Saturday, June 1, 2019

#risewithhenoko: "Our Island's Treasure" tells the story of Henoko, Okinawa's elders' struggle to save their sacred coral reef and dugong ecosystem for future generations

#RiseforHenoko - Kaiya Yonamine of Global Uchinanchu Alliance グローバルうちなんちゅ同盟: May 31, 2019 - asks that supporters of Henoko's coral reef and dugong ecoregion and advocates of planetary survival, please spread, and share the link to her documentary film “Our Island’s Treasure” Documentary ドキュメンタリー映画「私達の島の宝.  Please tag environmental orgs, human rights and indigenous rights groups, media and teacher groups.

“Our Island’s Treasure" tells the story about the indigenous Uchinanchu people's fight to protect their sacred dugong and coral reef ocean in Henoko, Okinawa from Japanese government landfill and construction of an offshore US military training airstrip and port (over an ecoregion covered with quicksand pits which will take years to reinforce, if possible, and an earthquake zone).

Frustrated by the lack of media coverage of the Okinawan 22- year struggle to save Okinawa's last intact, healthiest and most biodiverse coral reef and best dugong ecosystem, mother and daughter team, Moe and Kaiya Yonamine, made and sold thousands of cookies and paper cranes to raise funds to pay for flights and to stay in Okinawa.  They went to Henoko to support their elders

"This is one of the most biodiverse ocean regions on the planet and [Japanese and U.S. governments'] destruction is being done against the democratic will of the Okinawa people who voted vehemently against it," explains Moe Yonamine.

"Nonstop, our island’s people—with their bodies—are blocking construction trucks on land at sit-ins and die-ins, and—with their bodies—on kayaks, are blocking construction ships in the ocean — mostly led by hundreds of now elderly child survivors of the Battle of Okinawa," Yonamine adds.  (The air, sea, and ground fighting between Americans and Japanese in Okinawa was the bloodiest battle in their 4-year war in the Asia-Pacific.)

Kaiya Yonamine, a 17 year-old, 2nd generation Uchinanchu living in Portland, Oregon, released the trailer for her film on Earth Day.

"This documentary aims to show the fight of the elders and youth on the ground fighting to protect our ocean in Henoko and the interviews taken just weeks ago while we were there. Singing along with an old island song that I sang to her as a little girl,  and one that my grandmother sang to me, she shares  it in our indigenous language and with our indigenous instrument," Yonamine describes the beautiful song in the video trailer.

Please watch and share her trailer and HELP DISRUPT THE MEDIA SILENCE on the Sea of Henoko (not just a "less populated area in the north") but, instead, Okinawa's last intact, healthiest, most biodiverse, millennia-old coral reef, and best dugong seagrass habitat. Okinawans and their worldwide environmentalist, peace, and democracy supporters have been working for 23 years to save the Sea of Henoko.

Partial trailer transcript:
"Beautiful Sand. Proud People. Living along sparkling ocean waves. Ancient history of kings and queens. The kingdom overthrown by Japan in 1879. Violence brought upon this peaceful land during WWII.

"After the war, the U.S. put Okinawans in concentration camps while taking land to build bases. On what was left of this tiny paradise (the main island of Okinawa is 70 miles long and 7 miles wide) crammed with 32 bases, burdened with 70% of all U.S. military bases under Japan against the democratic will of the Uchinanchu people.

"Now the construction of a new base has begun. This time, in the ocean...Oura Bay is the name of the ocean that is being destroyed. This is one of the most biodiverse waters in the world bursting with life of over 5,300 species and 262 endangered species that are dependent on the sea. The Jp govt. is actively destroying this ocean. Concrete crushing coral. Using our own red soil to fill the sea. Killing our ocean.

"Kayactivists have been blocking ships. Elders have been staging sit-ins. War survivors have been blocking trucks. Raising fists. Singing island songs. Fighting for our ocean. And the media remains silent. As the destruction continues, our fight continues. We call on you to join us. And protect our ocean. Before we lose it forever."

Kaiya explains the urgency of her mission:
"The concrete began to be crushed in the beautiful ocean of Okinawa back in Dec..there was no media in the U.S. about it...I knew that people are fighting with their lives on the line for the ocean, for us, for all of us. So I decided I needed to take a camera and bridge us across the ocean... listening to the stories of people on the ground, I made this documentary to tell the world their story and show their fight -- our fight. The documentary is the result of interviewing Uchinanchu elders and student activists who are doing everything to protect our sacred ocean, even when the media ignores what's happening."
Okinawan American  Moe Yonamine is a teacher in Portland and a co-founder of Global Uchinanchu Alliance グローバルうちなんちゅ同盟, which seeks to deepen connections between Overseas Okinawans and Okinawans living in their homeland (which includes the sea and all animals and plants living in the sea).

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