Monday, October 6, 2014

"Infamy" And Pearl Harbor

By Chris Rossini

In 1887, Hawaiian King Kalakaua granted the U.S. exclusive rights to use Pearl Harbor as a "coaling and repair station".

King Kalakaua happened to have a very observant sister, named Liliuokalani, who wrote in her diary that the granting to the U.S. of these exclusive rights was “a day of infamy in Hawaiian history”.

Four years later, King Kalakaua passed away, and his sister Liliuokalani would rule Hawaii as Queen.

Long story short (and I recommend the long story in Stephen Kinzer's book "Overthrow") Queen Liliuokalani would be deposed just 2 years later, in 1893, by the United States.

Was Liliuokalani right, or what? Her brother let the camel's nose under the tent, and just two years later, the whole camel was inside.

Not only was granting the U.S. exclusive rights to Pearl Harbor “a day of infamy in Hawaiian history,” but it was the same in American history as well. It would lead to the overthrow of the Queen of Hawaii, and the first taste of the poisonous fruit of Empire for the Americans.

That poison would circulate through the veins so strongly, that five years later, the next (and much more powerful dose) would be consumed with the Spanish-American war.

The seeds of the Empire that we see today, were now burrowed in the ground.

Interestingly enough, Pearl Harbor would receive pivotal attention once again in 1941 with the Japanese attack. FDR chose to describe the day in a manner that sounded very similar to Queen Liliuokalani's diary. FDR said that Dec. 7, 1941 would be "a date which will live in infamy".

Was the choice of words a coincidence?

1 comment:

  1. Queen Liliuokalani was a very, very wise woman. And entirely correct.