Thursday, May 01, 2008


Aloha or Empire?

This is courtesy of attorney Lanny Sinkin. Our daily newspapers refuse to carry news and viewpoints of the Hawaiian people. I think this op-ed should have a venue, and it is a shame that there is no space in a Hawaii newspaper for it.

Aloha or Empire?

During the August 2007 installment of the Superferry saga, the actions of public officials amounted to the disintegration of the rule of law.

The Hawai′i Supreme Court ruled that the State had to prepare an environmental assessment for the Superferry harbor improvements and Superferry's operations. Under the law, completion and acceptance of that assessment was a prerequisite to any further implementation of the Superferry project.

The Attorney General said the Superferry could operate while preparing an assessment. That position had no support in the law.

The Governor, the Director of the Department of Transportation, other State agencies, the Coast Guard, the Department of Homeland Security, and Superferry officers all embraced the Attorney General's false legal position, producing the confrontation in Kaua′i in which citizens risked their lives to enforce the law.

The Mau′i court later confirmed the illegal nature of continued Superferry operations and entered a permanent injunction.

The Governor then called a special session to consider a law prepared by the Attorney General. Those who led the charge to violate the law admitted the truth when they sought to change the law in order to allow Superferry to continue operating.

The Legislature refused to consider impeachment of the Governor and the Attorney General for their lawless acts. Instead, the Legislature gutted the environmental laws by passing a new law that allows Superferry to operate while an environmental impact statement is prepared and that states the Superferry can continue to operate whatever the results of that study.

All of this was done in the face of a judicial finding by the Judge in Mau′i that the operation of Superferry threatens irreparable environmental harm, as well as other social and cultural damage.

It is, therefore, not a surprise that this same Attorney General would decide to appeal the Hawai′i Supreme Court decision regarding the ceded lands. That decision confirmed the legal status of the Hawaiian Kingdom as a government in absentia and required the State of Hawai′i to hold the ceded lands in trust until the issues raised by the illegal overthrow are resolved.

In the Superferry episode, the Governor and Attorney General sought to enrich their political allies and offered up the Hawai′i environment on the altar of profit. They also sought to further a military presence on this forward base for the war planned with China.

In the decision to appeal the ceded land decision, the Governor and the Attorney General seek nothing less than to extinguish the Hawaiian civilization.

The historical attack on that civilization included demonizing the traditional spiritual practices, banning the language, banning the hula, destroying the common land ownership system, dismantling the sustainable economic organization, and otherwise stripping away the elements of the civilization. To pursue such policies amounted to an attempted genocide of the Hawaiian people.

Now the last step is being taken by the inheritors of the original illegitimate acts. The lands are to be finally taken, with some developed and sold off into private hands. As the Hawai′i Supreme Court recognized in its opinion, the land was the spiritual, cultural, and economic foundation of the Hawaiian civilization. Removing that foundation destroys the civilization.

The United States military, the transnational corporations who treat self sustaining communities as the enemy, the land speculators, the political servants of empire, and all the others that exploit Hawai′i for their agendas hope to dance on the grave of Hawaiian civilization.

Will the non-Hawaiian people of Hawai′i simply stand by and watch? Or will they demand the Attorney General withdraw the appeal?

The Hawaiian people extended aloha to all. However uncivilized the new comers, the hope always existed that the haoles (foreigners) would some day learn the true meaning of aloha. The sheer patience of the Hawaiian people is the most remarkable element in this entire story. That patience is founded in their continuing belief that aloha is the only pono path for Human interrelationships.

For the invasive culture, "Live aloha" still appears to be no more than a bumper sticker.

Auwē noho′i ē!

Lanny Sinkin
Attorney at Law (Federal Practice)
Ali'i Mana'o Nui by appointment of Ali'i Nui Mo'i Edmund Keli'i Silva, Jr.


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