The overall sense I get from the book is that all of Hawaii and specific islands like Kauai and Maui by their centuries of history and culture have world class potential that is dependent upon the aina and akamai decisions by the people and that residents and political leaders should not prematurely sell themselves short with fake, unsustainable decisions and projects.
The book is in three parts. I'm going to review each part. But, first, I should say why the review.
I just sat in on a radio interview that got way off topic in which I mostly just listened. In fact, I was cut off when I tried to make a good point about the book, one of only two brief comments I made during the entire interview. More importantly, though, I have not heard an interview yet that gets into the really good content of this book, much less some of the most useful points that the testimonial content of this book makes. I'm not going to mention publicly any of the minor misquotes and weaknesses in this book. Instead, I'm going to point out some of the great points made by testifiers and the authors of this book.
I'm going to mention these quotes in order as there are so many good ones.
From page 45 is the following quote, "The Superferry itself was not the most egregious example of commercial or military excess, but it came after decades of frustration and humiliation, as the people saw their island steadily diminish in character and mood..."
From page 51 is the following line of thought, "The Superferry fits perfectly into Oahu's economic paradigm of expanding markets and global connectivity, at the unfortunate expense of environmental health and indigenous culture...[Oahu] an economy dependent on growth, versus...sustainability."
From page 52-53, "Longing for Hanabata Days...Oahuans...want to have the option of stepping back to simpler days through a handy three-hour boat ride to charming outer islands, which still have the qualities they gave up....Karen Chun has this insightful explanation...Oahu's so changed now, so urban. People there have a real longing for hanabata days. They view the outer islands as a bit of their lost past...It is such an emotional thing, it's about their lost past."
From page 54, "...what happens in Hawaii [spiritually] affects the rest of the world...Liko Martin...elaborates...'If Hawaii stays oppressed,' he points out, 'that oppression emanates throughout the whole planet. If Hawaii is free, then aloha spreads out over the Earth. Because it's [Hawaii's] the piko.'" [The navel--the center of the Pacific]
The testimonies from Kauai to the Governor on Sept. 20, 2007, were all outstanding, but the following stood out to me upon reading them. Some of them did not show up in the video footage that I had seen.
From pages 65-66, Kauai's Lloyd Imuaikaika Pratt's testimony to the Governor was outstanding and should be read in it's entirety.
From pages 72-73, Kauai's Pua La'a Norwood's testimony to the Governor was outstanding and should be read in it's entirety. Pua La'a would like for her quote to have included her comments on solar and wind. Some believe those comments actually changed policy on Kauai beyond just the Superferry.
From pages 84-85, Kauai's Raymond Catania's testimony to the Governor was outstanding and should be read in it's entirety.
The diary entry about the events of August 27, 2007, from Michael Shooltz starting on page 92 is outstanding, I mean OUTSTANDING. His story about the friendly interaction with the police officer before the protest started is quite interesting. Later, the following quote is particularly insightful:
"Being in the water was a beautiful experience. The full moon rising was magnificent. I gave chunks of the...bars to many of those who had already been in the water for a couple of hours. They were received with laughter, joy, and appreciation. It was fun, kind of a boogie board 'special delivery.' The next hours floating in the water were filled with quiet conversations as folks got to know one another and expressed appreciation. I learned from a farmer from Moloa'a about how the lettuce and broccoli are doing. Other bright young kids spoke of their concerns for the whales and dolphins...As we were spread out across the harbor, there was one beautiful young woman on a board whom I only know by her voice as she would periodically lead us all in Hawaiian chants. [Mehana? Pua La'a?] The mana of the chants was strong, there on the water, under the full moon."
Michael Shooltz continued on page 96, "I wish I could do a search on this computer that would reveal the thoughts and feelings of each stalwart in the water as we watched the lights of the Superferry disappear over the horizon under the full moon." Yes, Michael, I have been looking for something like that too.
The Maui testimonies before the PUC on Nov. 17, 2004, are all good, but the one that really got my attention is the realistic optimistic vision of Iokepa Naeole of the powerhouse Hawaiian Canoe Club:
"I just want to share with you my plans. I don't think you've taken time to listen to what we have planned for Kahului Harbor. In 2020, we will have tripled our fleet of canoes between Na Kai 'Ewalu and Hawaiian Canoe Club. We will have gone from 300 members to 1,000 members in 2020. In 2020, any given day of the week, Monday through Friday, you will see Kahului Harbor filled with canoes--one-man, two-man, three-man, and six-man--because people decided to go paddle instead of eat their Happy Meal. In 2020, Kahului Harbor will look like Papeete, full of healthy people practicing their culture on the ocean and staying healthy. In 2020, the ice problem will have been eliminated, because all of those kids that we do have now paddling will spread the word on to their friends so they will all become part of our paddling, surfing, fishing community, recreational users, cultural users of the harbor, and ice will be a thing of the past...And I'm not talking dakine Feast at Lele, you know, hula show, I'm talking living, breathing culture...that in the future it will be something that you will never see anywhere else on the planet. In 2020, the typical visitor will go home knowing that Hawaii is the number one place to visit not because of the infrastructure provided for the visitor industry, but because of the people that are here and the way we feel about how to live on this planet [sustainably]. With aloha."
The author's did not make use of the Kauai testimonies to the Senators who visited Kauai and the other outer islands in October 2007. Some of that video should go up on the Internet. The author's also did not use testimonies at the Capitol from October 2007. Some of those were especially good and show what the Legislature did not consider for inclusion in Act 2. In particular, the testimony by Kawika Winter, Director of Limahuli Garden and Preserve, delivered impromptu at the Capitol completely in the Hawaiian language was particularly impressive.
From the book, I especially liked Keone Kealoha's, Rick White's, and David Dinner's transcribed testimonies to Belt Collins on Kauai on March 19, 2008.
The local testimonies on March 11, 2008, given by Molokai residents to Belt Collins stand out as particularly poignant:
On page 123, Judy Caparida asks and states, [on Molokai] "...does it really matter to our life? [The Superferry] is something that people want to make for us so that we live by the way they want us to live. We're so free because we're contented. We love what we have. We don't need to have all the stuff over there...What God has given us is free!...You work...For what? Taxes here, taxes there...We don't want the Superferry here, because we don't need 'em...[to Belt Collins] Make sure you guys get down to life--not fantasy, not make-believe...[We] want to live the simple and free Life."
On page 124, Laurie Buchanan states, "...We've seen all the beautiful commercials with Molokai as a backdrop. We try to keep it that way for a reason. It's not to be exploited by commercials or by the Superferry."
Part 2 of this review will be on the second third of the book, the timeline of events on the issue.
My overall sense from these testimonies, esp. from that of people like Iokepa Naeole is that all of Hawaii and specific islands like Kauai and Maui by their centuries of history and culture have world class potential that is dependent upon the aina and akamai decisions by the people and that residents and political leaders should not prematurely sell themselves short with fake, unsustainable decisions and projects. Hawaii has limitless potential in this world and this is the positive lesson that should be learned from this issue.
These are the things that need to be said on the radio, not predictable bickering over race.