Solidarity message from Kyle Kajihiro from Hawaiʻi



Solidarity message from Kyle Kajihiro from Hawaiʻi


Warm greetings and solidarity from U.S. occupied Hawaiʻi to the attendees of the third Peoples' Tribunal on Sri Lanka it's an honor to stand with you for freedom and justice for Eelam Tamils.

My name is Kyle Kajihiro I'm a lecturer in geography and ethnic studies at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. I'm also a member of Hawaiʻi Peace and Justice Koa Futures and the Oʻahu Water Protectors as well as other grassroots groups working to counter U.S. militarization. Although I am not Kānaka Maoli or indigenous Hawaiian my family history in Hawaiʻi goes back to the late 19th century. As a settler of Japanese ancestry I feel a strong responsibility to stand with the Hawaiian independence movement.

The kingdom of Hawaiʻi was a sovereign country that enjoyed its independence and diplomatic relations with all other countries until the U.S. militarily backed a white settler coup d'etat in 1893. Hawaiʻi was the first instance of the U.S. employing regime change against another sovereign state. The United States sought a mid-Pacific military outpost from which to extend its military and economic power across the Pacific Ocean to Asia. You could say that Hawaiʻi was the fulcrum of the first U.S. Pacific pivot despite successful efforts by Hawaiian nationals to defeat treaties of annexation between Hawaiʻi and the United States.

The war with Spain provided the military justification to take our islands as a wartime necessity, thus the role of the U.S. military has been hostile to Hawaiian interests ever since the beginning.

The U.S. occupation of Hawaiʻi led to massive militarization of Hawaiian lands. Today the U.S. military has 142 installations controls approximately 221 thousand acres of land, 68 of which consist of the trust lands of the Hawaiian kingdom. Approximately 24 percent of the island of Oʻahu is occupied by the U.S. military. The military is trying to mitigate nearly 1000 contaminated sites in Hawaiʻi. It is by far the largest polluter since the 1970s.

Kānaka Maoli have struggled to defend their lands and waters and to restore their sovereignty.

From 1976 to 1990 the Protect Kahoʻolawe ʻOhana led a victorious struggle to stop the Navy bombing of Kahoʻolawe island which was considered sacred by Kānaka Maoli to the deity Kanaloa of the deep sea. Kahoʻolawe is now being restored as a cultural and ecological reserve.

Other struggles are ongoing at xxxxx valley on Oʻahu, xxxxx on Hawaiʻi island, xxxxxx on Kauaʻi and other locations where the U.S. military still conducts destructive activities.

Recently there was a leak at the Navy's giant and deteriorating red hill fuel storage tanks near Pearl Harbor. These tanks hold up to 250 million gallons of fuel and sit just 100 feet above the main drinking water source for Oʻahu. Contamination in the Navy's water system led to the poisoning of thousands of military families and water users, and the displacements of of tens of thousands of residents from their homes while the water was toxic. After an intense campaign by the Oʻahu Water Protectors Kū Kia’i Wai and other groups and the united front from all sectors of society, the Secretary of Defense Austin finally announced that the tanks would be defueled and permanently decommissioned. However we are still awaiting plans and definite timelines. Meanwhile every second that passes is like a ticking of a time bomb over our drinking water.

Every two years the U.S. navy sponsors RIMPAC or the Rim of the Pacific multinational military exercises in Hawaiʻi. It is the largest such training activity. This year they expect up to 27 countries and approximately 40 000 military personnel participating in training on land air and sea. These activities always bring negative environmental and social impacts.

RIMPAC is also a venue where the U.S. performs international relations. For example in the past China was invited to participate but then was disinvited several years ago. This year Taiwan may invite be invited in the role of observer which is a jab at China.

Countries with horrible human rights records have also been invited to participate in RIMPAC, which gives assent to the crimes of these militaries. For example Indonesia has been has become a full participant in RIMPAC despite being previously banned due to the atrocities its military committed in East Timor and despite ongoing atrocities in West Papua. Israel is a regular participant despite its crimes against Palestinians and Sri Lanka has been a regular participant in RIMPAC despite its crimes against Eelam Tamils.

So I want to thank you for making us aware of the struggle of Eelam Tamils and of the role of the United States and Sri Lanka in perpetuating these war crimes. Eelam Tamils as well as all people have the right to self-determination and freedom and we extend our solidarity and aloha to our Eelam Tamil relatives struggling to be free. We will help to spread news about your situation and your efforts here in Hawaiʻi and in our work with groups across Oceania and Asia during our actions against RIMPAC exercises Eelam Tamils will be in our hearts and will be part of our messaging about why RIMPAC must stop and why military expansion in the Indian Ocean must be ended freedom for Eelam Tamils freedom, for Hawaiʻi freedom for Guahan, Okinawa, Jeju, West Papua and all people still struggling to be free.

And to close I just want to share a Hawaiian chant that has inspired me it's called the xxxxxxx it goes:


It roughly translates into: what is above will go down, what is below will rise up, the islands will unite and the walls of the structure or the peoples will stand.

Aloha in solidarity.


2022 May 20

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