INDEPENDENCE DOES NOT EQUAL VIOLENCE OR ARMED CONFLICT
By Dr. Kalama Niheu
As I was reading the posts here on ‘Aha Aloha ‘Aina 2016 and Protest Na’i Aupuni, the question of violence has been raised several times. That we need to be fearful of each other. That we need to shut each other out. There have been those in our movement that say they cannot support Independence because any struggle for Independence=armed conflict.
I started thinking about how I was raised. About how my earliest memory was of police officers beating upon my parents and dragging them off to jail during a protest.
I thought of the Waimanalo evictions and how one of our uncle’s arms were dislocated during that PEACEFUL, NONVIOLENT protest.
It’s a times like these that we must NEVER FORGET where the REAL violence is coming from. The violence that has been inflicted upon the bodies of our people
The forcible removal of our people from the land
The illegalization of our ‘olelo.
The forced occupation of our lands by the US military, which participates in the training of Indonesian soldiers wreaking genuine GENOCIDE upon our West Papuan cousins. https://www.culturalsurvival.org/ourpublications/csq/article/west-papua-forgotten-war-unwanted-people
I won’t pretend that we don’t come from a people who sometimes settle differences with our bodies… but gun violence is almost unheard of here among the civilian population. And weapons are considered cowardly in a fight.
EVERY SINGLE FRONTLINE PROTEST I HAVE BEEN IN OR WITNESSED HAS TAUGHT THE PRINCILPLES OF NON-VIOLENT RESISTANCE.
Independence will come by the mana of what is PONO and honestly, the sheer, full on po’opakiki nature of a people who refused to die off IN SPITE OF ALL PREDICTIONS AND WISHES OTHERWISE. Na Kanaka Maoli!
We will wear them down if it takes generations.
The POLITICAL LINE that Independence = Violent war is more than an abstract idea.
One thing that has defined over the decades the Independence folks is we’ve always believed that land occupation and direct action including arrest as the cornerstone of the movement.
Every time we protest. And I mean EVERY TIME, the media and the general public raise the specter of VIOLENCE.
It endangers us all, but most specifically those on the front lines who face arrest.
It keeps those who would bear witness to injustice away from the fray. Isolating our na koa.
It amps up law enforcement so that they are more fearful and ready to take out our na koa with a hair trigger glance.
That political line is what justifies the purchase of semi-automatic rifles for CONSERVATION OFFICERS.
I am not saying that we cannot be a … ahem, physical people.
What I AM saying is that you’re more likely to get cracks at a reggae concert than a protest.
So KE ‘OLU’OLU! Whenever you hear anyone say PROTEST = VIOLENCE or INDEPENDENCE = VIOLENCE, I say, ku’e THAT.