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Editor's Desk // Letters
Don Chapman

Letters to the Editor – 5/21/14

History matters

I noticed that two of the people who answered your question: “What’s the most useless thing you learned in school?” Their answers were social studies and history.

All I can say is they do not get it about what history studies will do for an individual if kept up after finishing school. We learned nothing from 2001-2008 about past history, and we went through the worst recession in history. Some people today think the Nazi era and their treatment of Jewish people never happened. Look at the camps where people were detained here in Hawaii – terrible time in history! We need more history study every day.

Marc Davis
Honolulu

Sovereign justice

I am writing in response to the letter from Wayne Brumaghim about the proper translation of the motto of Hawaii, “Ua Mau ke Ea o ka Aina i Ka Pono.” These are the words used by King Kamehameha III in a speech in which he celebrated the end of the Provisional Cession of the Hawaiian Islands to the representative of Queen Victoria.

In his letter, Mr. Brumaghim offered an alternative translation from the one generally accepted today – and one that probably more accurately reflects the hope that had been awakened in Kamehameha III and all the people – both native and foreigners – as independence was restored earlier that day when Adm. Thomas accepted the agreement to restore sovereignty as the Union Jack was lowered.

Thus ended five months of sorrow and gloom that had settled over Hawaii. These months had begun with the threat that Lord Paulet would attack Honolulu town from the HBM Carysfort unless Hawaii was ceded to him. In his speech, Kamehameha III sadly acknowledged the cession: “… my rule over you, and your privileges, will continue, for I have hope that the life of the land will be restored.”

In the context of this bit of history, “ua mau” should translate to “continues” rather than “is preserved.”

Accordingly, I respectfully submit that the translation that Mr. Brumaghim proposed be revised to: “The sovereignty of the nation continues in justice.”

John Cannell
Waipahu

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