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Hawaii - America’s Tibet?

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  Quote flyingzone Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Hawaii - America’s Tibet?
    Posted: 16-Dec-2005 at 21:57

A lot of forumers here talk about the illegitimacy of China's rule over Tibet and Xinjiang. I am not here to delve into this topic. I just wanted to draw your attention to the relatively little-known phenomenon of Hawaiian separatism.

http://www.hawaii-nation.org/

Given the way that Hawaii was illegally annexed by the United States, I cannot help but question why American rule over Hawaii is legitimate, while Chinese rule over Tibet is not.

The following are exerpts from "Wikipedia". For those who are interested in more details, go to:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Hawaii

"In 1887, a group of American-born cabinet officials and advisors to King David Kalalaua  and an armed militia forced the king at gunpoint with a bayonet at his throat to promulgate what is today known as the Bayonet Constitution. The constitution stripped the monarchy of its authority and instead empowered Americans who were not legal citizens of Hawaii. Over 75% of the native Hawaiian population lost its right to vote in its own elections while Americans who were not legal citizens of Hawaii were given full voting rights. When Kalkaua died in 1891, his sister Lili'uokalani assumed the throne. With the support of native Hawaiians and other Hawaiian citizens, the queen drafted a new constitution that would restore the monarchy's authority and strip American non-citizens of the suffrage they awarded themselves."

"In defiance of Lili'uokalani's proposed constitution, a group of American residents in Hawaii, including United States Government Minister John L. Stevens, conspired to overthrow the government of the Kingdom of Hawaii on January 13, 1893.  Minister Stevens, without the authority of the U.S. government or Congress, summoned a company of uniformed U.S. Marines from the U.S.S. Boston and two companies of U.S. sailors to land on the Kingdom and take up positions near the Iolani Palace to intimidate the monarch, Queen Lili'uokalani and her government."

"On January 17, 1893, the Hawai'i government was illegally overthrown by a group of mostly American men living on the islands, with the backup of American troops that were on a warship docked in Honolulu Harbor. The men were pushing for annexation and were encouraged by then President Benjamin Harrison. At the time the ruler was Queen Lili'uokalani who gave up, under protest, in order to avoid bloodshed. That evening, Queen Lili'uokalani wrote these famous words:

    I, Lili`uokalani, by the grace of God and under the constitution of the Hawaiian Kingdom, Queen, do hereby solemnly protest against any and all acts done against myself and the constitutional government of the Hawaiian Kingdom by certain persons claiming to have established a Provisional Government of and for this Kingdom.

    That I yield to the superior force of the United States of America, whose Minister Plenipotentiary, His Excellency John L. Stevens, has caused United States troops to be landed at Honolulu and declared that he would support the said Provisional Government.

    Now, to avoid any collision of armed forces and perhaps loss of life, I do, under this protest, and impelled by said forces, yield my authority until such time as the Government of the United States shall, upon the facts being presented to it, undo the action of its representative and reinstate me in the authority which I claim as the constitutional sovereign of the Hawaiian Islands.

Life continued, after the overthrow, but power was now in the hands of the Americans and mostly white plantation owners. Hawaiians were hired as workers to toil in the hard, hot fields for their plantation masters. However, in order to control the Hawaiians, workers were imported from other countries. When any one group started getting large enough in population to cause a threat to the plantation owners, they would merely import new labor from somewhere else in the world. This caused a huge influx of different societies, from all over Asia and even Mexico."

Sad history ... Anyways ...

To answer the question I raised earlier (i.e. why American rule over Hawaii is legitimate while that of China over Tiber is not?), of course one may argue that, "Hey, look, isn't Hawaii better off now that it is one of the American states since America is the world's most powerful country?" But those who use that as an explanation must remind themselves that "improvement in livelihood" of a native people is never a full justification for illegal occupation. The livelihood of the majority of the Tibetans (and Eastern Turkestanis) have indeed improved - tremendously, but a  lot of us still see Chinese occupation of  these lands illegitimate.

One may also argue that the Chinese occupation is illegitimate because it is a communist country. America is different. America is a democratic country. But who says a democratic country should have more "rights" than a communist country in its management of its territory? Whenever the issue of Tibet is being raised, the Chinese officials always shake it off by saying "No foreign countries should interfere with the domestic affairs of China just as China never messes with the domestic affairs of other countries." While I question the rationale behind such an assertion, sometimes I do feel that we Westerners are always applying double standards to OUR countries and THEIRS.

Finally, one may also say, "Look, the Tibetan people do not want Chinese rule." Yes, it is true. But do ALL Tibetan people not want Chinese rule? Even the Dalai Lama himself has made statements that Tibet could remain as part of China given certain conditions. Looking at the Hawaiian side of the question, it appears that there are quite a few Hawaiians (REAL native Hawaiians of Polynesian origin) who want independence from the United States too!!! Please note: the current and historical influx of people from the continental U.S. bears some similarities with the influx of the Chinese to Tibet. The native Hawaiians still make a very clear distinction between the "real" Hawaiians and those who are not, even though as a result of decades of inter-marriages, most people of Hawaii have mixed ancestries. I have a friend who's half White and half Japanese and she's born and raised in Hawaii. Yet when I once called her "Hawaiian", she immediately corrected me because she told me the title "Hawaiian" is usually reserved to those who are Native Hawaiians, not people like her.

I am not advocating Hawaiian separatism here (so for those "patriotic American forumers here, you don't have to be alarmed) and neither am I using the case of Hawaii to justify China's claim over Tibet and Eastern Turkestan. I just want to open a healthy discussion here.   

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  Quote Decebal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Dec-2005 at 22:15

Hmmm, that's an interesting comparison. I hadn't thought of it. When you start to think about it, the occuption of the Americas can be seen as illegitimate, and for that matter quite a few other territories in Asia, Africa and Europe. All the lands that the Americans, Canadians and all other countries in the Americas would belong to the native populations that occupied them. Are therefore the descendants of the English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, etc. in the Americas there illegitimately? Whether the native population was organized or not into a state is irrelevant. Or is it?

When is an occuption legitimate? Does it stop being illegitimate once the native people have been assimilated? Is the usurpation of a territory that previously had an organized state somehow worst than if it was a territory occupied by tribal societies.?

All questions we might have to consider. What do you guys think?

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  Quote Loknar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Dec-2005 at 22:48

I wonder why those Haiwans didnt fight back.

 

I say give the native Haiwaian people a referendum. If they want independance, then the americans and japanese will leave. simple as that. puerto rico can be new number 50.

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  Quote ok ge Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Dec-2005 at 01:54

Very interesting discussion Loknar,

   Definitely the occupation of Hawaii is illegal, however, I wonder if there is a poll that can tell us if native Hawaiians today are with staying under the US sphere or independence?

    I can only say either cases, Hawaiian are not the majority now and definitely they cannot ignore the "other" residants of the isalnds. South Africa didn't kick out its white minority after the reformation. Would Hawaii kick its majority out then?

   If i had to make a speculation of the feelings of Hawaiians in Hawaii, i would expect them to be satisfied staying with the US. Their culture is now respected and stability financially and politically is an advantage of staying with the US too. I would be surprised if most Hawaiians would demand full independance just for historical reasons. I also question if the native Hawaiians receive any exemption from tax as the Native Americans do?

Originally posted by Loknar

I wonder why those Haiwans didnt fight back.

I wonder that too, but I assume here that they were never fighters and I barely can think of any wars and clashes between Hawaiians before Americans came to the islands.



Edited by ok ge
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  Quote ill_teknique Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Dec-2005 at 02:07
Originally posted by Loknar

I wonder why those Haiwans didnt fight back.

 

I say give the native Haiwaian people a referendum. If they want independance, then the americans and japanese will leave. simple as that. puerto rico can be new number 50.



my friend is part hawiian and he definetly has another opinon on hawaii - definetly nothing biased school books teach.
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  Quote ArmenianSurvival Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Dec-2005 at 03:12
G'damnit, i wrote an entire post on Hawaii without noticing that flyingzone had included the same thing in his original post

I dont know enough about Tibet, but I know that American and Chinese occupation of foreign territories has one similarity: They are FORCED OCCUPATIONS. Hawaiians didnt invite these people in, they accepted them, as decent human beings would. Shortly after, their society was infected from the inside and their native government was toppled. That is the jist of it.

Originally posted by Loknar

I wonder why those Haiwans didnt fight back.


As for Hawaiians not fighting back, I dont know how they would face the United States navy, as Hawaii either had no navy at the time, or had a VERY modest one. As for a potential ground war, well, its not much of a war if you are defending an island in which many of the cities are on the coast and are exposed to potential bombardment from a vastly superior navy. The same type of force was applied to Japan in 1854-1858 with the Perry Expedition and the Kanagawa Treaty, which surrendered the foreign trade of a self-isolated, peaceful and sovereign Japan to the control of the United States. Japan had no navy or military at the time, and many of their cities were on the coast, so its very similar to the Hawaii situation. That was actually one of the historical factors that prompted the Japanese to bomb Pearl Harbor during WWII.


Edited by ArmenianSurvival
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  Quote flyingzone Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Dec-2005 at 06:34

To respond to ok ge:  I will ask the same questions that Decebal asks: "When is an occuption legitimate? Does it stop being illegitimate once the native people have been assimilated? Is the usurpation of a territory that previously had an organized state somehow worst than if it was a territory occupied by tribal societies?"

Of course, as I implied in my original post, if a referendum on Hawaiian independence were held today, the overwhelming majority of the people would vote against it. No question about it. But does that make the historical annexation of Hawaii by the United States legitimate? Given decades of acculturation (cultural genocide?) and mixed marriages, today's Hawaii is no longer yesterday's Hawaii. And if you are asserting that the fate of Hawaii should depend on the result of a referendum, you are actually asserting two things here: (1) One has to succumb to the "tyranny of the majority" (2) One has to succumb to "fait accompli" (i.e. since things have already happened, just let it be).

But does that make the U.S. claim over Hawaii so much more legitimate (both legally, and even more so, morally) than China's claim over Tibet? Think about it. If China suddenly "imported" 10 million more Chinese to Tibet, and if China overnight became the richest country in the world, and if a referendum were to be held then, I am pretty sure most Tibetans would vote against independence as well. Does that render Chinese occupation legitimate? (I am not even that sure if a referendum were to be held today, the Tibetans would vote overwhelmingly FOR independence. But that's just a hunch ... Tibetan aspiration for independence may have been considerably inflated by the Western media. )

One thing that a lot of us seem to have neglected is that there are actually very strong historical (not to mention gegraphical) ties between China and Tibet, something that the U.S.-Hawaiian case lacks. Tibet was "sinicized" under the Tang Dynasty (THE superpower of the world back then) when a Tang princess was married to the then Tibetan King. As a result of that marriage of convenience, Chinese culture and many Chinese customs were brought to Tibet - not by force, but actually by invitation by the Tibetan royalty. Although the Tibet-China relation has not always been harmonious, one can never deny the important contribution of Chinese culture and civilization to Tibetan society.

But what has the United States "given" Hawaii? Yes, statehood, and as a result, tourist-packed beaches, hotels, golf courses, and what else .. McDonald's (which have inevitably led to the huge obesity problem among native Hawaiians). The Hawaiians have lost their identity, culture, and even their ethnicity (as the result of intermarriages). At least the Tibetans know they are still Tibetans and they still practise Buddhism under COMMUNIST China ... In a way, I could even argue that while materially speaking, the Hawaiians have gained substantially, but culturally speaking, what happened there amounts to some form of cultural genocide. I am sure a lot of Native Hawaiians will concur to that.

I evoked the whole Hawaiian case for discussion simply for the sake of alerting ourselves to the danger of "ethnocentrism" and hence applying double standards when we look at non-Western history and geopolitical reality.  

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  Quote Maju Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Dec-2005 at 07:37
Originally posted by Loknar

I wonder why those Haiwans didnt fight back.


Because they couldn't maybe?


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  Quote Maju Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Dec-2005 at 08:08
I was looking at current ethnic distribution of Hawaii and it seems like there's not a single ethnic group that would be majoritary:
  • "Asians"*: 41.6%
    • Japanese: 16.7%
    • Filipinos: 14.1%
    • Chinese: 4.7%
    • Vietnamese: 1.3%
    • Korean: 0.6%
    • Asian Indian*:  0.1%
  • "Caucasian"*:  24.3%
  • Mixed: 21.4%
  • Native Hawaian: 6.6%
  • "African American": 1.8%
  • Other Pacific Islander: 1.3%
  • Native American: 0.3%
* These tags are standard in US census. I always wonder why Asian Indians are grouped as "Asians" with East Asians and not "Caucasians" , what they are.

By language, English is absolutely the most widespread (73.5% speak it at home), followed at distance by Pacific Islands' languages, Tagalog, Japanese and Chinese.

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  Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Dec-2005 at 08:49

I am being serious here, I think it has to do with affirmative action or something like that.

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  Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Dec-2005 at 10:47

Hawaii...America's Tibet:

No way, it is far too warm.

Really, this is one of the most hare-brained analogies I have seen in this forum.....often noted for hare-braininess.

In the late 1950s the populatuion of Hawaii petitioned for statehood, and the population was more non-Anglo then than it is now.

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  Quote flyingzone Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Dec-2005 at 12:21

Explain why it is hare-brained? It may be, but you have to explain. Using adjectives like that does not help any intelligent discussion.

Non-Anglo doesn't mean it's "Hawaiian". I think Pikeshot 1600 you still don't get it. By the way, are you implying that non-Anglo Americans are less American than Anglo ones????

Thanks to mass Chinese immigration, the population of Tibet is no longer purely "Tibetan". That's why I said if a referendum on Tibetan independence were to be held today, no one could be sure about the result.

Again, every time when it comes to issues that appear to "infringe upon" someone's patriotism here, many people immediately get defensive and lose their ability to reason or to argue with rationality and calm. Instead they resort to name-calling and personal attack. This maybe the style that some people engage in debates in their own country, but please do not import that style into AE forums.

 

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  Quote tubo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Dec-2005 at 13:02

let it look at this way.hawains have every right under the constituition of america to protest and police cant do jack sh*t.unlike in commie paradise where a mere whisper can turn into a fatal police encounter.

 

America is the greatest country in the world.they have something called free speech which stupid brain dead communists cant understand.please stop comparing a terrorist communist state with great America.

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  Quote cattus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Dec-2005 at 13:58
Originally posted by flyingzone

Explain why it is hare-brained?
He did, read his post again.
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  Quote flyingzone Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Dec-2005 at 13:59

"America is the greatest country in the world."

PLEASE .... How can we engage in intelligent discussions if everyone starts talking like that?

 

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  Quote flyingzone Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Dec-2005 at 14:12

Cattus, if that's pikeshot's explanation for calling this discussion "hare-brained" (which I still believe is unwarranted), then either I am too stupid to get it or he may have missed some of the more sophisticated arguments mentioned in the posts. (I am sure some of the forumers here - especially my American friends - will no doubt call me stupid.   Is the "Hawaiian"'s petition for statehood an indication of the legality and legitimacy of American annexation of a foreign territory? How come no one is able to answer the questions raised by Decebal?

I think the United States is a pretty good country despite some of the errors that it has made in its history. (Which country hasn't erred?) It has done the world a lot of good. It has nurtured some of the most brilliant minds in science, technology, philosophy, etc. But when it comes to comparison among countries, there shouldn't be any superlatives. I am always very suspicious of those who claim their country is the best in the world. That's how dangerous nationalism begins.

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  Quote cattus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Dec-2005 at 15:01
flyingzone, you are far from stupid and seem like an intelligent new member.

Relativism is the key. If you do a breakdown of both cases and though the US is not all good here, it is obvious that this could easily be considered an insult to Tibetans for historic and present reasons.
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  Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Dec-2005 at 15:04
Originally posted by Decebal

Hmmm, that's an interesting comparison. I hadn't thought of it. When you start to think about it, the occuption of the Americas can be seen as illegitimate, and for that matter quite a few other territories in Asia, Africa and Europe. All the lands that the Americans, Canadians and all other countries in the Americas would belong to the native populations that occupied them. Are therefore the descendants of the English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, etc. in the Americas there illegitimately? Whether the native population was organized or not into a state is irrelevant. Or is it?

When is an occuption legitimate? Does it stop being illegitimate once the native people have been assimilated? Is the usurpation of a territory that previously had an organized state somehow worst than if it was a territory occupied by tribal societies.?

All questions we might have to consider. What do you guys think?

Decebal:

According to this logic, virtually every population located anywhere that did not originate in one place and never move from there is an illegitimate occupier.

It is interesting, but the monumental forces of history and of mass migration tend to make the point moot.

 



Edited by pikeshot1600
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  Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Dec-2005 at 15:10
Originally posted by flyingzone

Cattus, if that's pikeshot's explanation for calling this discussion "hare-brained" (which I still believe is unwarranted), then either I am too stupid to get it or he may have missed some of the more sophisticated arguments mentioned in the posts. (I am sure some of the forumers here - especially my American friends - will no doubt call me stupid.   Is the "Hawaiian"'s petition for statehood an indication of the legality and legitimacy of American annexation of a foreign territory? How come no one is able to answer the questions raised by Decebal?

I think the United States is a pretty good country despite some of the errors that it has made in its history. (Which country hasn't erred?) It has done the world a lot of good. It has nurtured some of the most brilliant minds in science, technology, philosophy, etc. But when it comes to comparison among countries, there shouldn't be any superlatives. I am always very suspicious of those who claim their country is the best in the world. That's how dangerous nationalism begins.

None of us here think you are unintelligent.  My reference was to your analogy, not your intention or your thought process.

Believe me, you need a thick skin around here if you want to debate (especially if you start one).  Don't take offense if someone criticizes your thesis...we don't bite, and we don't know where you are anyway.

Please accept an apology if I gave offense...it was unintended.

 

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  Quote Imperator Invictus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Dec-2005 at 15:12
I agree with the last point. Human migration is an important theme in history and only looking at modern terms is a neglect of historical trends. I don't really see what's so unique about the case of Hawaii, other than the geographical location. In fact, the whole movement of Europeans onto the American continent can be considered illegal occupation. In fact, most of the countries today are "illegally" occupying land. 
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