War and everyday violence

M.T. Kato

Still fresh in our memory is the killings of 29-year-old mother in Kailua and 2-year-old toddler in Honolulu that happened on the same day. Both murders were done by males of mature age in a chillingly cruel manner. Regardless of the judiciary's final judgment, the public has tried to find consolation in some sort of aberration in the perpetrators, attributing their unusual cruelty to ice addiction and mental condition.

Even if we are to accept such explanation, it maybe hard for us to deny unsettling feelings, haunting us as an after-effect of the murders. Personally, those incidents invoke in my mind the historical instances of Nanjing massacre and other Japanese wartime atrocities in Asia. The Japanese military forces reduced women, children, and elderly to mere life that was clubbed, raped, and slashed to death, and tossed into a pit for a live burial. Such cruelty has been repeated time and again, for instance, during the Vietnam War (e.g., My Lai massacre), the "ethnic cleansing" in Yugoslavia, the civil war in Sierra Leone and perhaps in the ongoing "war on terror" in Iraq and Afganistan which we will know sometime in the future.

Those murders in Kailua and Honolulu force us to rethink the conventional understanding of the relationship between war and everyday violence, which focuses on a psychological impact of war upon the individuals. What we are witnessing today, I argue, is an intrusion of war into the very fabric of our society. In other words, war is no longer confined to its designated territory: War has become extra-territorial or deterritorialized.

Now Hawai'i's relationship with war is two-fold. On one hand, war impacts Hawai'i through its dependency on the US bubble economy inflated by war. After a brief impasse immediately following 9/11, Hawai'i has enjoyed the trickle down effect of the U.S. war economy boom in the areas of tourism and real estate market. The bubble has burst as indicated, for instance, by the decrease of visitors to Hawaii in the year 2007, the first time decrease since 2003.

On the other hand, Hawai'i has come to be directly besieged by war. Since 2001, there have been significant military expansions in Hawai'i: the deployment of Stryker Brigade, the inauguration of a classified military research center at University of Hawai'i (UARC), the B-2 stealth bomber's monthly bombings of Pohakuloa, and the launching of Superferry that is designed to transport Stryker Brigade and other military equipments. Besides those I would add the buy-out of Hawai'i's telecommunication system by the Carlyle Group as an "invisible" war machine. As the Carlyle Group – which is closely tied to the Bush family – is the 11th largest arms dealer in the U.S., our telecommunication system has come to be part of their arms-based economy.

Squeezed between the demise of dependent economy and the direct implantation of war, Hawai'i may see more instances of everyday violence of cruel nature. A fundamental response to the everyday violence in Hawai'i, therefore, requires the process of rehabilitation of a war-torn society. For such society-wide rehabilitation, the indigenous cultural value of aloha 'aina can be the most viable guiding concept to help heal the wounds of society as well as individuals, and to envision the future without violence and war. The concept of aloha 'aina, to take on a Kanaka Maoli activist Andre Perez's interpretation, is not confined to the land in its territorial aspect. It can be applied to the care and love for one's body, for one's family, and every being constituting 'aina that feeds us both in material and spiritual sense.


State House to vote Monday on bills to gut water code

Ikaika M Hussey

State House to vote Monday on bills to gut water code [HB 2808 & 2820].
See capitol.hawaii.gov for more info on HB2808 and HB2820.


Tsuji, Say still reticent on kalo moratorium hearing

Ikaika M Hussey

Tsuji, Say still reticent on kalo moratorium hearing. As a major legislative deadline approaches, State House leaders have yet to schedule a hearing on a popular bill to prevent genetic testing and patenting of Hawaiian kalo.


Ua hala ka wahine wiwo’ole a ke aloha aina, Tutu Peggy Ha’o-Ross

Ikaika M Hussey

Ua hala kekahi kupunahine 'a'oe 'ole o ka wiwo'ole, 'o ia ho'i 'o tutu Peggy Ha'o-Ross. Ua hele 'o ia i ke ao polohiwa a Kane i keia ahiahi, ma kahi o ka molehulehu, 'o ia ho'i, ma kahi o ka hola 7 ma ka la 'eiwa o Pepeluali nei, makahiki 2008.

Peggy Ha'o-Ross, an elder in the Hawaiian community and an early champion of Hawaiian sovereignty, passed away Saturday night.

More information will be made available in the coming days. If you would like to share a remembrance of Aunty Peggy, please leave a comment or send an email to The Hawaii Independent.

Kalo should be protected from global agribusiness

Umi Perkins

The opening day of the Hawaii State Legislature marked the return of an issue that took center stage just two short years ago on the campus of the University of Hawaii: the patenting and experimental genetic modification of kalo, the Hawaiian taro plant.The genetic modification of kalo marks the intersection of the most traditional of Hawaiian practices with the untested practices of global agri-business. The first kalo, according to Hawaiian oral history, grew from Haloanaka, stillborn child of Papa and Wakea and ancestor of all Hawaiians. The second child was Haloa, who is an ancestor to humans. Within the Hawaiian cosmogony, kalo is the elder sibling of the Hawaiian people.

In the 21st century, the production of kalo is already under threat, without the new risks of genetic modification. Production of kalo in Hawai'i has dropped from 14 million pounds in 1948 to 4 million in 2005. Increasing production of kalo can reduce dependence on imported food, which constitutes 90% of Hawaii's food supply. Kalo would increase Hawaii's "food sovereignty," a term of art for the economic and cultural self-determination of a people.

The cultivation of kalo seems to have a therapeutic effect on people, particularly Hawaiians, as evidenced by Ka'ala Farms' culture and cultivation-based treatment program for the chemically-dependent. In the emerging system of Hawaiian-oriented schools, working in the lo'i (taro patch) is used as both punishment and reward, a fact which seems to underscore its therapeutic nature.

Some futurists warn of a potential condition involving deprivation of contact with the natural world as development, urbanization and the sedentary lives of children coalesce. All of these are reasons to return the production of kalo – organic kalo – to the center of Hawaii's economy.

Kalo is an issue that can actually unite rather than divide ethnic and other factions in Hawaii. On a plane from San Francisco I once met the Japanese daughter of the founder of Haleiwa Poi. Much of the kalo cultivated today is grown on farms owned by non-Hawaiians; similarly, much of the kalo consumed today is eaten by all of Hawaii's ethnic groups. I expect that our peoples want their poi made from real kalo, not a lab-developed variety, and they would support the continued cultivation of organic kalo.

Opposition to GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, is far from a lunatic-fringe position – the entire European Union is under fire from the central institution of globalization, the World Trade Organization, for its member countries' bans on various genetically modified foods. As far back as 2001, 14 Pacific Island nations as well as many Asian and African countries had bans or moratoriums on GMOs. Only in the US is such opposition seen as marginal.

There's hope. Lo'i kalo have been restored in many areas. Organic food is a fast-growing sector of the international marketplace as both producers and consumers find the costs manageable. But even the term "organic" is misleading. It makes one think this is food for hippies, or some exotic fare that would offend the meat-and-potatoes sensibilities of middle America. There was another name for organic food before the introduction of genetic modification: it was called food, the stuff humans have eaten for a couple million years. To create distrust of non-genetically modified food is a perversion of logic that can only happen in a media-hypnotized society.

The distortion knows no bounds; at one point, it was illegal to label organic foods not genetically modified as GM corn became virtually the only type available in the American market.

The genetic modification of kalo also presents intellectual property issues that, unfortunately, the laws are not satisfactorily designed to resolve. The question is often asked: "who owns kalo?" Hawaiians cultivated many varieties of kalo through traditional breeding practices, by some counts 300 varieties. Does this not mean that Hawaiians, in fact, "own" the practice of kalo cultivation? Intellectual property law does not recognize group but only individual rights of ownership, a bias that discriminates against collectivist societies and Indigenous peoples.

Surely we can agree on this: we all want our and our childrens' food to be uncontaminated with unproven "technologies" – we just want to eat our traditional foods in peace.

Koolauloa Neighborhood Board agenda: vacant seat, Windward Community College satellite campus

Jade Eckardt

The Koolauloa Neighborhood Board will hold its regular monthly meeting on Thursday, January 13 at the Hauula Civic Center from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

On the agenda are the City monthly reports, board business including filling of board vacancy, and the Windward Community College satellite campus.

The full agenda is below.

Rules of Speaking: Anyone wishing to speak is asked to raise their hand, and when recognized by the Chair, to address comments to the Chair. Speakers are encouraged to keep their comments under 3 minutes, and those giving reports are urged to keep their reports less than 3 minutes. Please silence all electronic devices.

Note: The Board may take action on any agenda item. As required by the State Sunshine Law (HRS 92), specific issues not noted on this agenda cannot be voted on, unless added to the agenda.

I.      CALL TO ORDER: Chair Richard Fale

II.            CITY MONTHLY REPORTS: (Limited to 3 minutes each)
        a.    Honolulu Fire Department (HFD)
        b.    Honolulu Police Department (HPD)
        c.    Mayor’s Representative
        d.    Councilmember Ernie Martin
        e.    Board of Water Supply (BWS)


        a.  Filling of Board Vacancy – Sub District 1 (Kahuku) 
        b.  Windward Community College Satellite Campus      

V.            RESIDENTS’/COMMUNITY CONCERNS (Limited to 3 minutes each)

VI.      REPORTS: (Limited to 3 minutes each)
        a.    Treasurer’s Report
        b.  Elected Officials:
            i.  Congresswoman Mazie Hirono
            ii.  Governor’s Representative
            iii.  State Legislators
        c.    Committee Chair Report
            i.    Housing – John Elkington
            ii.  Cultural Affairs – Norman Kaluhiokalani
            iii.  CIP/Public Works – Creighton Mattoon
            iv.    Parks & Recreation – Junior Primacio
            v.  Planning and Land Use – Les Steward
            vi.  Public Information – Kela Miller
            vii.  Health & Welfare – Dotty Kelly-Paddock
            viii.  Public Safety/Transportation – Moana Kalua’u
            ix.  Water – Dee Dee Letts
            x.  Education – Vacant
            xi.  Agriculture – Junior Primacio
        d.  Department of Education
        e.  Kahuku Community/School Library
        f.  Marine Corps/U.S. Army
        g.  Correspondence
        h.  Community Reports

Next Meeting – Scheduled for Thursday, February 10, 2011 at 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Hau’ula Civic Center.


A mailing list is maintained for interested persons and agencies to receive this Board’s agenda and minutes.  Additions, corrections, and deletions to the mailing list may be directed to the Neighborhood Commission Office (NCO), Honolulu Hale, 530 South King Street, Room 406, Honolulu, Hawaii 96813; Telephone (808) 768-3710 or Fax (808) 768-3711; or call Neighborhood Assistant Nola Frank at 768-3783.  Agendas and minutes are also available on the internet at www.honolulu.gov/nco.

Any individual wishing to attend a Neighborhood Board meeting who has questions about accommodations for a physical disability or a special physical need should call the NCO at 768-3710 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., at least 24-hours before the scheduled meeting.