This weekend will find the Weaver and me jetting to sunny Hawaii. Last year at this time I was headed the other direction, to Iceland. This trip arouses mixed emotions in me. The chance of my catching an Icelandic play next week will be exceedingly remote. On the other hand, I saw no hula dancers last year. Nor did I spy any tropical fruit growing in abundance. (Does a hothouse banana count?) But there will be beaches in both places, and volcanoes. But the one thing that both places will have in common is a long history of two peoples' struggles for independence. Iceland declared its independence in 1944, while still occupied by the British, later replaced by the Americans. The Kingdom of Hawaii was forcibly overthrown by U.S. commercial interests in the 1800's and has been occupied by the US ever since, becoming a State in 1959.
The subjugation of each country has left strong impressions upon their peoples, the Icelanders have a great pride in their independence while the native Hawaiians still suffer from a sense of injustice. Both countries have a great strategic importance, far beyond their limited resources. Both nations' peoples have had to suffer for this outside interference. I am looking forward to comparing the two islands, Hawai'í and its lush gardens, Iceland and its severe landscapes. And perhaps a better understanding of the people, the culture, some sense of living in historical and geographical isolation, and what that can mean in the age of globalization.