Aloha Aina Must Continue: Clean up and return lands – demilitarize Hawaii


President Eisenhower said in 1953 that the island of Kahoolawe was necessary for military training but would be
returned shortly to the then-Territory of Hawaii, in a habitable state.
After forty years of struggle the people of Hawaii have accomplished the cessation of bombing of the island.
Only last week
the military held public meetings, and as
they presented their plans to appropriate 31,000 acres of island lands for missile defense, peaceful activists were being

arrested outside for attempting to
voice dissent. With one hand the military is returning 28,600 acres on Kahoolawe, which is
still in an ailing state; with the other hand, they are attempting to take
another 31,000 acres. The legacy of the US Navy’s treatment of Kahoolawe is an indication of how all these lands will be

treated.

2003.11.16


Today, as the island of Kahoolawe is turned over to the State of Hawaii, we must remember
the history which has led to this moment. President Dwight Eisenhower said
in 1953 that Kahoolawe was necessary for military training, but would be
returned shortly to the then-Territory of Hawaii, in a habitable state.
After forty years of struggle, the people of Hawaii, with the support of
people throughout the world, accomplished the cessation of bombing of the island. We
lost two dear souls in the struggle, George Helm and Kimo Mitchell, whose
voices of aloha aina were silenced.

Iolani Palace is a portentious site for this ceremony. For it was at this
place, nearly 111 years ago, that the US military supported an illegal coup
against a peaceful, independent, and neutral nation state. Only last week
the military held public meetings – at private hotels and resorts, and as
they presented their plans to appropriate 25,000 acres of land on Hawai’i
and Oahu, peaceful activists were being arrested outside for attempting to
voice dissent. From the arrest of our queen in 1895 as she tried to hold
her country together, to the arrest of her people today as they carry on
her work, the US military has lied, cheated, and misled the people of
Hawai’i into believing they are stewards of the land and protectors of
life. And there is more: the military wants to expand occupation of Kauai
by another 6,000 acres for missile defense.

With one hand the military is returning 28,600 acres on Kahoolawe, which is
still in an ailing state; with the other hand, they are attempting to take
another 31,000 acres.

The legacy of the US Navy’s treatment of Kahoolawe is an indication of how
all these lands will be treated.

8.9 million pounds of metal, mainly ordnance, has been removed from the
island, and Kahoolawe is still covered with unexploded ordnance. Only 9%
of the island has been cleared down to 4 feet, and only 70% of the surface
has been cleared. The ordnance is the result of sustained US Navy and
Allied bombings since 1953.

We must not forget Makua, Waikane, Waikoloa, Waimea, Puuloa (Pearl Harbor)
as well, to understand more fully the way which the military treats our
homeland.

For the US Navy to return the island in such lifeless condition is immoral.
The US Navy should renew its commitment to healing the destruction it has
caused.

We, the people of Hawaii who stand with a steadfast love for the land, are
vigilant, aware, and mobilized. We wear black to honor the work of the
past, and to note that the work is not yet complete.

A better world is possible, one where our families are not threatened by
the health effects of militarization, where our economy is not stultified
by dependency on Inouyue and Abercrombie’s dole, and where Hawaii is no
longer the center for warfare and violence. We gather today in memory of
all the lands – Kahoolawe, Makua, Waikane, Puuloa, Pohakuloa, Vieques,
Okinawa – that must be healed and returned. Aloha aina must continue – the
life of the land is perpetuated through our good works.


Contact Ikaika Hussey – ikaika@flex.com

Author: DMZ HAWAII/ALOHA AINA

News Service: TheExperiment.org

URL: http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1989