I must admit, I would not have been inclined to take this site seriously were it not so well done. For anyone interested in online activism, nationalism, direct democracy, or even just the land under their feet -- the "aina" as Native Hawaiians call it -- this site is a required stop.
The case and the cause are stated here in no uncertain terms: "In 1893, the United States illegally overthrew the Hawaiian government. Until today, the Hawaiian people lack a recognized form of self-governance. In 1996, we have a choice. The Native Hawaiian Vote asks all Hawaiians, 18 and over, in Hawaii`i and oversees - 'Shall the Hawaiian people elect delegates to propose a native Hawaiian Government?'"
Not a pressing question for us "haolis", but before you dismiss the notion pretentious and delusional, (as Newt Gingrich has), you may want to review some of the material here. For instance, did you know that the United States Government has formally apologized for the overthrow of Hawaii's last monarch, Queen Liliuokalani? (Students of history may recall that the queen acquiesced only under duress.) There is at least one international legal expert who thinks that the wording of the apology could provide grounds for secession and independence.
And while I concede that it's unlikely to happen, I was impressed by this electronic plea for independence on several counts.
First of all, the site is lovingly constructed, with all the latest gadgetry in place; Frames and animations have been put to fine use here.
Secondly, the graphic design, while by no means a showstopper, is a serviceable platform for the information, and competent enough to attract the idle Web surfer. Finally, and most importantly, however, the argument for sovereignty is convincingly thorough and presented in a tone that is serious without ever becoming hostile. In fact, the tenor of the site is vaguely reminiscent of Bob Marley's music: hopeful and defiant without being bitter.
And for those who think of "virtual communities" as comprised of people with diverse backgrounds from around the globe, this is a fine counterpoint: A real world, cohesive community using the Internet as a central medium, a meeting place, a virtual piece of turf, and a rallying point.
I have no idea how many Native Hawaiians check in with the site or even support the cause, but the foundation is in place and its solid. Time, I guess, to raise the flag and see who salutes.
Author: Patrick Joseph
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