`Ano `ai me ke Aloha:
Is it a common assessment of our present times that the Hawaiian movement today is not coalescing as we had hoped? We are approaching a time in which there will be anniversaries that need to be addressed, such as the 50th anniversary of Statehood. Is it a time for celebration? How does one celebrate a theft? Should it be instead a time of observation, and let each person select one’s own style of acknowledging the event 50 years ago? Or should we simply say it like it is, and call it a mourning (or mourn-in)!
What other events are coming up for observation in the next two years? And what are we doing about it? Is there a common calendar from which we can see the coming years’ events? Who’s creating such calendar? Should it be all of us?
Are we speaking enough with one another, or have the years drawn us apart such that the speaking no longer exists? Are we providing the proper groundwork for the future of our common aspirations: the creation of a new society, a new social order, a new consciousness to malama `aina, and a new set of political structures to replace our colonization? If we are addressing those common aspirations, are we doing it in common? Or are we doing it within our own clusters of sovereignty or autonomy? Need we be speaking more openly and regularly with one another?
I don’t see us meeting the challenge of preparing that common ground. We have become too engrossed in our own “kuleana” such that we take that “kuleana” as our exclusive domain, that our “sovereignty” kingdom is the ONE (and only). We have become too self-righteous, too defensive, and too adamant, such that we are not giving enough credence to other voices. For too many of us, it’s either “my way or the highway!”
The victims are not only ourselves, but also all those who should be able to bask in the promise of a better Hawai`i for tomorrow. There is a wide public awaiting leadership, but finding the same old rag being chewed and spat out, time and again. We hear the word aloha, but have a hard time finding it in the practice of public life.
Can we come together?
I propose a Hawaiian Roundtable, an opportunity for all the willing, to sit with one another, to speak, to be heard, to listen, and to begin the kukakuka to build the framework for our Hawai`i tomorrow. This roundtable should stand on the firm foundation of a few simple protocols; 1- Respect for Time, 2- Kindness to one another, 3- One thing at a time, 4- Privacy when called for, 5- Fair and equal treatment to all, 6- A place for idea exchange and not for position taking or politics, 7- Openness to allow the broad public access to the discussion. More protocols may follow as dictated by experience and common sense.
Over the years, I have become more acquainted with the Ka`u style of Ho`oponopono as explained by Kupuna Puku`i. Although not an expert, my acquaintance has brought about a higher regard for the value of orderliness in the conduct of group discussions. In certain times, it is an improvement on Robert’s Rules of Order. It makes so much more sense, for example, to have a clearly understood identification of the issue, subject, or pilikia to be addressed, to have a clear process for managing discussions, to call for time-outs when necessary, etc. I believe we could profit from the borrowing of many of those principles from our traditional practice of Ho`oponopono, while making appropriate adjustments when necessary. In calling for this roundtable, I am ready to take responsibility over guidance of the process.
I ask that every participant be given a limited time to speak (and we actually stay within the limits); that all speakers address the Haku, Convener, Chair, Ho`akoakoa, or whatever to be called without any cross-talking, bantering, etc., that we treat each topic one at a time and do not let the subject unravel into a myriad of issues, that we be as inclusive and equal as possible as to who speaks, when to speak, and the respect given to each speaker.
I do not see any votes being taken but that if decisions are to be reached, they are reached by consensus or the convener presents a solution asking for the gathering’s support. The reliance here is not on the popular among the participants, but on the wisdom of the convener to preserve the unity, fairness, and continuity of the roundtable. I have seen too many groups disband over a disagreement on an issue, and losing sight of the value of maintaining an on-going opportunity for kukakuka in the embrace of aloha. Coalitions can be formed and agreements reached independently and outside of the roundtable, without risking the maintenance of the roundtable itself.
We have learned to abuse time by trying to squeeze too many things into an hour. We are living a rushed lifestyle in which decisions are not given the chance to mellow, to be chewed upon, and to be thought out. We have come to expect outcomes and conclusions too quickly, only to find that another gathering could have produced a far better result, and that time was not of such great need that a decision had to be made. Of course there are also those matters for which time will not allow for delay. We have not been careful enough to know the difference between the two. I expect we would hold Hawaiian Roundtables on a regular on-going basis so the talking does not stop but becomes a regular opportunity. This, of course, will call for commitment of preparation, grunt work by a support team, some funds for meeting places and refreshments, and an investment by each participant, a commitment in the combined effort to produce the results of a better Hawai`i.
The Hawai`i public is in search for access to information, to participation, to inclusion in the spirit of a renewed Hawai`i. The response I have been receiving to this idea has been nothing but support, to be able to hear such discussions broadcast, to see participants on television or in person, to contact individuals or groups for further inquiry, to contribute, etc. They are anxious to see a calendar of events stretching over the next two years, planning their own calendars to coincide with those of Hawaiian actions.
In discussing this idea on my radio program last Sunday, one caller pleaded for the opportunity to participate at home or in his own community, such that he could coincide his participation in a rally, not by having to travel to `Iolani Palace or Thomas Square, but by being able to fly his Hawaiian flag from his own home, or car or line his road with flags, and to rally with others in his neighborhood park or shopping mall, seeing flags, rallies and other activities of support for a cause in a multitude of places and spaces in Hawai`i. He called for Ka La Ho`iho`i Ea (Restoration Day) to become our National Holiday in practice throughout these islands and not limited to a rally at Thomas Square! But these points of common gatherings are coordinated, he suggested, through the coming together of a multitude of organizations and leaders, in a common participation of efforts, broadcast to the wider public.
We could draw the support of producers from the public television stations to place such shows on a regular basis on all islands. Some work on guidelines for time limitations, fair editing, cut outs for those wanting their remarks not to be shown to the public, etc. will eventually be worked out.
Taking from an old Hawaiian phrase, “you going find da proof stay in the pudding” or in other words, “just try um and see! If work, work, if no work, no work! But I shua going work.”
Can we “kick around” this general idea? Meeting June 5, OHA conference room, 6 p.m.
Aloha a hui hou, kakou.
P.S. If responding to this blog, please inform me at firstname.lastname@example.org of your response. Mahalo
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