Letters for Thursday, May 31, 2007

• On original deeds

• Why the cover up?

On original deeds

One of my favorite remarks coming from a councilmember was when one of them said to Anahola residents who were stating their opposition to an extension of the bike path, “Well, why not, you could sell shave ice to the haoles.”

But for breathtaking unawareness, I’d vote instead, over even the councilmember, for the descendant of King Kamehameha who wants to have Kaua‘i conceded to him. Over all of history there have been men whose idea of living the good life involved conquest (killing), plunder (stealing), and rule (government). That honored king, King Kamehameha, by his and his thugs overrunning the islands not under his control and “uniting” the Hawaiian people was able to live sumptuously thereafter. He had 25 wives, for example. The first of whom was 13. He was a great believer in the kapu system, which under him meant for one thing that women were prohibited from eating coconuts, bananas, pork, and certain kinds of fish. They were allowed to bend over in the taro fields, however, though none of them who were not hula dancers could walk into one of the sacred heiau where all the rules were made. Commoners were not allowed any contact whatsoever under punishment by death with the King’s hair or fingernail clippings, or even his shadow. Best not to have looked him in the eye, either. Grown men were enlisted in building heiau and if one of them dropped a stone, “he was killed on the spot.” I heard one fellow at a council meeting who was protesting any kind of developmental disturbance of a heiau say those very words in the context of these areas being sacred.

Yes, by all means let’s bring back the rule of Kamehameha. Maybe we could also go back to living without modern medicine, indoor plumbing, electricity, food that doesn’t require backbreaking labor, travel, education, and innumerable other expendable conveniences that have changed the island for the worse. Somehow I doubt, however, that the ancestor of the King wants to go back that far, he only wants what there is now and doesn’t have to do anything for it all except interject his bloodline into the argument. Good luck.

I do hope that people who want their stolen lands returned to them know that the deeds to the land on Kaua‘i, if you go back to the originals, have local names on them. Those lands were sold because, one has to assume, that the locals felt that they would rather have had the money than the land. Now it would seem that many would rather have the land and not pay for it but have it back as a right. Stranger than fiction. I also hope that everyone appreciates that it was the United States who came to Hawai‘i and not Japan or the Mongols or someone like that. One doesn’t have to guess at whether the people of Europe were able to ask the Mongols for reparations or whether Chinese and Koreans were ever compensated for anything whatsoever when Japan came a calling.

Michael Meek


Why the cover up?

If we cannot impeach President Bush, could we at least conduct a military court-martial for him?

As Commander-in-Chief of our military, Bush is responsible for the outrageous concealment and cover-ups, the premeditated fabrications and fraudulent PR campaigns to glorify the death of Pat Tillman and the staged, videotaped media event to romanticize the rescue of Jessica Lynch.

The ever-expanding shocking truth behind the sad sagas of Tillman and Lynch came to full light late last month in a Congressional hearing. For those who missed the hearings, I would urge you to take the time to view the video on c-span.org.

We had learned back in 2004, several weeks after Tillman’s death in Afghanistan, that he had actually died from friendly fire rather than from an enemy attack. Now we know that everyone at the scene and several high-ranking officers, including generals, knew the truth soon after Tillman’s death. Still they continued to “ spin” the story into an inspiring tale of courage under fire. Several of the officers continued to perpetuate the lies, even as they attended Tillman’s memorial service. Tillman’s mother testified that even Gen. Abazaid must have known the truth, because he was at the base in Afghanistan around the time of Tillman’s death.

Testimony also revealed that messages were sent to the White House about how the President should deal with the Tillman death in his speeches. This was political “ spin” of the most despicable nature.

Everyone in the military knew the true circumstances immediately, but on orders from above they continued to perpetuate the myths in order to glorify Bush’s war and to recruit more gullible young people.

In the case of Jessica Lynch, her own testimony revealed how the “spin doctors” staged the dramatic story of her rescue and the PR campaign to portray her as a “girl Rambo.” Pvt. Lynch learned after her rescue that the military had actually delayed her rescue in order to set up the dramatic videotape that was broadcast around the world to glorify Bush’s war. Fortunately, she has now had the courage to tell the world that all of this was spin.

Isn’t this even more serious than the Nixon Watergate cover-ups? At the very least, it is conduct unbecoming an officer—the highest officer of all. Some may say it is impossible to court-martial Bush because he himself controls the military and would block such a move. If so, then our congress should summon the courage to file impeachment charges.

Barbara Elmore



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