“aloha,” the meaning

I don’t claim to speak for all Hawaiians, only myself and perhaps a handful of others I know who may share my sentiments. The uproar over a mosque being built near Ground Zero seems to be growing the ever-widening gap among people, in our country and abroad, but particularly here in America. Republicans and Democrats have always been on sparring terms, but added to the mix now are the “Tea-Party” supporters with Sarah Palin seemingly at the helm. An uneasy coexistence among us began when the streamers and champagne glasses were tossed out, after President Obama’s inaugural. Did civility and tolerance get thrown in the trash as well?

Wanting and needing to live a healthy life going forward, for my sake and that of my husband’s and daughter’s, it’s been essential that I adopt a more compassionate, positive outlook toward myself, and others. Diseases, like Alzheimer’s breed on negativity. I’m certain, as survivors of cancer would agree, that dwelling upon the bad aspects of the disease doesn’t help in the fight against and may, in fact, promote its spread. So why would we want to encourage more vitriol amongst ourselves, families, friends, neighbors,co-workers,communities and fellow-worshippers of the same Being whom we all believe as benevolent? Might we not share that same benevolence with our fellow-men and women?

Opponents of both views  in the brouhaha over mosques being built on U.S. soil seem unwilling to share the land, let alone compassion ( “a feeling of sympathy for another’s misfortune” according to Webster) towards one another. Yesterday’s Journal cited several ongoing conflicts around the country. In Temecula, California “Local officials will consider in November plans by the Islamic Center of Temecula Valley for a 25,000-square-foot mosque.” Pastor William Rench of Calvary Baptist Church, potentially neighboring the proposed mosque, is concerned about extremist sentiments expressed by one American Islamic leader.  The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, plans to build a new mosque and school. Darrel Whaley “A local pastor at Kingdom Ministries Worship Center…has spoken at county meetings against plans for the mosque and recreational facilities.” Meanwhile plans have been approved to build a mosque in Sheboygan County, Wisconsin. President of the Islamic Society of Sheboygan, Imam Mohammad Hamad says “The issue here is not the issue of a religious building, it is an issue of the Constitution.” A supporter Reverend Gregory S. Whelton, pastor at St. John’s United Church of Christ in Sheboygan felt President Obama’s controversial remarks “articulated the same issues of religious tolerance that were at stake here.”

Since Lincoln’s stand against racial prejudice, which cost too much in the loss of human lives, our country has struggled to rid itself of the taint of human degradation, slavery. But it seems to be our lot on earth never to achieve equality for we always keep our hearts and minds closed to others, who are unlike ourselves. Perhaps we fear they will take what we have, leaving us nothing. 

I struggle too, I’m not above the fray. But for the sake of our children and their children, it’s my sincerest hope that we continue fighting for equality of ideas, beliefs, cultures. Politics, it seems, carries the day suffocating our values, our humanity.

Tourists and others comment on the “Aloha spirit” among Hawaiians. It is spoken of as a beneficent state of mind. For the most part, it is. Native Hawaiians under the rule of King Kamehameha wanted for nothing. He owned the land, and the people were granted its use for their daily needs. I think because of this, Hawaiians are not hoarders by nature. Unfortunately this inherent openness toward sharing the wealth and beauty of the islands has enabled others to historically take whatever they wanted, leaving the natives very little to share of their inheritance.

Despite their own dilemma most Hawaiians continue to welcome visitors to their Paradise, the thought being we all need one another to survive. So they continue to share the thunderous waterfalls, the white sand beaches, the warm waters of the blue Pacific, the green canopies of local foliage, the migrating humpbacks and other wildlife that still abounds, the hula dancers telling stories with their hands, their eyes, and melodic voices rising on soft breezes evoking reminiscences of Hawaii’s past, wonderment at Hawaii’s present, and promises of Hawaii’s future.

Hawaiians are not exempt from the trials and tribulations of others, they  would just prefer that everyone get along. There’s an old saying my mom use to pass along when some wrong was righted “No mo pilikea.” We knew then there would be “no more trouble,” “no more worries.”

that’s what I wish for us all…hugmamma.

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4 thoughts on ““aloha,” the meaning

  1. Buried deep within you, behind that aging football player exterior lies a “heart of gold,” Ben.

    You’ve always been a supporter of mine, though we weren’t raised as brother and sister. But having been adopted by good people who raised you as their own, did not eliminate our blood ties. So I’ll always be grateful that you acknowledged me as your kid sister that day on the football field, when you were a coach and I was an ardent admirer of an older brother I never knew, until then.

    still a fan…hugmamma.

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  2. I knew I wasn’t speaking for all Hawaiians, including you, Ben. I think we love our culture in different ways, you wanting to protect it from the encroachment of others, me wanting to share its inherent generosity.

    You would have made a stalwart Hawaiian warrior, I think, protecting the islands from those who would wrench from the natives what was rightfully theirs. Me? I would have probably been talking to strangers, inviting them to sit and eat with the family. We would have both served a need, you ever vigilant at our borders, me…just trying to be who I am, an idealist.

    I’m neither against, nor for, the building of a mosque near Ground Zero. Perhaps the feelings of the 9/11 victims’ families should be elicited. My only hope is that someday our children will learn to live without fear and suspicion of one another. But I’m not sure from whom they’ll learn that lesson, for it seems we are ill equipped to teach it.

    We were always on opposite sides of an argument.
    That hasn’t changed…

    nor my admiration and love, for you…hugmamma.

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    • Hee Hee . . . .nah, sis. You would be surprised how much I think like you. However, when you’re as old as I am . . . .can we say cynical? Seriously, it is those like you who give all Hawaiians a good name. . . . .keep on

      Aloha,
      Ben

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  3. I understand and fully appreciate your feelings about the building of the mosque two blocks away from ‘ground zero’ and our (Hawaiians) reverence of the ‘aloha spirit’. And I also praise you for embodying that love that we Hawaiians are known for.
    First, some background to the uproar of the building of the mosque. There are no legal reason to prevent it being built. After all, our Constitution guarantees everyone the right to practice his/her religion without Government interference.
    In the case of lower Manhattan, I understand that there are already more than 30 mosques in the area. Also, there are no Muslims living in the area of ‘ground zero’. Further, Gov. Patterson has offered to trade to provide land farther away from ‘ground zero’ but, the Imam has refused. Imam Rauf insists that the mosque be built at that particular site. A couple of questions: why is the project called ‘The Cordoba Project”? Does it have something to do with the “Cordoba’ Mosque in Spain where the victorious Muslims built a mosque over a destroyed Catholic cathedral? Or, why is there a Muslim temple built right over the remains of a Jewish temple in Jerusalem? Are these memorials to Muslim victories? Maybe not . . . but, can Christians build a church in Mecca? Regarding the 13 story ‘Ground Zero’ mosque . . . will it also honor the Chrisitans, athiests or, even gays who died by the hands of 19 mad, extremist Muslims? Altho there are no legal reasons why the mosque should be prevented from being built on the very spot, I believe that the pain and sensitivities of those who lost loved ones in that Muslim created crime, bears greater weight. Just my two cents . .
    Now, a subject I love. Hawaiians. I love, Honor and respect our ancestors. Because of who they were, we are who we are. Proud Polynesians with ‘aloha’ for all. We also have another saying besides the well known ‘aloha’. It is: E’ maka’ ala ka kou . . .”Be alert”. Beware of those who praise you as ‘noble savages’ for they may make you wear a shirt and tie. Beware of those who praise you for your Hawaiian wisdom for . . they will teach you the value of money and how to earn it on the plantation. Finally, beware of anyone who wants to be your king/queen and take care of you. After you take care of them.
    Sorry for the rant sis, but, you asked for it . . . .LOL! . . .ALOHA!

    Ben

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hugs for sharing some brief thoughts...and keeping them positive

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