August 26, 2022 - Leon Siu
Next Friday, September 2nd, we will celebrate the 184th birthday of our extraordinary Queen Liliʻuokalani. Not only was she the beloved, compassionate, courageous and wise Mōʻī of the Hawaiian Kingdom, she set the example for non-violent resistance later adopted by world-changers, Mahatma Ghandi, Rev. Martin Luther King and others… including todayʻs kiaʻi Hawaiʻi.
When faced with the certainty of bloodshed in repelling the U.S. invasion, she chose to seek a peaceful, diplomatic remedy, temporarily yielding (not surrendering) her authority to the United States (not the traitors). Even though her diplomatic protest was acknowledged and honored by U.S. President Cleveland, “the swamp” in D.C. ignored it and conspired with the insurgents to annex the Hawaiian Islands.
The showdown came in 1897 when President McKinley, a fervent supporter of American expansion, signed a treaty to annex Hawaii and the U.S. Senate sought to fast-track ratification of the treaty. In an unprecedented, masterful move, Mōʻī Liliʻuokalani spent a year in Washington, D.C. to personally lobby against annexation, and with strong support of the Kūʻe Petition, defeated the ratification of the McKinley treaty.
But what can you do when a country as powerful as the United States cheats? First through the unlawful 1893 aggression to force regime change; then the seizure of Hawaii through a bogus domestic congressional resolution and the pretense of fighting a war against Spain in the Pacific.
How did our Queen deal with such flagrant corruption, injustice and mind-boggling cheating of international law? Not to mention the deep personal disappointment in not being able as Mōʻī to protect and save her people and the lāhui from being taken over by the betrayal of a foreign power that was once a trusted best friend, that pretended to stand for all the noble ideals of fairness, freedom and democratic self-government.
She spent many hours in prayer to Ke Akua for strength and wisdom, for compassion and forgiveness. She prayed for her people and did her best to protect them from harm.
All of her actions — Yielding her authority (but not surrendering the nation) to keep her peole from being killed… Choosing diplomacy instead of war… “Abdicating” her throne (under duress and wrong identity) to save her subjects from being excecuted… Lobbying the U.S. Congress to defeat annexation… Filing lawsuits over the seizure of the “Crown Lands” (private lands) by the usurpers… Absorbing the blows of racist lies and character assasination against her by the American media… Forgiving her tormentors… Encouraging her people to be peaceful even under extreme provocation… Giving of her personal wealth to help the needy.
All of her leadership by example preserved and defined not only the character of our nation, but the ashes from which to rise again.
The life and mōhai aloha of our Mōʻī Liliʻuokalani, is what gives us the inspiration, the legal right and the kuleana to reactivate our nation. Aloha lā hānau e Liliʻuokalani
Ua mau ke ea o ka ʻāina i ka pono. The sovereignty (life) of the land is perpetuated in righteousness.