Last week, protestors of another planned U.S. military base in Okinawa rallied outside the Japanese embassy in a show of solidarity with Hawaiians and other occupied indigenous peoples around the world.
“Weʻre here out of kuleana; out of Aloha ʻĀina for Okinawa, for Hawaiʻi, for the honor of our ancestors, as well as for future generations,” said progressive public educator, peace activist, musician and community organizer Pete Shimazaki Doktor. “Hawaiʻi and Okinawa have such similarities, including that both are island nations still occupied by their colonizers, still sustaining disrespect and disregard by their respective national governments. We must unite along with other indigenous peoples oppressed by similar military occupations worldwide in our collective efforts for justice, peace and self-determination.”
Attendees tied ti leaf to the fence of the Japanese embassy—a symbol of solidarity between the sacredness of the pristine, life-sustaining waters around Okinawa’s Henoko community (where the U.S. and Japanese governments plan to build a new naval base) and Hawaiʻi’s Mauna Kea, which currently “hosts” a large military training facility (Pōhakuloa) at its base, given ti leafʻs use in spiritual and medicinal cleansing. Ultimately, it was a symbol of Aloha ʻĀina or, in Okinawan sensibility, nuchi du takara: “that all life is a treasure to be cherished and sustained for future generations of life.”
The Tuesday before the rally, four Japanese governmental representatives, including a member of Japan’s National Diet from Okinawa, spoke at the Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa (UHM) about the on-going plight of the Okinawan people and their ʻāina under the joint military alliance of Japan and the United States. The speakers made an appeal for solidarity between the people of Okinawa and Hawaiʻi, both lacking recognition by their respective national political leadership.
“Elected officials are not representing the will of the people, thus the people have to raise our voices and defend our communities from militarism,” said Doktor. “From Henoko to Mauna Kea, Jeju to West Papua, Tibet to Guam, and so on: indigenous peoples are answering the kāhea worldwide—and we are united.”
Source: Will Caron for the Hawaii Independent