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Pearl Harbor: Everything Old is New Again

The release of the movie Pearl Harbor is stirring things up in a negative way among different ethnic groups.

Native Hawaiians are complaining about the movie being ethnically cleansed of the islands' indigenous inhabitants. What Kanaka Maoli do exist are like museum relics for display at tourist hotels.

Now, the Kanaka have accomplished a lot over the last several years. During the recent controversial Asian Development Bank (ADB) conference in Hawai`i, the largest exhibit on display was that of the Native Hawaiian sovereignty movement. Their multimedia presentation was attended by many dignitaries including the president of the ADB.

Outside, other Kanaka Maoli were among the prominent protesters marching against the ADB's practices of displacing indigenous people.

The concerns of the Native Hawaiians are seemingly not important though for a film like Pearl Harbor. Showing the plight of the Kanaka Maoli -- the large number of homeless, incarcerated and poor among the rightful owners of the land -- might distract attention away from the real 'bad guys' in this movie.

Naturally Japanese Americans have begun protesting against the film. If the Kanaka Maoli did not get a fair shake in the movie, what hope for the 'Japs?'

And other Asian Americans know that they stand to lose as well from this film because, as the saying goes, they all look alike anyway.

Hollywood spent $140 million on this project. That doesn't include the huge amount going into the marketing campaign. A U.S. Navy aircraft carrier was sent to Pearl Harbor for the film's grand opening. Many have complained that this is a waste of taxpayer money.

Why all the hoopla and support for this film now? Is it all about nostalgia for the 'good ole days.'

Pearl Harbor is a squeaky clean film where Hawai`i is white man's land, and extension of California where one can hardly see the nature of the majority of the inhabitants. It hearkens to a time when a black man has to fight with his fists for an ounce of respect. A time when military units were still segregated by race.

A lot of people have a soft spot in their hearts for those days, but if you don't, better stay home. Watch the TV documentaries instead. You'll be better informed and not feel guilty about wasting your hard-earned money.