Wearing an ‘Occupy with Aloha’ T-shirt, Hawaiian recording artist Makana crooned protest songs for 45 minutes during a top-security Apec dinner for world leaders in Honolulu.
Outside, some 400 protesters and Hawaiian activists marched towards the venue but were thwarted by tight security.
Are we seeing the emergence of a new Bob Dylan? Makana’s latest song, ‘We are the Many’, could very well turn out to be the theme song for the Occupy movement:
After facing large-scale protests in South Korea, Australia, Peru, and Japan, APEC moved this year’s event to Hawaii, the most isolated piece of land on earth. In preparation for the meeting, homeless families were moved out of sight and millions of taxpayer dollars were spent on security—including over $700,000 on non-lethal weapons for crowd control. In a bitter twist, the multi-million dollar security plans backfired when a local Hawaiian man was shot and killed by a 27-year-old DC-based federal agent providing security for dignitaries.
Makana’s action was assisted by the Yes Lab and Occupy the Boardroom. In recent weeks, Occupy protesters have been showing up at corporate events, headquarters and even on the doorsteps of those in power. “Makana really raised the bar by delivering the Occupy message inside what is probably the most secure place on the planet right now,” said Mike Bonanno of the Yes Lab.
Makana writes on Youtube:
Taken on 11.12.11 in Honolulu on the grounds of the Hale Koa
My guitar tech shot this with a camera phone during my performance for the World Leaders Dinner at APEC, which was hosted by the First Family.
He had to be extremely discreet as Secret Service had warned those on site that any phones used to capture photography or video would be confiscated. Since he has a guitar tuner app on the phone we were able to justify having it out, but grabbing video was not easy. We were under constant surveillance. Personally I like to have video of every performance. It’s my art and my right.
About an hour into my set of generally ambient guitar music and Hawaiian tunes, I felt inspired to share some songs that resonated with the significance of the occasion.
I sang a few verses from “Kaulana Na Pua” (a famous Hawaiian protest song in honor of the anniversary of our Queen’s passing), then segued into Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower”, Sting’s “Fragile”, and finally my newest song “We Are The Many”.
My goal was not to disturb the guests in an offensive fashion but rather to subliminally fill their ears and the entire dinner atmosphere with a message that might be more effectively received in a subconscious manner. I sweetly sang lines like “You enforce your monopolies with guns/ While sacrificing our daughters and sons/ But certain things belong to everyone/ Your thievery has left the people none”. The event protocol was such that everyone there kept their expressions quite muffled. Now and then I would get strange, befuddled stares from heads of state. It was a very quiet room with no waiters; only myself, the sound techs, and the leaders of almost half the world’s population.
If I had chosen to disrupt the dinner and force my message I would have been stopped short. I instead chose to deliver an extremely potent message in a polite manner for a prolonged interval.
I dedicate this action to those who would speak truth to power but were not allowed the opportunity.
Me ka ha’aha’a,