Women from Hawaii have been participating in the International Women's Network Against Militarism (IWNAM) meetings for 9 years now. This network has existed since 1997, or for 16 years.
This past November 2013,Terri Kekoʻolani, Kim Kuʻulei Birnie and Ellen-Rae Cachola, attended the internal meeting of the International Women's Network Against Militarism in Baguio, Philippines. Women from Puerto Rico, U.S., Hawaiʻi, Guahan, Philippines, Okinawa, and South Korea were in attendance. We clarified our vision, mission, goals, developed our leadership structure and activated working group committees.
Some of the issues we discussed were the use of the Pagan Island for live-fire training by the U.S. Department of Defense, and the return of the U.S. Navy to Subic Bay Naval Base, as well as the projected development of a new naval base in Oyster Bay, Palawan, Philippines.
Women from Hawaii reported on the presence of the military in Hawaii as a continuation of colonization. The expansion of the Pohakuloa Army training base, Ospreys in Mokapu, and Aegis Missile System in Kauai are just some of the facilities that contextualize why there is increasing Hawaiian houselessness, military housing subsidies, military vehicle accidents, violence against women/LGBT and military recruitment in the schools.
We also talked about how our resistance is based on values of decolonization, or empowering communities to reclaim their culture and their relationship to the land to protect one another from perpetual militarism and violence. We have done this through participation in the AHA Wahine conference, delegation report backs after the 2012 network meeting, submission of a letter of appeal to Hawaiian representatives attending the UNESCO World Conservation in Jeju, production of a Passionista Fashion Show, support for legal and cultural work to reclaim Makua and Kahoolawe, development of the Peace and Justice Crew at Farrington High School, and presentation of our film.
Often, it is easier to talk about security issues happening "over there," but our goal is to continue to talk about security here at home. On October 26, 2013 and December 29, 2013 we screened the film, Living Along the Fenceline, on two occasions. First, to educate people on the relationship of militarism to domestic violence. Second, to talk about militarism and colonization.
This year, we have created ways people can practically participate in the movement for genuine security, through supporting and participating in our international research, education, campaigns, finance and communication committees. But more than just busy work, we use this film as an organizing tool to raise community discussion on how people see militarism pervade their lives, and what they are willing to do to make a change.
Let us know if you’d like to have the film screened in your community, or to collaborate in other ways, by commenting here or on our Facebook page.
We are embarking on a journey to make the topic of ending militarism relevant to the various communities that we come from, so that we can come to meaningful conversation with each another and build relationships; so we can have a stronger reach beyond ourselves. Together we can be that critical mass to let those who govern us know--we are ready for peace and justice. We are not going to wait for someone to give it to us.