(آ brief travel blog) By Yasir Qazi
“Mary had a little lamb… Its fleece was white as snow… Merry had a little lamb…” I was singing as a 2-year child in front of my house along the shores of the Pacific, on a cold Sunday morning of December 7, 1941… Suddenly the stratosphere became full of terrible clamours of war-aircrafts, which not only came flying but also detonated over Arizona… The peaceful shores of Arizona become a battlefield… people started crying… the explosions destroyed houses, ships and individuals. In a wink of an eye, a smiling settlement became a dell of death.
This all is shared with me by Jimmy Lee (the eye-witness of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941) at the USS Arizona Memorial, Honolulu, Hawaii in the United States. Lee was 76 years old in 2014 when I met him. Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii, marks the resting place of 1,102 of the 1,177 sailors and marines thrashed on the USS Arizona (BB-39) during the outbreak on Pearl Harbor by Japanese imperial forces and observes the events of that day. The attack on Pearl Harbor and the island of Oʻahu was the action that led to the United States’ direct involvement in World War II.
Lee’s story not only reveals the miseries of modern-day war and its undesirable impact on the region but beyond the streams of the pacific, I can even peep deep into the far-past of Honolulu, Hawaii and the purlieu… The exquisiteness of the beaches around Honolulu, including Waikiki and the Kailua. Kailua Beach is positioned in the East of Honolulu.
Kailua Beach Park has been termed one of the best beaches in America. The park has it all, offering visitors parking, showers, picnic areas and abundant shade. The fine white sand beach extends for over 2.5 kilometres, where there are always alert lifeguards on call. The seaboard break is generally calm and offers safe swimming conditions year-round. In case of any peril, an emblem is posted at the harbour. Jellyfish can be blown in when trade winds are strong so always ask a lifeguard if there are any warnings that day.
Waikiki is one of six beaches of the district, along with Queen’s Beach, Kuhio Beach, Gray’s Beach, Fort DeRussy Beach and Kahanamoku Beach. Waikiki Beach is said to be human-made entirely. Not only these beaches, but the calm waters of the Pacific and the rocks and sand depleted throughout the island and around the shores tell the untold and unwritten stories of ages… even of much before the humans took over this earth… even before the water revolution on earth… even since when the earth was a globe of fire.
Even, when some other curious creatures would have ruled over the globe… even before the five major devastations on our home – Earth. Has any of the story-explorers among us tried to ask these stories from these rocks and water-coasts? Has any of the travellers among us attempted to interview these nature-driven presences? and tried to understand, what they retort as a response to our strange interrogations.
When the near-past tales about the constituency amaze us, like numerous parts of the world, how can we be bold enough to ask these rocks and cliffs regarding the activities of ages ago? When moving a few kilometres forward through the Pacific, I find the amazing Pali cliff, which is said to be the site of the Nuʻuanu War, one of the bloodiest battles in the history of Hawaii, in which Kamehameha-1 invaded the Oʻahu Island, conveying it under his rule. In 1795 Kamehameha-One sailed from his native island of (Hawaii) with an army of 10,000 combatants, including a lot of non-Hawaiian immigrants. After conquering the islands of Maui and Molokaʻi, he moved on to Oʻahu.
The pivotal battle for the island occurred in the valley of Nuʻuanu, where they were trapped above this Pali cliff. Kamehameha’s warriors forced Maui Chief Kalanikupule’s men to their deaths off of the cliff. Approximately 400 people died in this battle. After this battle, this cliff is marked as a Hawaiian chant and memorial of respect to the martyrs of this battle. This cliff still speaks of those brave men.