Thursday, December 6, 2007

How we become "terrorists"

from the Haleakala TImes Letters to the Editor, Dec 4.

How we became terrorists
In Naomi Wolf's book, The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot, she outlines the steps that Hitler and other dictators took to convert a free society to a fascist one.

First step: Remove civil right protections for the "other" by identifying them as fear-inspiring threats to ordinary people's lives. Bush-Cheney did this with "terrorists."

Second step: Extend the definition of "terrorist" to anyone who gets in the way of taking over the government.
Lingle has done that. She has labeled peaceful protesters as "terrorists." She has somehow equated unarmed citizens blocking a giant, unwanted (and illegally operating) ship with flying planes into the World Trade Center and killing 3,000 human beings.

Once we are labeled as terrorists, then it is okay to injure and arrest us. It is okay to apply draconian sentences of ten years to a young person on a kayak getting in the way of a large vessel. It is okay to mace us. It is okay to drown us. It is okay to rough us up. It is okay to kill us.

Those people who don't see the bigger picture, who, in fact, are encouraging Lingle to arrest, kill and harm protesters are playing into the hands of the neocons who seek to deprive us of our civil liberties.
Our freedom is teetering on a razor's edge. Those who are standing firm against the erosion of our civil rights should be thanked for risking their lives... not reviled.

"First they came for Socialists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me.
Rev Martin Niemoeller (1892-1984)
Whether or not you support the Superferry, it is time to support our freedom and civil rights. Speak out now against Lingle's Unified command... or risk no one speaking for you.
Karen Chun
Pa'ia, HI

Tea party anyone?
Protest of the Superferry by surfers in the harbor reminds me of the Boston Tea Party. Not just because both incidents took place in a harbor aboard small crafts but more importantly because the activists were fighting against the imposition placed on them by a government that resided on a land mass separated by ocean.

In the Boston Tea Party the colonists' tea was being taxed by England, making English tea cheaper than local colonial tea. This created a hardship for the colonies and has been called taxation without proper representation.

In the Superferry situation, the government located in Honolulu imposes the will of the Honolulu residents on Maui and Kauai. The State of Hawaii is unique in that it is composed of several islands. Each island is a separate ecosystem, each has a separate style, and each needs to have self-determination in order for the people of each island to be represented properly with respect to the governmental decisions that effect their island home.

The people of Honolulu who have trashed Oahu, created high-crime levels, nearly emptied their fresh water supplies and imported countless invasive species, would now like to export their criminals and invasive species to the outer islands. We don't want it.

We the people of Maui and we the people of Kauai should have the right to protect our islands as we see fit.  We don't want to be "taxed" by the Honolulu gangsters. We don't want our already overloaded road system to be choked by Honolulu traffic. The current governmental arrangement in Hawaii is poorly designed. It does not empower each unique island with appropriate levels of self-determination.

Today the will of the city folk of Honolulu is being imposed on all of the "outer" islands of Hawaii using police, National Guard and federal agents.

Let's reform the government of the State of Hawaii in such a way that each island is given appropriate powers such that each islands government derives its power from the islands residents not from the big city of Honolulu.
As for the Superferry, if the people of Honolulu want it, then let it travel in circles around Oahu. Don't force it on the outer islands.

And as for the protesters, let's honor them as we have honored the men who risked their lives during the Boston Tea Party. Sometimes David wins and Goliath loses. May it be again!
George Chyz