Deep, Explosive Kaumaha
Happy Mōhalu everyone!
I want to be very honest with all of you. Earlier last week I wrote a completely different entry about what I’ve been up to and some upcoming things but none of that really matters to me right now. Currently we are watching one of the biggest uprisings my generation has seen and it is being lead by Black people. People who have been oppressed for hundreds of years who’s voices have been silenced by government leaders upholding a system that is fundamentally racist.
I have two things to offer you on this Mōhalu:
By clicking on the above link you will find a few petitions that I have supported. You will also find links of organizations that I have donated to as well as ones that I plan on donating to once I get more money. I am committed to honoring the generosity that so many showed me at the beginning of the pandemic. My updated playlist of songs that might help you expand your view and perspective a little more. I love you all.
Stay safe everyone.
I also would like to leave you with a word from Bryan Kamaoli Kuwada. As a Native Hawaiian, this resonated with me very deeply and his words gave voice to so many emotions I am feeling in this moment. I hope that it finds a place in your heart as well.
“Alright, I get nervous when I see uprisings turn into riots, but mainly because it often means police get to ramp up their tactics and folks far away from the situation get to make comments about how “that is not the way to get things done.”
The truth is that if anyone should sympathize with and understand what is going on on the continent, it should be us kānaka ʻōiwi. Not because our oppressions are the same as the folks who are in the streets, but because we should be able to understand their grief, how deep and explosive kaumaha can be.
When important people in our lāhui, often aliʻi, would pass away, there would be a time when the normal kapu would be upended. People would wail in the streets; there would sometimes be fighting; people would cut their hair in weird designs, sometimes like a mohawk of sorts (ʻako mahiole); they would wear their malo around their necks; they would tattoo their lips or tongue; and some folks would disfigure themselves with scars, with some accounts even saying that people would put out one of their eyes. When the aliʻi Kalola died, Kamehameha and other aliʻi knocked out their own teeth to show the depths of their grief.
This was a particular kind of grief we called mānewanewa. The fact that we had a name for it recognizes that we understood that sadness is not the only feeling that we have when we mourn, that rage and sometimes even violence are parts of grieving.
For us, these bursts of mānewanewa often came to an end when an aliʻi reinstated the normal kapu. But imagine what would happen if the mānewanewa never ended. What if there never was a "normal kapu" that allowed you to live in a pono society? What would it be like if the mānewanewa lasted for hundreds of years because you were never given the chance to stop grieving? How might you feel when the mānewanewa started again for you every single day?
Imagine the toll this would have on a community's naʻau. Their ʻōlelo, their nohona, their ʻikena, their makakū, all of it. So yes, the uprisings/riots are complicated. There is a lot to think about/learn/analyze, and it sounds like some of what is going on is caused by white nationalist (which means racist) groups with very different agendas, but at the core of what we are witnessing is a Black mānewanewa that we should not only recognize deep in our guts, but support in whatever ways we can.
Instead of giving folks platitudes about how they should be kapu aloha, we should trust the folks who are kamaʻāina and even ʻōiwi to those communities. They are the ones who clean up the mornings after, they are the ones who kawowo and liko and lau in those streets, and they are the ones who will have to continue their struggle for their sometimes very literal ea when this is done. No laila, e nā hoa ʻōiwi o nei ʻāina, e hoʻomanaʻo i nā hua noʻeau o ka poʻe o mua, hilinaʻi Kaʻū, kālele iā Puna; hilinaʻi Puna, kālele iā Kaʻū.”