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ImageJEAN TOYAMA'S BLOG

“Martial Law”

Posted by JEAN TOYAMA
Thursday, March 15, 2012 3:12 AM


I want to get back to the impact the Massie Affair had on Hawaii’s future. As I said, I couldn’t figure out why there was so much resistance to statehood for Hawaii in the 60’s. I think a lot of people remembered all the headlines during the Massie affair in the 30’s. It was worldwide news, only obscured later by the Lindberg kidnapping. People on the mainland believed there were race riots happening in the streets of Honolulu and that white women were being raped by the dozens. 40 assaults of all kinds reported in the police records were described as 40 rapes in the newspapers. There was only one reported rape in 1931, the object of this renshi.

These are the kinds of headlines that were actually printed:

“Honor Killing in Honolulu Threatens Race War”
“Melting Pot of Peril”
“Hawaii Crater of Racist Hate”
“Many White Women Attacked”
“Bayonets Rule Honolulu as Races Boil in Killing”

Senators called on President Hoover to declare martial law in Hawaii because of this purported unrest and lawlessness. That he didn’t attests to his getting the facts and not the fictions. But much had to be done to stem the tide of apparent hysteria here. All this before the trial against the murderers had even begun!

As for the poem . . . I wanted to pivot with irony from Tommie’s words to Thalia in Juliet’s link to some reader of a newspaper somewhere on the mainland.

Here is an alternative poem I chose not to post.

I Can See It in Your Eyes

That glint of gold and power
gleaming from the corner of your eyes
as you saunter into the court house
bestowing a slight bow to your fans
who crane their necks to catch a glimpse,
to kiss your hem, Queen Mother Fortescue.

You do not smile but your eyes
beam with the confidence of those
who own the world
who can do what they want
who can execute
without fear
because you are to be feared.

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