* DISCLAIMER: The following is a work of fiction. I think. It includes verbal images that some persons may find to be objectionable or disturbing. Any resemblance to living persons or institutions is for satirical purposes, or is coincidental.
A World News evening telecast begins:
“Good evening, Americans. Tonight, Paradise is burning. Honolulu, the capital city of Hawaii, where President Obama was born, and which many Americans associate with tropical rest and relaxation, was taken over by rioters and looters in the early hours of this afternoon, and it is now in flames from Hawaii Kai in the east to Pearl City in the west.
“We go live now to Kimo Meha, on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, for an update. Kimo, what’s the status?”
“Thank you, Charles. The status at this hour is grim.
“Waikiki, the famous beach and resort area in the heart of Honolulu, is a blazing inferno.
“The mansions of Diamond Head have been reduced to ashes, including the former residence of heiress Doris Duke and the homes used in the filming of the classic TV shows Hawaii 5-0 and Magnum, P.I..
“Throughout the southern shore of Oahu, roving bands of men have put luxury businesses, homes, and cars to the torch, and have, so far, successfully resisted all attempts by local police and National Guard units to stop them. No symbol of wealth is safe.
“In the last few minutes, I have received reports that the violence is spreading into the local neighborhoods, where the various communities – Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, Portuguese, Samoan, Tongan, Hawaiian, English – that make up Hawaii’s ‘melting pot’ have begun to square off against each other and settle old scores. Tonight, Charles, the capital of the Aloha State is a capital of arson, murder, and mayhem.”
“A story of shock and sorrow, Kimo. Does anyone know how this got started?”
“Charles, it appears to be a classic case of the straw that broke the camel’s back.
“For years, there has been tension among the island’s residents over what has been perceived as the preferential treatment afforded to visitors, especially the wealthy ones – a preference that is understandable given the critical importance of tourism to Hawaii’s economy.
“Those tensions have greatly increased recently, as the effects of the economic downturn have been felt. Services to residents have been cut, many jobs have been lost from the lower echelons of both the public and private sectors of the economy, and the University of Hawaii may shut down as a result of a battle between the state Governor and the University’s unions over job and pay cuts as well as slashed programs, all in the face of record-high enrollments.
“Early this afternoon, I’m told, a wealthy woman in the eastern Honolulu community called ‘Hawaii Kai’ held up a line of shoppers in a local grocery store because she expected a checkout clerk to wait for her to finish a cell phone call. An astute store manager prevented an altercation within the store, but some young men followed the woman out of the store, seized her cell phone, and smashed it. When the woman resisted, she herself was smashed. The young men then ransacked her purse, found her car keys and, upon discovering that the vehicle was a well-appointed luxury model, shouted ‘How long will we let these people treat us like this? It’s time for them to get theirs!’
“The youths proceeded to torch the woman’s car, and all those in the lot of similar make and model. The violence quickly expanded, no doubt aided by text and Twitter messaging, and within a few hours had become the Honolulu-wide conflagration that you now see, with no end in sight.
“But, believe it or not, Charles, it actually could have been worse. When word of the riot reached the leeward side of Oahu, which contains both the majority of the island’s native Hawaiians and the majority of the island’s poor, residents formed a convoy of vehicles and headed for Honolulu to join in the mayhem. However, a wreck blocked the one narrow road connecting leeward Oahu with the rest of the island, and the convoy was stranded. They are presently holding an impromptu mass demonstration demanding Hawaiian nationhood in the Leeward village of Nanakuli.”
“They may get it, and wish they hadn’t. Kimo Meha, reporting on the burning of Paradise, on the riots that are now wreaking havoc on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, thank you. Stay safe.”
“Thank you, Charles. We’ll try.”
– O Ceallaigh
Copyright © 2009 Felloffatruck Publications. All wrongs deplored.
All opinions are mine as a private citizen.