He Wahī Paʻakai: A Package of Salt

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Stop the Noise: An Open Letter to the U.S. Army Garrison-Pōhakuloa



Pōhakuloa (photos by Hāwane Rios)

To the U.S. Army Garrison-Pōhakuloa (USAG-P),

Thank you for the opportunity to submit this letter of concern regarding your military training.

You opened up this space for community members to express their concerns related to “noise.” Therefore, I’d like to take a moment to comment on the noise and hope that these words will not be met with silence but with a swell of voices and actions, chorusing together for justice.

Noise, as you are well aware, refers to sounds: loud and sometimes-disturbing sounds, confused and sometimes-violent sounds.

Noise disrupts.
Noise destroys.

Noise, also has origins in Old English, in the sense that it was applied to quarreling. And in Old French and Latin, it comes from the word “nausea,” meaning seasickness.

Noise causes disagreement and argument.
Noise causes sickness.

In Hawaiian, we refer to noise as “hana kuli,” something that makes us deaf, something that can make us close our ears, our eyes, and eventually our minds, to injustice.

I’m afraid that so much noise may result in the loss of an ability to listen, to really hear us, to hear the earth, to hear our collective cries. I’m afraid that so much noise will result in silence, your silence…

…or the ultimate tragedy: our silence, our complacency, and our ultimate demise.

Last night I lay awake listening to the noise, feeling the noise. Each bomb shook my body. Each bomb shook my heart. And my thoughts shifted to my two-month old nephew, sleeping “peacefully.” I wondered about “peace.”

What kind of world is he growing up in? What kind of world am I to introduce him to when there have been more bombs than days he’s been alive and he cannot sleep without feeling them: his tiny body being impacted by the noise, his future being destroyed by noise, his home being bombed by your noise? When did his life, and the life of all of our children, become so un-important, so un-significant, so un-valuable that you would dare to bomb his home, threatening his resources, his livelihood, his chance to live in true peace?

As I write this I watch him drink, sucking at the source of sustenance that feeds him and I wonder, what about his mother? The earth? What about her? Who will feed him when she is too tired to deal with the noise, the disruptions, the desecration, the sounds that make us deaf?

Our mother lays exposed at Pōhakuloa. And you rape her; you take advantage of her, penetrating her with your phallic bombs, as if trying to show off your own masculinity, your own power, your own control. And all the while, I hear her screaming. I feel her screaming.

There. Is. So. Much. Noise.

And we are expected to be quiet, to be quiet-ed by the noise. We are expected to cower in the face of your supposed strength and force. We are expected to be rendered deaf, blind, and heartless.

We are expected to forget:

To forget that you seized 84,000 acres of our land at no cost.
To forget that Pōhakuloa is larger than the islands of Kahoʻolawe and Lanaʻi combined.
To forget that bombing any piece of land is unjust, but that bombing land that people live on is an act of war.
To forget that you used Depleted Uranium on our mother, letting it seep into her skin, our skin.
To forget that you destroyed historic sites, attacking the physical and spiritual center of our livelihood.
And to forget that you threatened—and continue to threaten—our health in every imaginable way.

But you forget. You forget that we are connected to our mother, to Papa, to the very land that we call home. And as long as she makes noise—voicing her discontent, voicing her anger, voicing her pain—we will be here to listen and we will speak, chant, shout, pray and sing until you hear us.

Do not feign deafness. This noise, our noise, cannot be ignored.

I will continue to be noisy: to speak noisily, to type noisily, to raise my voice with volume and intensity until you can hear me, until you can hear us, until you can hear the earth, and until you are moved and shaken enough to care.

Like a bomb to your heart, you will feel this. You must feel this and act.

So, I ask, what will you do to stop the noise?

Hear us and do not respond with silence.

Emalani Case (making noise for all the protectors of this land)

Here are some of them:


Author: emalani

I write, read, dance, and study stories that span the Pacific. From my island home in Hawaiʻi, to the shores of Tahiti, to the mountains of Aotearoa, I travel over ancient pathways, sharing stories along the way.

17 thoughts on “Stop the Noise: An Open Letter to the U.S. Army Garrison-Pōhakuloa

  1. Thank you Emalani for opening our eyes and ears to the plight of the helpless. I love your writing.

  2. Mahalo for your letter. Rebekah Luke

    Sent from my iPhone rebekahstudio.wordpress.com


  3. Mahalo so very much. My heart is hearing whats happening and I’m sharing this important message with everyone. I hope they to can hear. All my aloha for your presence in our hearts.

  4. Pingback: Earth Day Doom: In Defense of the Moral Argument | He Wahī Paʻakai: A Package of Salt

  5. i love your writing

  6. ʻakamai kēia ʻōlelo, e kōkua kākou i ka hoʻokū i ola ka ʻāina no ka mea he aliʻi ka ʻāina a he kauā ke kanaka

    • Mahalo nui e ke hoa. Kākoʻo piha nō au i ia manaʻo: He aliʻi nō ka ʻāina a he mau kauā kākou. No laila, no kākou ke kuleana o ka mālama ʻana aku i ka ʻāina.

  7. so true, totally agree with your manaʻo. love your blogs

  8. This is a very beautifully written article. I like this letter because I feel it speaks the truth of what is happening. I feel the community is blind to this issue. This is very inspiring for the younger generations especially for us haumāna at Ke Kula ʻo Nāwahīokalaniʻōpuʻu for us to make a change and stand up for what is right. Mahalo!

  9. I really appreciate how you used “hana kuli” to refer to this noise, you didnt just grab any word from the hawaiian dictionary you got the right word for this subject, and your right people nowadays really need to think about the ʻāina and the future we want to leave for the up and coming generation

  10. This is an inspiring process of how you expressed your feeling and being discrete about what the topic actually is, the ʻnoise” is obviously a reference to the bomb that are used and the mechanics that they use to project them. This is very respectful and the way that you expressed your feeling towards this topic and the taking of the land is powerful and I believe that if this article is shared publicly people, the Hawaiians of todays era would finally know what you are doing and why. Mahalo.

  11. very inspiring and true.

  12. It is unjust, isn’t it? the land has no voice personally, but an intense and ikaika one in you. Mahalo no kou leo kūpaʻa.. manaʻolana au e mau ana kou hoʻohina ʻana i nā pilikua me kou mau huaʻōlelo paio.

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