His two-year-old daughter, Reio, may be part of the reason public school teacher, Pete Doktor has been driven to protest for improvements to education or controls on the practices of GMO companies in Hawaii. But on July 22, 2014, he joined more than 100 people in Honolulu in another demonstration to protest the violence in Gaza for reasons larger than himself and his family.
"It's my kuleana to express solidarity with all oppressed people," he said "What's happening in Gaza is a transnational issue. My family has Ashkenazi ancestry on my father's side, and Okinawan on my mother's. And Reio's mother is Chinese. But this goes beyond ethnicity or religion. This is not anti-military either. I have served in the army--but I oppose the way military force is being used on the people of Gaza. Our own Third Amendment was aimed at protecting civilians from being bullied or burdened by the military. How can we stand by when we see exactly that going on in Gaza?"
Kevin Hill is from Santa Monica, California. His wife Hanna, is Palestinian, with family in the West Bank. "They are suffering," she said, "but at least they are not getting killed." Both are information technology professionals who just arrived in the islands three weeks ago. "But we have always been passionate about standing up for human rights. So I looked up "protests for Gaza" online and found information about this event," said Hanna. "We had to come."
"When a black man protests at the treatment he gets in the American justice system, it very quickly gets characterized as 'playing the race card.' But too many people are cowed by Israel and afraid of being labeled anti-Semitic, so Israel gets away with doing terrible things. We need to call out evil wherever we find it," said Hill.
"Yes," says Danny O`Regan, who works for a Catholic university. "It's time to cut through the b.s. I have friends in England who did a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. I listened to what they saw and heard. We do not get the full story from the media. Too many excuses and justifications. Most people are just pro-peace, pro-humanity. If enough peace-loving people stand up and show solidarity, maybe justice will prevail."
Ephrosine is of Greek ancestry and has seen suffering in far off places. "I was involved in humanitarian aid work in Afghanistan, Macedonia and Tajikistan. What is going on in Gaza is a kind of slow death. People have so little food, their water supply is contaminated, their hospitals are bombed, and there are no shelters. No place to take cover.
What use are warnings if the people have no place to take cover?"