Yahapalana is going to turn Sri Lankans to landless citizens like Hawaii
Posted on November 12th, 2017

Shenali D Waduge

When Ranil Wickremasinghe Government took power in 2001 they allowed foreigners to purchase land and even coastal graveyards were bought. Returning to power again the Wickremasinghe Government has decided to continue to again facilitate sale of land to foreigners. What are the repercussions and consequences that the citizens will have to face in the future by governments with shortsighted gains? Greedy businessmen took Hawaii from Hawaiians – it can happen to Sri Lanka too.

Hawaii is made of 132 islands of which only 8 islands are livable. The eight major islands are Niihau, Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Maui, Kahoolawe, Lanai, and Hawaii. Honolulu, the capital, is located on Oahu. Total population is 1.4million with a total 10,931 sq.miles. The state owns only 39% of land. In 1778, English explorer Captain James Cook arrived in Hawaii and its population declined by 80%. In 1794 George Vancouver, a British navigator, drafted an agreement with island chiefs to transfer ownership of the islands to Great Britain.

By 1878, the native population had dropped to an estimated 40,000 to 50,000 people. There are fewer than 8,000 pure Hawaiians living today. Most Native Hawaiians today have less than 50% pure Hawaiian blood. Fewer than 2,500 people speak Hawaiian as their mother tongue.

Japan bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

Hawaii has been invaded thrice – in 1941 by the Japanese, in 1920s by tourists and in 1893 by American businessmen who overthrew Queen Liliuokalani illegally annexing Hawaii to the US. Christian missionaries arrived in 1820. With time tourists didn’t care about Hawaii culture except to enjoy in a luxury hotel.

In 1877, some 400 American businessmen forming the ‘Hawaiian League’ planned to overthrow the monarchy forcing King Kalakaua to sign the revised Hawaiian constitution which meant cutting his powers (Bayonet Constitution) which never went for a vote because people opposed it. No different to the present sentiments by the public against Sri Lanka’s constitution. Queen Liliuokalani, his sister took over in 1891 after the King’s death and planned to rescind the Bayonet Constitution and replace with one restoring power to herself & the natives. What is interesting is that Queen Liliuokalani was a follower of Buddhism & Buddhist philosophy and followed the teachings of Buddha in her rule. She imposed restrictions on foreign immigrants and decreased reliance on imports and foreign trade. She rejected American businessmen’s requests for immigration reform and reestablishment of trade-routes. American missionaries helped plot her overthrow and annexation to US in January 1893 with the help of 163 strategically placed American troops. The Queens ‘non-violence’ attitude proved her downfall. The Queen was arrested in 1895 charged with treason forced to abdicate and give up her throne. The US was quick to change things to their advantage – even Chinese immigrants were denied entry. Act 24 vested power in corporations. Even the Hawaiian language was banned. English replaced Hawaiian as the official language of government, business and education. Children were punished in school for speaking Hawaiian.

We must wonder how many such are already stationed in Sri Lanka and look at the subtle manner Buddhism and the Buddhist ethos of Sri Lanka is currently being targeted to elimination – education, social, cultural, political, religious, constitution etc.

Native Hawaiians launched a massive petition drive to stop the formal annexation of Hawai’i to the U.S. Of the known population of 39,000 Native Hawaiians, 21,269 signed the petition. This was an incredible majority. But, Hawai’i was illegally annexed as a U.S. territory in 1898, along with 1.2 million acres of Hawaiian crown lands that had belonged to the monarchy and to the nation of Hawai’i. No compensation was paid to anyone.

Hawaii was administered as a U.S. territory until 1959, when it became the 50th state in August, 1959, following a referendum in Hawaii in which more than 93% of the voters approved the proposition that the territory should be admitted as a state. What was sold to the people was that America was working in the best interest of the Hawaiians & their economy. No different to the story sold in Sri Lanka. Hawaii’s natural resources became her downfall. Sri Lanka’s geopolitical position must its unknown & unappreciated resources will become Sri Lanka’s downfall too.

In 1983 President Ronald Reagan signed Proclamation 5030 granting US full control over all living and non-living resources within 200miles of US coastlines.

In 1993, Congress (President Clinton) issued an apology to the people of Hawaii for the U.S. government’s role in the overthrow and acknowledged that the native Hawaiian people never directly relinquished to the United States their claims to their inherent sovereignty.”

Apologies however does not return land to its rightful owners.

Hawaiʻi has one of the largest United States military populations in the world – 11 bases. More than 100,000 US service members and dependents live in Hawaii. A 2011 study by the RAND Corporation showed that military spending in Hawaiʻi was linked to 18 percent of the state’s economy, and direct military and civilian jobs made up 16 percent of the state’s workers (about 101,000 jobs).

An interesting article by Nate Gaddis in 2014 titled How much of Hawaii is concrete” a question most of us are now raising in Colombo viewing the massive structures coming up. Before tourism and U.S. military on the islands, agriculture was the biggest industry in Hawaii. Sugar, coconut, and pineapple formed the core of the plantation system. When the large plantations were established in the 1820s and 1830s, native Hawaiian men were employed as farm workers while Hawaiian women worked in the houses of white immigrants as maids and washerwomen. This is going to be the eventual outcome for Sri Lankans too.

With native Hawaiian population decreasing, importing of Chinese, Japanese and Portuguese took place and around 400,000 came between 1850 and 1880. This is no different to the importing of Tamils from South India by the European colonials to Sri Lanka.

Over the past century, 70 % of beaches on the islands of Kaua’i, O’ahu, and Maui have experienced long-term erosion. Everything and anything is now private owned and people are taxed. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/jan/23/mark-zuckerberg-hawaii-land-lawsuits-kauai-estate

By privatizing water and sewer systems, local government officials abdicate control.

Privatizing local water and sewer systems usually does far more harm than good for our communities. In Hawaii, a privately owned water utility service costs 59% more than the public water service. After privatization, water rates increased at about three times the rate of inflation, with an average increase of 18 percent every other year. The situation is no different in other areas where privatization has taken place too.

What can be more humiliating than the thought of indigenous Hawaiians having to take a blood test to prove their land right! Will this not be the future of the Sinhalese too!

Shenali D Waduge

4 Responses to “Yahapalana is going to turn Sri Lankans to landless citizens like Hawaii”

  1. Senerath Says:

    Very good example by Shenali.

    We have two groups trying their best tpo make Sinhalese landless. You have mentioned one group (under USA) and the other business group(similar to Hawaii) coming as politicans but aiming to capture the whole of Sir Lanka under INDIA. Sinhalese will soon be paid SLAVES by voting either gorup to power.

  2. dhane Says:

    Sirisena contested last Presidential Election 2015 from a different political party Ticket against the SLFP nominated candidate MR and became the president. In that case can SLFP central Committee could take a decision to expel any elected PM who had contested last Parliament Election from SLFP ticket but now in JO??. JO is not a political party. Its only a group of PM who are not happy SLFP working under UNP. In my opinion FIRST person to expel from SLFP is Sirisena. Also he had contested in a Political Party registered by a non citizen of SL?? Can any legal personal explain this TWO matters??.

  3. aloy Says:

    From the above analysis I can say that it is not US but India is the biggest threat to our existence as a sovereign state. They have been doing all they can to subdue us from the time we gained independence at various stages and are succeeding in their efforts. It has come to stage that any Sinhala leader or minister immediately after assuming power will run to New Delhi to take instructions as they seem to be dead scared of the big brother. It appears our leaders are caught up in some sort of deadly embrace.
    The west and the US have their own problems and will need us also to help them as our country is placed strategically in the world map especially with regard to the shipping lanes. The softening of the stand on war crimes is an indication. They had all these data about war casualties with them and are putting it out now for a reason. We should take advantage of that.

    It is Sangha that has advised our leaders to be fearless in dealing with the enemy throughout our 2600 year history. They should redouble their efforts to direct our leader on the correct path. If that happens we need not worry too much as long as they manage the economy well.

  4. Fran Diaz Says:

    We thank Shenali for her great articles written to help Lankans save their country.


    Till the various groups within Lanka all become PATRIOTS/NATIONALISTS, it would be very difficult to overcome the divisions brought in through nearly 500 yrs of Colonisation, Cold War type political divisions from abroad, political party divisions, Tamil CASTE based wars/Separatism, Bribery & Corruption, etc.

    The local Leaders of all the groups must ALL be PATRIOTS/NATIONALISTS – then Lanka can be truly a Unitary & United country. Work together to now take the Economy forward – NOT ‘Crash & Sell’ the country as per the RW foreign plan.

    Meantime, CLIMATE CHANGE will take its toll, unless ALL get together and work for the survival of all the citizens of Lanka. Some 15 ft of sea water rise is predicted as the Polar Caps melt.

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