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Letters to the Editor


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Tuesday, December 14, 2004



No aloha in extinction of Hawaiian people

It was initially unclear if George Berish, when writing about a Hawaii with no Hawaiians (Letters, Dec. 12), was referring to the result of ethnic genocide or a discovery of the islands without the aboriginal people. However, it was very easy to interpret his letter as supporting ethnic genocide when he referred to the absence of Hawaiians as a "relief from the massive government and tax expenditures."

Berish fails to recognize that it is the commonalities among Hawaiian, Fijian, Samoan and Tahitian cultures that allow local tourism to implement elements of those cultures here in Hawaii as parts of the collective Polynesian culture. In response to his Kamehameha Schools tax exemption comment, I wonder how much more it would cost the state to educate all students currently enrolled at Kamehameha.

Suggesting that a single ethnic group is a burden to taxpayers and encouraging readers to imagine the absence of that same entire group lacks aloha, the very thing Berish says would remain and claims to value. Ethnic extinction is not aloha, and I hope Star-Bulletin readers know that.

Derek H. Kauanoe
Honolulu

Aloha runs deeper than 'neighborliness'

George L. Berish's "Creator" endowed Hawaii with much more than sun, sea, mountains, good weather and tourists. He also blessed these islands with Hawaiians. Hawaii without Hawaiians, with their easy grace and aloha toward everyone, would be a much lesser place.

In his letter of Dec. 12, Berish confuses "aloha spirit" with "neighborliness." These are very unequal qualities. By Berish's description, "neighborliness" springs from a forced and rational accommodation of people who are cast together. Aloha spirit is a profound cultural largesse, extended to all those we meet. Hawaiians embraced all others not by requirement, but by the dictates of a cultural imperative. Ironically, this embracing has, in many respects, been to their detriment and folly.

Berish points to the below-average health, education and accomplishment of Hawaiians, in the pejorative. He implies that "massive expenditures" toward remedy of these social ills is wasteful, and dismisses any rehabilitation of Hawaiians as undeserving and simply not worth the effort. He predictably also points to the Bishop Estate as an "entitlement" unfairly squandered on these natives. That familiar racist cat again leaps from its bag, and the enmity of its claws is poorly disguised.

I know many Hawaiians, and their absence from our landscape would be a profound and permanent loss. I doubt that Berish knows very many, aside from his ticketed seat at the Polynesian Cultural Center. However, we know many Berishes. We meet them daily. We will never be at a loss for this common species; our sometimes perverse tides keep washing them ashore.

Puakinamu Pua'a
Pearl City

Army families grateful for sergeant's column

I would like to especially thank Sgt. Robert Jennings for his Dec. 5 article, "Medical platoon describes surprises, difficulties of job." My son is Pfc. Jason K. Smith, and I was so glad to see the picture of his medical platoon and hear his comments.

Thank you, Sgt. Jennings, for all you have done and do on a daily basis to help others who desperately need help. I know it's a bleak area and hard to be away from home. All America thanks you and all of your company for the sacrifices you make to keep us safe at home.

Charlene Smith
Indianapolis, Ind.

UH Christmas Eve game poorly timed

University of Hawaii football fans are now bragging that we will be in the only game on national TV on Dec. 24. When one has something that no one else wants, it's nothing to be proud of.

Christmas Eve services are the second-most-attended Christian event every year in U.S. churches (Easter Sunday is first). Most family services start at 6 or 7 p.m.

A 2 p.m. start time in Hawaii means the game is losing a huge share of its Christian viewers on the mainland, except for West Coast fans who might get to see the first half before they leave for church, as it typically takes four hours for Hawaii to complete a game. And many of us in Hawaii who will be attending the game will have to leave early to get to church on time.

A noon start time would accommodate all Hawaii and West Coast Christian fans, and since the rest of the nation of churchgoers won't be watching anyway, whether it be a noon or 2 p.m. Hawaiian start time, why not take care of the local fans who will be paying the bills next year?

Larry Weis
Aiea



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The Star-Bulletin welcomes letters that are crisp and to the point (150 to 200 words). The Star-Bulletin reserves the right to edit letters for clarity and length. Please direct comments to the issues; personal attacks will not be published. Letters must be signed and include a daytime telephone number.

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