As I sit at Yours Truly at Shaker Square and contemplate whether or not the eggs here were grown on a petri dish, I finish up an article for my column with The Athenian. I decided to share it on this page because my column is travel satire and this blog is, generally speaking, my satire blog. The article I’m doing this week is about tourism in Hawai’i. I have a lot of Native Hawai’ian friends that I met while at AISES National Conference in Alaska last October-November (see my travel blog to read about that amazing trip). These friends enlightened me on the horrible history behind Hawai’i becoming a state. All I can do is spread the word and hope that my satirical quip does their Kingdom justice:
Are you American? Do you find Hawai’i absolutely beautiful? Are you dying to go lay on its beaches, drink pina coladas, say aloha a lot, and maybe even surf or see some sharks? Are you going to show up in a Hawai’ian printed shirt or this cute new outfit that you got just for the beach? Are you wondering if there will be seashells that you can take some home? Maybe you’ll run into some celebrities or see a luau? Can’t wait to wear some leis and start dancing? Or maybe you want to meet a native on the island. You know, one of those Americans who were born there or moved there a long time ago. Right?
Newsflash: Hawai’i wasn’t put in the ocean for American tourism.
Tourism in Hawai’i is a popular thing, but with a very dark history. People rave about the islands and they don’t even know anything about them, just that there are beaches and resorts. But that’s not the real Hawai’i. Apparently no one teaches the history of Hawai’i in school. (And I don’t mean Pearl Harbor, although that was technically the first attack on “American” soil before 9/11 happened.) But it makes sense that we don’t learn the real history of what happened in America. I mean, no one says “The American government committed the greatest genocide in recorded history” because they did (the Trail of Tears). It’s just like no one says “The American government murdered Queen Liliuokalani in 1893 after throwing her off the throne, then forcefully took the islands of the Kingdom of Hawai’i from the welcoming and unsuspecting native peoples” because they did. And where is the justice for it? I guess you could say it rests in the unapproved Akaka Bill.
Hawai’i is probably the only time you’ll hear me say that “a reservation is the solution”. As horrible as American Indian reservations are – from the reason of their origin to their current conditions – the native peoples of Hawai’i are in desperate need to have their freedoms returned to them. As my one Navajo friend put it, “There is one line of royal blood in all of America, and that royal blood is Hawai’ian.” But why did we, as a nation, take Hawai’i? What justified the evils that were done? Many argue it was a defensive strategy in terms of military tactics. Today, Hawai’i is just an enormous tourist population – and the islands aren’t very large. Imagine living in a small town all your life and suddenly foreigners get the priority on jobs and start moving in. Imagine that this became a countrywide issue because another government assassinated the president and killed a bunch of people and no one did anything about it. Imagine the 9/11 site being turned into a casino, a strip club, or an amusement park. But what does it matter, right? I mean, what’s said is done… The kingdom is in ruins, the tourism economy is thriving, and we get to eat pineapples. Oh, drat! Americans have it so bad.
But don’t let this take away from your long-deserved vacation. I mean flying to Hawai’i won’t kill any more natives (it will just contribute to the destruction of the planet as a whole, but not segregation in that). Besides, it’s not like we can change anything now, right? We can just let the people who care about the Akaka Bill worry about the Akaka Bill. Isn’t that what we’re told we should do? Yeah we’re just supposed to let the people who know what they’re doing to fix the problems (like the environment) while we continue to live as frivolously as we’re allowed to and capable of. In the meantime, let’s indulge ourselves in the American state of Hawai’i and take some awesome cover photos as we lounge on the stolen beaches of the former Kingdom of Hawai’i. Maybe someone someday will care enough to make a change.