Washing ashore in Hawaii

US Politics
on 29 Comments

I didn’t think it would be like The Brady Bunch—brown women with bare midriffs and grass skirts offering leis as we stepped onto a sunny tarmac—and yet I can’t say I expected Animal House, either.  But that’s exactly what I got on my United flight from San Francisco to Honolulu, an economy-class atrocity filled with sun-starved tourists (guessing by their accents) from the upper Midwest.  

The scent of cheap liquor and coconut sunscreen suffused the fuselage.  People in short sleeve button-ups patterned with safari hats and palm fronds shouted obscenities up and down the aisles.  They continued hooting and yapping long after it was time for any reasonable person to have slept.  Cognizant of what happens to unruly Arabs on airplanes, I conducted a silent protest by swallowing an Ambien.  

As I began to doze, I remembered that journeys to Tel Aviv are notorious for rude passengers.  Shitty inbound flights appear to be a standard feature of visiting places suffering military occupation.  


The Makua military reservation in Oahu

I heard the line more than once in advance of my trip to Hawaii:  “It’s like another country.”  It’s almost an accurate observation.  Hawaii is another country.  

The islands, once discrete chiefdoms sharing linguistic, cultural, and political affinities, unified in the late-18th century and entered into a trade alliance with Great Britain (the union jack still adorns Hawaii’s state flag), under the watchful eye of a covetous United States.  In 1893, facing pressure from the American business community, two Marine battalions overthrew Queen Lili’uokalani, putting the kingdom under US military rule, a status it maintained until becoming the 50th state in 1959.  The US government formally apologized for the coup a century later, but offered no plan for restoring Hawaii to Indigenous rule.  

Americans don’t think of Hawaii as occupied territory.  (Too many of them don’t think about occupied territory at all.)  If you’re drunk, off of either patriotism or generic liquor, I suppose it can be difficult to spot.  The heavy military presence on the islands is obvious, but decent citizens are trained to view it is an expression of Hawaii’s freedom, not its subjugation.  Americans can’t even watch their favorite sport without seeing “Salute To Service” festooned on the end zones.  The country’s independence of spirit has always produced this sort of ritual groveling.  The military is more likely than God to provoke charges of blasphemy.  

The military presence in Hawaii enabled more efficient conquest of the Philippines, Korea, Indochina, and various Pacific nations.  Installing bases throughout the state has not only allowed the US to better manage its East Asian interests, but also to control the vast topography of the Pacific.  Hawaii itself has been a fruitful site of extraction, particularly the cash crops of pineapple, banana, coffee, and sugar.  

One glaring imposition is the Makua military reservation in Oahu, some forty miles west of Honolulu.  Nestled between volcanic outcrops and crystalline beaches, the reservation occupies verdant land that the Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiians), along with the rest of the civilian population, cannot access.  Each Hawaiian island is small, including the eponymous “big island,” an accurate descriptor only in relation to its neighbors.  The proliferation of bases further restricts their size.  

25 percent of Oahu, for example, is controlled by the military, a figure that doesn’t include housing and sites of recreation.  This enormous loss of land impedes agricultural development (Hawaii, boasting a tropical climate, imports 85 percent of its produce).  It also drives up housing costs, a contributing factor to a serious homelessness problem (or “houselessness,” as locals call it).  

The occupation of Hawaii is evident throughout Oahu’s suburban landscape.  The area around Pu’uloa (Pearl Harbor) hosts neat little subdivisions of duplexes and semitropical tract houses surrounded by ubiquitous chain-link fences.  In the middle of it all is a Navy-issue golf course, a monstrosity of land usage with reserved parking for the head of the Pacific Command.  

Incoming rainstorm at Makua

I stood outside Makua with a group of friends and watched through a barricade of crisscrossed steel as a rainstorm gathered.  The clouds, tumbling leeward in a bone-white haze, hugged the sharp façade of the mountains, the edges of their downburst sprinkling our faces.  For years, fighter jets lobbed bombs into the valley, but from our vantage point only the germination of life was visible.  

I’ve never seen anything so spectacular.  And in Hawaii’s nonstop contrast between lushness and sparsity, I’ve never seen anything so spectacularly discordant.  


I visited Hawaii in large part to learn more about Kanaka Maoli resistance and to converse with local activists and intellectuals about Palestine.  There’s a lot to compare, and a lot to gain from making comparisons.  However, we ought to be careful not to strip national communities of their distinctiveness.  Useful comparison finds a way to enlarge rather than restrict a people’s existence.  

Here are some of the notable differences between Hawaii and Palestine: for a significant period of time Hawaii was an independent kingdom, a type of sovereignty Palestine has never enjoyed; international law has a more comprehensive basis in Palestine, though many of its conventions apply to Hawaii; there are nearly as many Palestinian Arabs as Israeli Jews within the borders of historical Palestine, and more if we take into account surrounding countries, while the Kanaka Maoli are a distinctive minority; with sizable East Asian populations, many descended from laborers conscripted to the islands, Hawaii has a more complex ethnic composition than Palestine, which, while hosting a wide range of ethnicities, is fundamentally organized around a confessional axis; Hawaii is already a formal possession of the USA while the West Bank and Gaza Strip have not been officially annexed; and the pre-Zionist Jewish presence in Palestine is of a different nature than the early European presence in Hawaii.  

These differences are important because they indicate that while Kanaka Maoli and Palestinians share a desire for liberation, their visions of a liberated polity may not cohere (in some cases, they may; the point is to allow for the possibility).  Strategies and considerations will therefore diverge.  Recognizing disparities isn’t a problem of communal activism; it is a necessary element of productive interchange.  

Enough commonalities exist among the two nations for a shared political project: both suffer military occupation, land theft, foreign settlement, and structural racism. In fact, they contest the same colonial apparatus. This point may seem counterintuitive, but these days the United States and Israel differ only according to technicalities of nomenclature and color scheme. Collusion between the US and Israel is by now axiomatic.  

People needn’t be identical to know that it is foolish to oppose one of those powers while ignoring the other.  

Palestinian men sporting “deoccupy Hawaii” lanyards; with Ali Musleh


An interesting commonality between Hawaii and Palestine derives from the colonial imagination.  Hawaii has been presented in American society as both barbaric and utopian.  Promising an escape from the stresses of industrial life, it is a mirthful place of hula skirts and campy shirts, abounding in exotic rituals, fruit plantations, and oversexualized island women, all available without leaving the country.  It took their perceived defeat for Hawaiians to be portrayed as quixotic.  In tenser periods, they were shown as a dark, strange race demanding subjugation.  

Depending on the moment, Palestine can be a mystical land of redemption or a generic desert frontier inhabited by terrorists and religious deviants.  Palestine is a never-world, easy to erase from history and yet always in conflict with the myths of the Judeo-Christian tradition.  Palestine’s majority-Muslim population betrays America’s historical imagination; the natural recourse is to replace it with a people more befitting the Holy Land.  Iconography that satisfies the demands of expansionism and white supremacy is deeply important to Americans.  

The defeated but heroic soldiers of Masada and Pearl Harbor provide an interesting point of comparison.  American and Israeli national identity stake themselves on the resilience of the underdog.  They aren’t mere polities in a chaotic global order, but exalted nations destined to succeed, positioned in exception to their more ordinary peers.  Even though nearly two millennia separate Masada and Pearl Harbor, they similarly fortify the notion, repeated with the intensity of an excitable cricket, that the state is an invincible organism possessed of the will to vanquish whatever savagery it randomly encounters.  

Because they have been transformed into objects of American and Israeli self-regard, Hawaii and Palestine cannot accommodate colonial pragmatism.  Federalism?  Extended autonomy?  Limited self-rule?  A state minus?  None of these concepts is acceptable to the task of independence; indeed, each is a euphemism for continued dispossession.  The colonized don’t want diplomatic charity; they seek a new world that doesn’t confine them to a permanent state of transition.  

Arguments deeming this goal unrealistic imply that Indigenous peoples should abandon their aspirations of freedom.  Indigenous activism emphasizes what the capitalist imagination considers unfeasible.  Listen to Hawaiians and Palestinians.  They constantly attempt to conceptualize a world unbound by commonsensical notions of the possible.  


My visit to Hawaii coincided with an appearance by Donald Trump.  While I was learning about water, an engine of colonization, and taro, the islands’ staple crop, Trump was creating traffic nightmares in Honolulu.  I wasn’t mad at him, though.  His presence siphoned off the alt-right loudmouths who sometimes turn up at university events.  I was a less interesting source of protest than Trump’s protesters.  

Trump makes it easier to understand why Indigenous peoples don’t appreciate American rule.  No rational person wants to be led by an avowed sexual predator whose go-to strategy is whipping up racial animus.  Yet Trump has a way of absorbing problems infinitely larger than himself.  He’s a disembodied buffoon onto whom deeper anxieties can be projected.  

Put more plainly, Trump is the result of colonization, not of democracy-gone-awry.  The “democracy” he inherited is working as it should, by subsidizing crooks and billionaires at the expense of communal well-being.  If we delink wealth from intelligence, then it’s easy to see that a leader of Trump’s doltishness isn’t an aberration.  (Binyamin Netanyahu makes a fine comparison.)  Of all the things he’s made to symbolize, it’s the rotten possibilities of capitalism that ring most accurate.  

Colonized peoples often become targets of liberal rage during electoral spectacles because many of their intellectuals insist on pointing out that structural problems can’t be mitigated by the ascendance of party icons.  For example, it’s become a truism that any politician seeking national office in the USA must appease pro-Israel sensibilities (and thus we should forgive this flaw).  Putting aside whether or not it’s true these days (I don’t think it is), the more pressing question, raised at the expense of the speaker’s reputation, is why Palestinians have to abide this kind of indignity.  They’re more or less being told that they should defer freedom until the grown-ups sort out more important problems at some indeterminate point in the future.  Such implications are baked into colonial governance:  the native must relinquish personhood in order to access the body politic.  

Advocates of decolonization certainly can, and perhaps in some cases should, participate in the civic rituals of their occupiers, but they understand that in the end neither pragmatism nor patience provides a long-term solution.  An extensive body of literature in Indigenous Studies explores questions of organizing in colonized societies.  These points of view are critical to both theorization and praxis in leftist spaces.  Ignoring them makes it too easy to treat skepticism about the utility of Western democracy with contempt.  Indigenous peoples are essential to any decent resistance, and much more radical than standard-bearing lefty pundits if we understand radicalism as a willingness to subvert ruling classes.  

Not even an unwelcome presidential motorcade, its stench spritzed across the breadth of Honolulu, could diminish the fact that it required conquest, not consent, for a man like Trump to become president of Hawaii.  


Steven Salaita with Joy Enomoto, Kim Compoc, and Cynthia Franklin at Waikana Beach. Sign says “No TMT.”

I didn’t get to Mauna Kea, but I heard plenty about it.  The huge volcano, topping out at 13,802 feet, is probably the most visible site of conflict between the Kanaka Maoli and their adversaries.  

With the support of various governments and universities, NASA intends to construct the Thirty Meter Telescope [TMT] at its summit, said to be one of the best places in the world for stargazing.  A technological marvel that promises great advancement in the fields of astronomy and physics, the TMT represents the biggest dream of modernity, conquering the unknown and then controlling its place in the universe.  

It would also sit atop a site sacred to the Kanaka Maoli.  Given that sanctity as a source of discord is a tired motif, I don’t want to downplay Mauna Kea’s significance.  It is the most important mountain to Hawaiians; it also happens to be a conservation trust.  Construction of the TMW would disrupt Kanaka Maoli religious practices.  If this seems easy to dismiss, then consider how you might feel if a higher power decided to corrode something essential to your existence.  

The Kanaka Maoli haven’t taken kindly to the TMT.  The telescope’s status is currently tied up in court.  Protestors have occupied both the base and summit of the mountain, shutting down construction in its early phase.  Police have arrested demonstrators, but those I spoke with aren’t dissuaded by the tactic.  It’s clear that even if the courts order the project forward, nothing will be easily built.  Events on the ground are almost certainly livelier than whatever is happening in outer space.  

Of interest is the way corporate media portray the issue, often billing it a conflict between science and superstition.  (Scientists tend to use this framing, too.)  But we’re better served complicating the categories, which derive from old colonial discourses.  Condemning Hawaiians as anti-science doesn’t merely suggest that they are savage; it also devalues their impressive scientific legacy while absolving Western science of its role in perpetuating (or cosigning) a plethora of savagery, from brutal experimentation on human subjects (Auschwitz, Tuskegee, Abu Ghraib) to environmental devastation.  

Anyway, even if we accept the ludicrously narrow terms of the binary, is any dimension of religion really more superstitious than the belief that a cosmos infiltrated by capitalism can save us from destruction?  

Too many actors can’t seem to carry out a debate about Mauna Kea without reproducing ancient logic about the unsuitability of Natives for the modern world.  The main problem with this logic isn’t its incorrectness (wrong to the point of silliness) or its self-regard (egotistical to the point of Donald Trump), but what it implies about the future of Indigenous peoples.  If something has to go, it won’t be modernity.  

Instead of rehashing age-old tropes, people might try discussing Mauna Kea beyond its tabloid features.  To whom does the land belong?  Who gets to control what happens there?  Doesn’t sovereignty include the right to religious stewardship?  Is the exploration of other worlds worth the pain we cause fellow human beings in the world we actually inhabit?  

Mauna Kea is more than a fortuitous piece of real estate.  It is a place of worship, a miracle of geology, a site of reflection, a call to struggle, a symbol of national autonomy.  Any landscape is many things at once, but only if we view it beyond economic utility.  

Mauna Kea arises in a continuous swell from the Pacific.  From its base on the seafloor, it extends above 33,000 feet.  To make sense of its dimensions, we measure it according to the visible part, but its primary mass is unseen and continues pushing out of the water.  It brings us closer to the stars without the benefit of technology.  


Everybody from the hotel clerk to an NPR reporter told me about the monk seal.  In late June, a mother had come ashore at Kaimana Beach to birth her new pup.  Locals gave the mother, Rocky, necessary space to wean the cub, named after her birthplace, a process that lasted into early November.  They soon had their own Facebook account.  

Little Kaimana had skin like jet black patent leather, dusted with grains of sand and adorned by pliant whiskers.  She sometimes smiled for photographers and liked to show affection, nestling with Rocky and occasionally kissing her mouth.  People spoke of the seals in a reverent tone, as if cognizant of the world’s fragility.  It was a moment of agreement, an existential reckoning around dark flesh on tan sand, a reemergence of wilderness in the suburbs, the contrasts offering an incisive answer to the world’s most complicated questions.  

In the presence of Rocky and Kaimana, people felt secure.  That sense of security didn’t arise from an abundance of bases and armaments, but from the simplicity of milk, stones, and water.

About Steven Salaita

Steven Salaita's most recent book is Inter/Nationalism: Decolonizing Native America and Palestine.

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29 Responses

  1. eljay
    November 15, 2017, 12:39 pm

    Thank you for that wonderfully-written article, Mr. Salaita.

  2. Bont Eastlake
    November 15, 2017, 9:03 pm

    This is so true. So many well meaning activists spend so much energy and manpower focusing solely on Israel and Israeli state institutions but remain clueless on the bigger picture, that they themselves are a part of.

  3. Citizen
    November 16, 2017, 6:13 am

    In his new memoir, Sen. Akaka comes out in support of Thirty Meter Telescope http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/story/36557574/in-his-new-memoir-sen-akaka-comes-out-in-support-of-thirty-meter-telescope#.Wg1yYLZzTiU.twitter

    2005 survey shows 2 of 3 Hawaiian residents are not in favor of separate government for native Hawaiians: http://new.grassrootinstitute.org/2005/07/recent-survey-of-hawaii-residents-shows-two-out-of-three-oppose-akaka-bill/

    • Bont Eastlake
      November 17, 2017, 9:03 am

      Akaka is hardly a popular representative of Hawaiians as a whole, let alone the Kanaka Maoli.

      Hawaiian residents are mostly a product of population transfer by the colonial government and its preceding capitalist financiers. They are not native to the land, in the same way the Kanaka Maoli are. The Kanakas were the first peoples that arrived and settled on the islands, and ended up with the worst conditions, in all measures of life, after colonisation. The sharply divergent political leanings should be expected and handled in a fair and just manner. Not just go blindly with the numbers ignoring all nuances and intricancies of politics of an oppressed people.

  4. Bont Eastlake
    November 16, 2017, 6:21 am

    Israel, have long been considered by many thinkers and political minds, as being the an outpost of a bigger system of oppression and settler-colonialism. Despite on surface, it looks like a standalone human endeavor by a specific group, in its own admission, “the Jewish people”, in reality its not much different from any other settler colonial structures such as the USA, Canada and Australia. These all grew from the same root of European white supremacism, itself a reactionary movement to counter the influence of Islam from the East and the south of Spain.

    Hence, the astonishing commonalities between all these so called sovereign, independent countries who speak their own languages, represent their own peoples and cultures, pray to their own Gods and dance to their own songs. English, French, Hebrew. North America, Middle East, the Pacific. Protestants, Catholics, Jews.

    They share the same economic system, they share the same racial understanding of humanity, they share the same contempt of women empowerment, they share the same contempt for charity, fair distribution of wealth, they share the same contempt for indigenous cultures. Last but not least, they share the most contempt towards Islam, the faith that started it all.

    • Mooser
      November 16, 2017, 4:50 pm

      “…Islam, the faith that started it all.”

      Must we declare which was the “faith that started it all”?
      Maybe they did, but it was a long time ago, and grudges should be dismissed.

      • Bont Eastlake
        November 16, 2017, 8:54 pm

        Time is an illusion. The passage of time do not change the truth into becoming lies, or vice versa.

      • Mooser
        November 17, 2017, 11:47 am

        “Time is an illusion. The passage of time do not change the truth into becoming lies, or vice versa.”

        Wow, this is totally awesome! What for years, decades, has been an inchoate, not to mention nebulous world of ideas just beyond my comprehension (which, let me tell you, upset my kishkas like you wouldn’t believe) has been brilliantly illuminated, delineating mankind’s existential position as a flash of lightening in a storm gives a distressed sailor one life-saving view of the entrance to that port in a storm.
        Thanks, “Bont”.

    • RoHa
      November 16, 2017, 8:59 pm

      “they share the same racial understanding of humanity,”

      The Chinese and Japanese each traditionally regarded their own race as superior. The marriage ads in The Times Of India include such phrases as “sharp featured, wheatish complexion”, in order to make it clear that they are Aryans and not dark Dravidians or round-faced Assamese.

      “they share the same contempt of women empowerment,”

      And yet the status of women in West European cultures is better than in most other cultures. Far Easterners are catching up. India is not terribly good for women, the Arab world frequently quite bad, and Africa very bad.

      “they share the same contempt for charity, fair distribution of wealth,”

      There wasn’t a lot of fair distribution of wealth in traditional China, Japan, India,or the Islamic countries.

      “they share the same contempt for indigenous cultures.”

      Ask the Ainu about the Japanese.

      Of course, you can try to whip up a way of blaming all this on European white supremacism, but to me it looks as though the faults of white Europeans are faults of humanity in general. “Could do better if tried harder” is on all our report cards.

      • Bont Eastlake
        November 19, 2017, 12:34 am


        Of course other cultures and nations have faults of their own. But then again, these cultures do not pretend to be enlightened or civilized beyond who they really are. They don’t try to impose their understanding of society and the world onto others as universal fact. They don’t engage in cultural imperialism that devalues native culture and way of life, and rob them of their dignity as fellow human beings.

        How other cultures conduct themselves is their problem, no matter how problematic we may find their ideals and actions to be. If Chinese want to see themselves as superior to others, or Indians wanting to practice endogamy, thats their business. As long as they dont infringe upon the right of others to live as they choose to.

        White supremacist culture however is malignant towards every other culture outside of the white, Christian strain of humanity. It actively seeks to dominate and humiliate all other cultures different or opposing to it, with unashamed illusions of superiority. Its not the same thing as other cultures raising itself up because white culture puts every other culture down. Thats what’s white culture is. Its the nigger, the Muslim terrorist, the docile but smart Asians, the uppity bitch, the slut, the faggot, the lazy brown people, the dirty Indians, the uncivilized natives. The worthless masses of poor forsaken by God and billionaire prophets.

      • RoHa
        November 19, 2017, 11:07 pm

        “these cultures do not pretend to be enlightened or civilized beyond who they really are. They don’t try to impose their understanding of society and the world onto others as universal fact. They don’t engage in cultural imperialism that devalues native culture and way of life,”

        If you really believe this, you need a lot more history lessons.

      • Bont Eastlake
        November 20, 2017, 8:34 am


        As we speak,

        Are white Australian not occupying a landmass that was already inhabited by the native aborigines? Through the collective organisation known as the government of Australia? Are the native aborigines forced to yield to the laws and orders from this government else risk violent state retribution through the police or army?

        Are white New Zealanders not occupying the landmass already inhabited by the native Maoris? Are the Maoris not forced to yield to the laws and orders they never signed up for, in their own homeland?

        Are whites not occupying the landmass of Turtle Island through the white supremacist governments of the USA and Canada. Land that were already inhabited by multitude of nations of native Americans for thousands of years. Are the natives not subject to the oppressive laws and orders from the government that happily massacred their ancestors?

        All the while, their ancestral homelands of the UK, Ireland, Germany or France…these are all sovereign nations. These countries havent been swallowed by the Earth or drowned by the sea. Which means white people still have their homeland they can return to.

        Maoris, the Australian aboriginals, the Native Hawaiians, the various Native American tribes and nations have no other homeland. Think about that.

      • Kaisa of Finland
        November 20, 2017, 9:17 am

        “White supremacist culture however is malignant towards every other culture outside of the white, Christian strain of humanity. It actively seeks to dominate and humiliate all other cultures different or opposing to it, with unashamed illusions of superiority. Its not the same thing as other cultures raising itself up because white culture puts every other culture down. Thats what’s white culture is. Its the nigger, the Muslim terrorist, the docile but smart Asians, the uppity bitch, the slut, the faggot, the lazy brown people, the dirty Indians, the uncivilized natives. The worthless masses of poor forsaken by God and billionaire prophets..”

        Dear Bont,

        I don’t know who you are and in which bubble you were born. I most dearly recommend you to travel around the world: India, Africa, the Middle East and what ever place you are talking about. I have seen enough to get speechless “infront of” your comments. When you personally meet little girls who are circumcised, infected and in sevear pain just because of some “eternal” beliefs of no real argument or meet villages where people really bealieve AIDS can be cured by having sex with a new born, I don’t know what you mean at all. It doesn’t need a “White European” to know how to be crule or ignorant.

        If the “White World” is so bad as you say, why is there a young Afghan woman (born in Kabul 1984) eleceted as a member of Finnish Parliament and now also working as Deputy Mayor of our Capital City Helsinki?? Why can’t she be doing the same in her first home country, which I am sure she’d be happy to do too. One day she might be our president and I would not mind at all. She shares the same values I do of humanity and what is the most important in this life.


      • Kaisa of Finland
        November 20, 2017, 9:34 am

        Bont, what bothers me is that you obviously live in U.S.A.?? Why are you living there, if you don’t share “the American values”?? And if the destiny of the Native Americans touches you so much, what is it, you yourself have done to improve their conditions (you are also living on their former land now!!)??

      • Kaisa of Finland
        November 20, 2017, 10:32 am


        “..every other culture outside of the white, Christian strain of humanity..”

        What is this “White Christian strain of humanity”?? Christianity has been divided and reformed several times and there is no one Christian strain.

      • eljay
        November 20, 2017, 11:12 am

        || Bont Eastlake: Are white Australian not occupying … Are white New Zealanders not occupying … Are whites not occupying … ||

        Are whites and non-whites occupying. Your anti-white bias is showing again.

        || … All the while, their ancestral homelands of the UK, Ireland, Germany or France … ||

        …or any number of countries in Africa or Asia. Your anti-white bias is showing again.

        || … havent been swallowed by the Earth or drowned by the sea. Which means white people still have their homeland they can return to. … ||

        White people and non-white people still have their homelands they can return to. Your anti-white bias is showing again.

        Anyway, my only homeland – the only country I was born in, raised in and have always lived and worked in – is Canada.

      • Kaisa of Finland
        November 20, 2017, 11:34 am


        It is up to all of us as individuals to choose, if we wish to seek for similarities and for love or to seek for differences and for hate. And that is how the world is going to be built in the future.

        Just want to share a song of my favorite Swedish artist (born Iranian) Laleh, I see no differences between us:

      • amigo
        November 20, 2017, 12:30 pm

        “All the while, their ancestral homelands of the UK, Ireland, Germany or France…these are all sovereign nations. These countries havent been swallowed by the Earth or drowned by the sea. Which means white people still have their homeland they can return to. ”

        Trust a zionist to get it wrong or more likely , tell a lie.

        Irish people in the Diaspora can return to their “Homeland”if they can prove that either of their Grandparents is an Irish citizen .Great Grand Parents and beyond are not considered.

        Btw , Black Irish People are also included .

        What,s with this “White ” people tripe.Is this racist mindset in your dna or did you learn it from someone.

      • gamal
        November 20, 2017, 2:28 pm

        ” in that either of their Grandparents is an Irish citizen .Great Grand Parents and beyond are not considered”

        I am that unlucky Irish, unlucky Octoroon, in Irish terms no Quadroon privileges for me, I still get to pay tax though at eyewatering levels, not to go all Catalan on you..so not so bad at least I am inlcuded.

        “What,s with this “White ” people tripe.Is this racist mindset in your dna or did you learn it from someone.”

        Hey you know Amigo when the play The Octoroon by Dion Boucicault toured in 1859/60, in the original a black/white couple are finally united after many misadventures, when it toured Europe in the states in the 1860’s they had to craft an alternate tragic ending everyone dies so as to avoid the obscenity, to American sensibility, of a mixed race coupling, make of that what you will.

      • Kaisa of Finland
        November 20, 2017, 3:32 pm

        Bont, just to give you a small detail of the history: When some hundreds of thousands Finns left to go to work in U.S. around the end of the 19th-beginning of the 20th century (because of the unemployment and the Russification of Finland) , most of them ended up in the Northern Lake areas and some of them mixed with the Native-Americans. So there are still people called “Findians” around Minnesota area: Mixed Finns and Ojibwas. World is not black and white, it is mixed in all of its colours. The link is in Finnish, but you can watch the pictures.


      • RoHa
        November 20, 2017, 8:06 pm


        So a bunch of Minnesotans are going to claim Finland as their ancestral homeland, and drive you all into Russia and Sweden?

      • RoHa
        November 20, 2017, 8:34 pm

        “Are white …”

        I didn’t deny any of that. Nor am I trying to offer any excuse or justification for “white culture”

        I denied that it is only the “white culture” that does that sort of thing. As I said, study history. Start with the history of the Chinese Empire. It wasn’t called the “Chinese Empire” for nothing. You will find that other, non-white, cultures/nations have also sinned and come short of the glory of God. Use them after their desert, and few should ‘scape whipping.

        As I said, “Could do better if tried harder” is on all our report cards.

      • Kaisa of Finland
        November 21, 2017, 2:49 am


        “So a bunch of Minnesotans are going to claim Finland as their ancestral homeland, and drive you all into Russia and Sweden..”

        How naive am I.. Such thought did not even cross my mind..

        Allthough, there is a whole book written about them and they did not seem to be very violent or “greedy for power”. But isn’t world interesting and surprising when you start to dig deeper into the details??

  5. JosephA
    November 16, 2017, 7:51 pm

    Absolutely wonderful, thank you for this excellent piece.

  6. gamal
    November 17, 2017, 7:35 am

    “Put more plainly, Trump is the result of colonization, not of democracy-gone-awry.”

    the same process is under way in Ladbroke Grove, here is “failed by the state”, North Kensington real estate needs some social cleansing, “warfare against those with low incomes”, “when we hear regeneration we know it means degeneration”


  7. Annie Robbins
    November 20, 2017, 3:21 pm

    magnificent Prof. Salaita, what an incredible read! thank you.

  8. amigo
    November 20, 2017, 3:24 pm

    “I still get to pay tax though at eye watering levels, ” gamal.

    Excuse me but we are an equal opportunity tax collection society.

    Look on the bright side , keep paying those taxes for 5 years and you will have bought yourself citizenship and you wont even have to mess with conversion –from any religion , unlike some self declared democratic nations.

    • gamal
      November 20, 2017, 5:20 pm

      “you will have bought yourself citizenship”

      and even so as a ragged outsider, I am treated often with ceremonious courtesy and kind consideration of my numerous peculiarities,

      ” Black Irish People are also included”

      there is amazingly a refugee dispersal centre near Glandore and one in Clon and a few dotted around, following the direct provision regimen, many of the men move on to work in fish processing, the women have it a bit tougher, and there are many Egyptian men here with out papers they come by sea, they fish no one bothers them, there are very many Eastern Europeans mainly working in services or technical trades, when i lived here decades ago it was almost only Irish I was exotic, not so any more

      everyone here is under severe financial strain, things are expensive sales tax is high, earning a living in these low population areas is tough,

      I am not active in the Irish economy I only spend money here, and because I adamantly refuse to use structures or any bullshit weaselling, i pay 60%, more than happy to do so and retain a modicum of self respect, but I have to say the Irish people are exemplary, in the Cork profond anyway, the legendary generosity of the Gael is no myth, life isn’t easy anywhere anyway, but if I were to fall upon hard times I would rather be here than anywhere else on earth.

      • amigo
        November 20, 2017, 8:47 pm

        gamal, what a very generous appraisal of the Irish treatment of those who come among us seeking a better life.They enhance and strengthen our society and culture.

        I live in a rural area and find that folks are far more tolerant of “outsiders” than those in urban areas.I like to think that we give people the benefit of the doubt before making assumptions about them.Unfortunately , it is not always the case and some level of racism and discrimination does exist , mostly among those who have never lived in other societies.

        Our direct provision regimen is not the most welcoming or generous in that it is far too lengthy and creates resentment.However , it is far better than might be found in many nations.

        Good night from South Leinster.

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