While some people in Hawaii may have experienced 38 minutes of terror on Saturday morning, please imagine what it feels like for the Kanaka Maoli — the Hawaiian people — to experience U.S. military occupation for 125 years.  

While we do not diminish what it felt like in those moments of fear and uncertainty for residents and visitors to Hawaii, we must also frame what it feels like to be a Hawaiian — a descendant of the original people of our beloved islands — to be caught in the literal crossfire of modern day U.S. militaristic grandstanding.

Some participants in the Onipaa March shared their sentiments on signs.

Anthony Quintano/Civil Beat

The false ballistic missile threat illuminated several issues. 

The prolonged and pervasive military presence in Hawaii does not keep us safe but rather makes us a prime target for U.S. enemies.

Moreover, the alarmingly slow response by state government officials to correct the false warning only added to the fear and hysteria many experienced.

The Hawaiian people have similarly experienced an alarmingly slow response by Hawaii and U.S. government officials to carry out the reconciliation process we were promised in the 1993 Apology Bill.

Nov. 23, 2018, will mark our 25th year of waiting.

And so, as we remember this week the 125th anniversary of the illegal overthrow of our beloved Kingdom of Hawaii, which was commemorated Wednesday, I ask that you take a moment and reflect on what it feels like to live in terror for 125 years, let alone 38 minutes.

Community Voices aims to encourage broad discussion on many topics of community interest. It’s kind of a cross between Letters to the Editor and op-eds. This is your space to talk about important issues or interesting people who are making a difference in our world. Columns generally run about 800 words (yes, they can be shorter or longer) and we need a photo of the author and a bio. We welcome video commentary and other multimedia formats. Send to news@civilbeat.org.

About the Author

  • Brandon Makaawaawa
    Brandon Makaawaawa is a long-time resident of the Waimanalo Hawaiian Homestead community and is a passionate advocate for Hawaiian National Sovereignty. He serves as Chief of Staff to Dennis "Bumpy" Kanahele, the Head of State of the Nation of Hawaii, which runs its operations out of Puuhonua o Waimanalo, the only sovereign Hawaiian land base in existence. You can follow him on Facebook or Instagram @hawaiiannational.