Despite Doubts" - excerpt:

"All five senators who are running for president -- Joseph R. Biden Jr., Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Christopher J. Dodd, all Democrats, and John McCain -- did not cast votes."

If your interests are so inclined, please be sure to check out the Reader' Comments that accompany this article.

2.) An interesting, albeit quite depressing, discussion exploring some perceptions of the waterboarding interrogation technique, takes place as part of this week's WNYC show "On The Media".

Anonymous said...

First, move the bones to some central burial location and respectfully treat them there...DO NOT let them stand in the way of what "the living" want to do.

Spit in any direction and you're likely to have Hawaiian bones underground. Is that a valid reason to stop all progress??? NO!!!

Secondly, "die for what you believe in"??? Come on now. You're going to die in opposition of the Superferry??? More comical then tragic, if so.

Anonymous said...

The above comment reveals alot of arrogance and ignorance. Why not accept that the respectful treatment of ancestral remains is a core value to the Kanaka Maoli? Why not accept that leaving them where they belong is appropriate? I was not raised to understand that level of reverence, but that doesn't mean I can't respect other peoples' ways.

There are indeed people who are willing to die in land struggles. There is nothing stupid about that. The Superferry itself is part of a long chain of events robbing the people of self-determination. It's not JUST about the boat!

Anonymous said...

Why not accept that Hawaii is now part of the USA and there is a precedent for respectfully moving bones to another location for the greater good of all.

The people have no self-determination other than their vote in various elections. There is no other way in the USA, to which Hawaii and all its people belong.

Stop with the sovreignity thing already...Hawaii will NEVER be seperated from the USA...native Hawaiians may become a "tribe", but from what I read, even a significant number of them(majority?) don't want that.

Anonymous said...

Dear Joan: I must point out to you and your readers the erroneous, mileading, politically charged myth of US Marines being engaged in the over throw of Queen Liliuokalani in 1893 when you wrote in your blog the following false information: Of course, the impacts began in 1893, when U.S. Marines aided sugar planters in the illegal overthrow of Hawaii’s monarchy....
Your statement is countrary to the facts proved from all of the historic records including sworn testimony from eye witnesses. I suggest you read a couple of books which are loaded with the true facts and authenticated with validating citations regarding the overthrow of the corrupt Hawaiian Monarchy that treated Hawaiians so very badly: Do the Facts Matter; and Hawaiian Apartheid by Ken Conklin. These two books blow the cover from the history rewriters at UH, the corrupt politicians of today including Race-based policy queen and convicted felon Linda Lingle, and the big super wealthy Trusts and Foundations like KSBE whose officials are fomenting and rewarding financially the media and others who promote and pertetuate the on going Hawaiian Victimhood Fraud and the Tribalization of Native Hawaiians.
Time to impeach Linda Lingle and Duke Aiona for TREASON, making war on the people of Hawaii.

Larry said...

Somewhere in my disorganized computer is a picture, originally from the Microsoft on-line encyclopedia, of Iolani Palace surrounded with Gatling guns pointing outward and sandbags.

So whose Gatling guns were they?

How come Hawaii was not annexed legally? The components of the overthrow seem well enough established.

Nor is Hawaii the only place the US invaded and occupied during that period of expansion.

Nothing I say will matter to revisionists, and Comments on a blog aren't the place to debate the details anyway.

Anonymous said...

George Peabody, the U.S. Marines did assist in the overthrow of the Queen. It is well documented and Congress even passed a resolution admitting as much.

Anonymous said...

The defensive revisionists should ask themselves: if someone came and forcibly occupied your house, threw you out into the yard, and thereby claimed your home and all that you had to leave to your descendants, how long would you keep fighting to right that wrong? Would you hope that your children and your children's children would continue the struggle to reclaim their inheritance? That is what Native peoples around the world face.

Anonymous said...

No...I'd move on with my life and make a new and hopefully better one in "the new reality". I would never fight for "the past".

Just ask all those displaced persons (DP's as they were once referred to) from Europe and Asia now living in other countries making quite a good life for themselves.

Anonymous said...

The problem with some Americans is that they love to run away to another culture such as Hawaii to get away from all of the destruction that they've created on the continent and when they get here, they want to ruin it again with the SOS in the name of their "progress". No wonder people in other countries hate them. Just because Hawaii "may" be a part of the USA doesn't mean that Hawaii is supposed to abandon its unique culture. Part of that culture includes respecting our ancestral burials and leaving them alone!

Anonymous said...

There's no "may" about it. Hawaii IS part of the USA. As such, certain changes are being made based on the "new way of doing things".

You can spit in any direction and hit Hawaiian bones...therefore, should no new things be developed?

Look how those idiots killed the geothermal electic initiative, and how they are working against astronomy on Mauna Kea.

Save those "gods of the land and mountain" and "bones/spirits of our ancestors" crap for the tourists and let's get on with the 21st century.

Anonymous said...

There is nothing "new" about what Americans have to offer. They are all old ideas that have already been implemented somewhere else and probably ruined the place at the same time all in the name of stupid insensitive "American progress". The True Geothermal Plant was in the wrong forest. That's the forest that many Hawaiians used and still use for their medicinal needs. The location of the current geothermal plant is on the spot of the Kapoho eruption. Currently it provides 20% of our island's electricity. We will leave it to Pele to decide when she has had enough. As for the Astronomy atop Mauna Kea? How many telescopes do we need up there to check out the universe? And what are they looking for? Another liveable planet so that the rich Americans can fly there and ruin it too?
The 21st century should be one in which we
should quit repeating our mistakes and clean up the ones we have made.
BTW, speaking of "new" technology, pretty soon, geothermal energy will be obsolete.

Joan Conrow said...

Dear jkeliipio. I couldn't have said it better myself. And since you did, I don't have to. Mahalo.

Anonymous said...

Like I told my kids, write down what you think ought to happen and what will happen, seal it in an envelope and open it in 20 years.

I'll bet (as I did with them, 20 years ago, and won) that my version of the future is a lot closer than their version.

I don't care about what is right or wrong...just what is and what has the highest probability of being in the future...and how to profit by it.

Say what you will...dream what you will...but the future, as far as our lifetimes go, is pretty much set.

I can live with that quite happily.

robertwood said...
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robertwood said...
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robertwood said...

Dear Gadfly,

We must seriously question the conviction of your statement:

"I can live with that quite happily."

Why has it been necessary for you to restate your position ad nauseam, for so many weeks?

Secondly, so many of your comments are simply rhetorical; rather than presenting solid first hand experience to corroborate your assertions. Please consider the following:

"Just ask all those displaced persons (DP's as they were once referred to) from Europe and Asia now living in other countries making quite a good life for themselves."

Please tell us of your experience with these individuals and their cultural histories. Physically relocated due to many stressful circumstances agreed; culturally removed, I fervently disagree.

Further you state:

"I don't care about what is right or wrong...just what is and what has the highest probability of being in the future...and how to profit by it."

The "just what is" portion of your position is not based on present reality. Rather your "dream" of what Hawaii may become.

Lastly, please help me to appreciate the quality in your character that permits the total disregard for the cultural background of your fellow human beings?

Sincerely, quite truthfully. I wish to understand your views to the best of your ability to present them.

Best, Robert

Tane said...

gadfly said...
First, move the bones to some central burial location and respectfully treat them there...DO NOT let them stand in the way of what "the living" want to do.

This is repugnant and sets a precedent to desecrate all cemetaries on the island. This sounds like a haole melika with no roots in Hawaii. Shall we dispose of Gladfly's family in like-manner?Gadfly is an appropriate appellate for him/her, a tormenting insect with limited intelligence and values and very predictable.

US overly militarization is encrouching on our islands. Barking Sands was our playground growing up; now it's a military resort area with watersports and a marina with shops and cottages. I think it time for the USA to deoccupy Hawaii as it's long overdue.

As for Peabody, he joins the list of ultracrepidarian critics such as historical revisionist Ken Conklin. You notice the authors of the books mentioned are newcomers to the islands with their own agendas.

It wasn't the constitutional monarchy that treated the people so bad; it was the conniving US Americans since 1826 and earlier. I suggest you check out the journals in the Library of Congress to get a better light on the subject instead of speaking from ignorance. US government's complicity is deeper than implied.

Many forget the Ku'e petitions whereby 98% of Hawaii Nationals protested the US attempt of annexation and the invasion of our peaceful, friendly, neutral country.

Many of us know our true history; we come from here and our family were present when all this transpired. We love our country as much as US Americans love their country. It's best not to preach to us of our history; we have our own eye-witnesses that accounted for what happened. It behooves people to learn the laws of occupation and the US violations of them. Then, there is the issue of Hawaii's neutrality. The US actions fomented shame and dishonor on itself and it won't be cleansed until justice is done and it deoccupies Hawaii once and for all. God bless Hawaii!

Anonymous said...

My politics runs slightly to the right of Attila the Hun. I would make Bush seem like a bleeding-heart liberial.

My psych background runs towards the sociopathic. If I'd really applied myself, I could have been either a CIA operative or a serial killer. I settled for management consultant...somewhat a toned-down version of the two.

I'm blessed with a flexible morality that allows me to gain personal wins at almost any cost, with no regrets.

I'm extremely disassociative towards others and have created a sustainable (!!) world around "me and mine" that will last forever (being defined as the rest of our natural lives). Beyond that, I really don't give a damn.

I enjoy taking the role of "amused outsider" on these blogs, although I do live on the Kona Coast. All this back-and-forth stuff about a "better tomorrow" is just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

Anything else you want to know...just ask!

Anonymous said...

PS - I also have multiple advanced degrees in various aspects of the behaviorial sciences and am the "anon" poster living the smug gated rich retired life with opinions generally denegrating the "locals". Of course, I'm pro-HSF, anti-"native entitlements", and the "get with the program, your in the USA now" guy.

Regarding the various wing-nut initiaves proposed by various and sundry folks here, "good luck storming the castle".

I love incorporating movie lines.

Anonymous said...

Wow. On the other hand, I trust my neighbors, don't lock my door, and feel comfortable and happy in my community most of the time. You're missing out, and I'm sorry for you.

robertwood said...

Hi Gadfly,

You are a funny fellow that can on occasion write with an amusing style.

Although, I do not think that your chatty nature would pass our CIA/NSA standards of review criteria at the present time. Unless, of course, you are attempting to proselytize an extremely fake cover. Still the performance, so far, is a bit more the bumbling Inspector Jacques Clouseau vs. the slick Commander James Bond.

Please apply these purported "advanced degrees in various aspects of the behavioral sciences" to the pathology of your blog presence.

What compels you to post to these blogs?

Please do not misread this inquiry. I am by no means suggesting that you are unwelcome; it is neither my place nor my desire to offer any suggestion of the sort.

However, with a world so self-contained and self-satisfied, what could possibly interest you in the mundane concerns of the blogs?

There is a heart beat in there somewhere; you have unsuccessfully masked its rhythm. I ask you to consider the weigh of your words. Intentional or not, you inflect pain with your comments. This may seem silly to you, but it is quite truthfully a reality. Many of the folks that read these blogs do not possess your professed financial and moral advantages. Yet, they are honorable people; and have the joy their lives to lead for better or worse.

Please consider restraining your assaults upon folks and their believes that have never directed any harm toward you.



Joan Conrow said...

Dear Robert and Gadfly,
Thank you both for this exchange. It's been quite enlightening, and I do hope Gadfly can be a bit more sensitive, especially toward Hawaiians. It's not necessary to denigrate someone's culture, just because you don't share their beliefs.

I also have wondered why Gadfly visits the blogs, and have sensed his deep desire to connect -- even while professing he needs no one and nothing, save for his wife. I look forward to his answers, and hope he will engage in the quest to rediscover his humanity.

Anonymous said...

I never visited blogs before the HSF conflict. Then I collected about 11 of them, reading them as I do the online versions of most Hawaiian newspapers. I always liked the "letters to the ed" portion of all papers, and the blogs I now follow seem to be a like-kind extension of that.

Robert, your statement about my "purported" advanced degrees and the "pathology" of my blog presence is such a personal hurtful...I must take a moment (sniff)...
OK, I'm back. I do hold degrees beyond the BA in the areas of social psych, industrial/organizational behavior, group dynamics, org behavior/design. A couple of Masters and one PhD.

A long time ago I used to teach these things at the university level prior to moving on to the much greener pastures of consulting.

My mantras in the consulting field included: "no service too small, no invoice too large"; "there's a client born every minute"; and "if you can't laugh at your clients, who can you laugh at?"

I made obscene profits at it and now I'm here, reaping the rewards of all my hard work.

My most recent hobby is sitting next to the babbling blogosphere brook and ocassionally tossing a stone in...sometimes a pebble...sometimes a rock...just to see how the ripples form and interact.

I'm forming theories on the group dynamics of blogs from a "participant research" viewpoint.
It's fun to play this game on other message boards as well, I've found.

Sometimes I do take on different personnas as well, like one of the "anon" posters as well as "gadfly" here. I'm known by other diverse handles elsewhere.

The "just what is" comment I made is indeed based on current reality...the reality of my segment of the population, of course. Hawaii is the playground of the rich (if you're one of them and can stand outside all the state's faults).

But, enough about this. Back to our regularly scheduled programming!

So many pots to stur, so little time...

Anonymous said...

wow, gadfly, are you posting from a nearbye lock down phsyche ward, or from another country, where it is probably cheaper to confine you to your padded cell 24/7?
i mean shoots, brah you are one scary your own mind, of course, and also a legend in it, as well. It must be a dark and scary place, populated by all sorts of interesting charactoers. Ever hear of a god complex?...i think your phsychosis has entered the stratosphere.
adjust your medications, give the lab coat back to the ward clerks, and stop breaking into the ward staff room to use the internet, you know your not allowed, its part of your therapy. now get back to your room, its time for your demerol shot, now before we put you in lockdown again. and stop scaring the nice poeple on the blogs, tyhey can see right through you.