We would like to add our comments to those of Kahu Charles K. Maxwell (Island Voices, February 2, 2002).
We are tourists. Before our first trip to Hawaii we, like so many other visitors, expected the media image of the islands and we were not disappointed. That trip was meant to be a "once in a lifetime" experience. Why then have we returned, year after year and find that no other place on earth can lure us now?
Before our initial visit we cared enough to use as many sources as we could find to explore the history of Hawai'i and her people. We read and heard about the "Aloha Spirit" and we were anxious to discover this spirit of place for ourselves. What we found was so much more than we ever imagined that it will take a lifetime for us as "haoles" to even begin to understand what every person of Hawaiian ancestry feels in their souls despite the efforts of those who would have destroyed this proud and ancient civilization for all time in the name of greed.
We acknowledge the natural beauty of Hawai'i. This beauty is NOT found in the paved over,developed and desecrated land. It is NOT found in the glitz and glitter that are used to sell a shallow portrayal of the traditional music and dance of Hawaii. It is NOT found in the forced smiles of the Hawaiian who knows that he/she may never be allowed to earn enough to provide for the physical needs of a family despite working two or three jobs at a time. It is NOT found in the prisons that hold the results of a century of degradation for a once proud people of these islands.
The beauty of Hawai'i is "Aloha". The meaning and spirit of this one word is unique and is held in the heart of the Hawaiian people. It is so much more than the stewardship of the land, sea and sky held by a civilization that nurtured and cared for these islands for thousands of years until the
missionaries and their decedents decimated the culture in the name of their religion.
We found "Aloha" in the generosity and kindness of the Hawaiian people who have shared with us all that they cherish. We must be thankful for the efforts of Kahu Charles Maxwell and all those who have spent a lifetime preserving the Hawaiian heritage and traditions that value and protect all that the creator has provided. It is essential to the future of Hawai'i that Hawaiian influence MUST be the overriding and deciding factor for future development, for it is "Aloha" that draws us back to Hawai'i and it is "Aloha" that has claimed our hearts.
We look forward to returning to a Hawai'i that treasures and preserves its true heritage.
Carole and Fred Borg,