Those who support Molokai folks in their quest for self-determination, as well as people involved with the Hawaii Superferry demonstrations, will appreciate the action at Kaunakakai Harbor yesterday, where about 50 persons protested the return of a 36-passenger vessel operated by American Safari Cruises.
Here's a link to a short video clip of the protest, which was posted with the text:
On January 21st 2012 over 100 police, coast guard, us sheriffs, and fbi converged on the tiny isle of Moloka'i. To protect a private luxury yacht and it's 36 passengers. At a cost of over $1 million dollars.
One of the background comments recorded on the video:
Well, I guess the governor really proved his point. He's the man. Can strong-arm Molokai.
Ya really gotta wonder, why would that cruise ship want to bring passengers to a place where they're so clearly not wanted? A sign held by one protestor offers an answer: GREED IZ DA PROBLEM.
According to a very short report in the Star-Advertiser:
The Coast Guard used a cutter to escort the American Safari Cruises 36-passenger ship, with a response boat and 27 Coast Guard personnel assisting on the ground, as well as a few manning small boats from the Marine Safety and Security Team from San Francisco, which was here for the recent presidential visit.
The FBI, Department of Land and Natural Resources, Maui County police and deputy sheriffs were also on hand.
The clamp down followed an action on Nov. 26, 2011, when Molokai folks used surfboats and small boats to block the cruise ship from entering Kaunakakai Harbor. It eventually turned around left.
But now it's back, with an armed escort. As a protestor addressing the ship and its escort with a bullhorn said:
We don't know who you're protecting. Not us. Molokai has always peacefully demonstrated and yet you guys come here fully loaded, armed and ready to shoot. What's up with that? What you guys gonna do? Shoot our kids? You gonna shoot the kupuna?
We're not terrorists. We love this place. Do you guys love this place? You don't even know this place. Therefore, leave.
It's a pretty sad state of affairs when the government is forcing tourism on kanaka at the point of a gun. As the sign held by one kupuna read: Respect the Lifestyle and Desires of Local People.