Feb 1, 2022
In this episode we interview two organizers with O'ahu Water Protectors.
O‘ahu Water Protectors is an organization that formed out of a coalition of Kanaka Maoli organizers, Sierra Club members and supporters, Hawai‘i Peace and Justice, and other groups working toward sovereignty, decolonization, and demilitarization.
Mikey Inouye is an independent filmmaker born and raised in Hawai‘i, community organizer and member of O‘ahu Water Protectors.
Shelley Muneoka is a Kanaka Maoli woman and water drinker from He‘eia Uli on the island of O‘ahu. Her work focuses on the care of past, present and future elders of all kinds -- human, more than human and elements like water.
In this conversation Mikey and Shelley discuss the crisis posed by the decrepit fuel tanks at the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility, above the Pearl Harbor Naval Base. They sit just 100 feet above the aquifer which provides the water supply for the island of O’ahu, the most populous island in Hawaii. Just a few months ago, the drinking water of 93,000 residents was contaminated by fuel from these tanks, closing down two wells. Organizers and residents have fought to shut down Red Hill, the Navy currently has until February 2nd to submit its plan to defuel the tanks at the base.
Mikey and Shelley discuss the crisis and the multi-pronged organizing they’ve been a part of around this issue. They also spend significant time discussing the history of colonialism, US imperialism, and the US military in Hawaii. This includes conversations on environmental degradation, water contamination, as fundamental byproducts of US militarism. They also discuss the unique history of the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor as a site of militourism, and its ideological role as a site of alleged US victimhood and the need for defense of the US against amorphous and alleged “asian threats.” This in contrast with the reality that Hawai‘i was not even a US state at the time of the attacks, but was itself a colonized territory the US used as an occupied military outpost and that the preservation of these tourist attractions continues to contaminate the natural beauty and resources on the Island of O’ahu.
We encourage folks to follow O’ahu Water Protectors on Twitter and Instagram and support their campaign to defend their water. More updates are sure to come soon as this story develops.
We’ll include their social media accounts and some additional links in the show notes.
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