In an article from the Tri-City Herald (Kennewick, Wash.), columnist Karen
Zacharias, who was in Hawai`i at the time of the Sept. 11 terrorist
attacks, rambles about Hawaii's "lack of patriotism" -- "almost as if
they've forgotten about Pearl Harbor."
We didn't have enough flags. We weren't talking about it enough. We have
too much nightlife (!) and not enough heart.
I guess Karen didn't see the stirring, huge memorial at the Capitol, or
the vigil/march at UH that same day. I guess she didn't notice that in
Hawaii, like in many other U.S. cities, blood banks were asking people to
make appointments the next week because they couldn't handle the flood of
donors. Perhaps she missed the news items about the many different relief
efforts, from the state government down to elementary schools. Perhaps
she didn't know we lost several of our own in the attacks. Perhaps she
didn't really visit the Pearl Harbor memorial.
One thing we didn't have in Hawaii, of course, were ignorant, hateful
attacks on Muslim/Arab Americans and their meeting places. Darn Hawaii's
un-American diversity and tolerance...
Oh yeah, hi again.
> In an article from the Tri-City Herald (Kennewick, Wash.), columnist Karen
> Zacharias, who was in Hawai`i at the time of the Sept. 11 terrorist
> attacks, rambles about Hawaii's "lack of patriotism" -- "almost as if
> they've forgotten about Pearl Harbor."
did you let her know? cause I sure did. *L*
If she didn't at the time she does now. I, for one, wrote her. And, I
even received a reply...but it didn't come close to smoothing my
I think Karen needs to be bombarded with comments from unhappy readers.
> Perhaps she
> didn't really visit the Pearl Harbor memorial.
I don't think she did. She mentioned to me that she did, in fact, get
out of Waikiki by spending "several nights at Koko Head and on the
North Shore". And she didn't mention if that was pre or post 9/11.
Other than that her frame of reference is the corner of Kuhio and
Kanekapolei. Oh Lordy...
> One thing we didn't have in Hawaii, of course, were ignorant, hateful
> attacks on Muslim/Arab Americans and their meeting places. Darn Hawaii's
> un-American diversity and tolerance...
It seems Hawaii's only "black mark" was an ignorant journalist.
> Oh yeah, hi again.
America no ka oi...Sue
> If she didn't at the time she does now. I, for one, wrote her. And, I
> even received a reply...but it didn't come close to smoothing my
> ruffled feathers.
> I think Karen needs to be bombarded with comments from unhappy readers.
I'm glad to know that you wrote her. I wasn't so nice in my e-mail to her. But
oh well. I am just sick and tired of all this display of negativity. It's so
Your site looks good.
The dailies caught wind of the column too ...
Here's my contribution to the fray -- I sent it as a letter to the editor.
I've included the contact information at the end if anyone else (less
longwinded than I!) wants to share their thoughts.
Karen Zacharias' recent piece on the "lack of patriotism" in Waikiki -
contrasted with that of her small hometown in Stanfield, Oregon - was at
best misguided, but at its core ill-informed and disappointing coming from
a fellow journalist.
Zacharias has heard from Hawaii residents in droves, now expressing
surprise that "so few of them were polite." That saddens, but doesn't
surprise me. I - along with the thousands of others who've read Zacharias'
words - am upset. More accurately, we're hurt. We do take it personally.
Hawaii lost people, both on the hijacked airliners and in the World Trade
Center towers. And in a close-knit community like ours, everyone was
touched in some way by that loss.
Criticizing a fellow citizen's national loyalty is, to me, a truer example
of "anti-American" sentiments - no different than the harassment of loyal
Arab Americans (something else, I hasten to add, "lacking" in ethnically
diverse and tolerant Hawaii). Engaging in "my flag is bigger than yours"
backbiting has no place when the entire country remains in mourning for
the 7,000 people - most of them innocent civilians - lost on Sept. 11.
Zacharias (who was vacationing in the islands with her daughters)
disclaims that she was only talking about life in the "downtown" tourist
Mecca of Waikiki. Of course, Waikiki and downtown Honolulu are not the
same thing (and are several miles apart). I would similarly hope one
would know the costumed antics seen on Main Street at Disneyland don't
represent the mood of central Los Angeles. I don't think Mickey Mouse was
singing funeral dirges when his theme parks reopened last week, either.
We try not to burden our guests with our sorrows, instead trying to help
provide - yes - some escape. But we care. And we mourn. Don't doubt us.
Don't deny our pain.
>From where I sit in a tenth-floor office of the true heart of Hawaii
commerce, I count no fewer than nineteen American flags on buildings, and
dozens more on the lapels and desks of everyone on this floor. More
important than counting flags, however, is what's in the hearts of our
people. Like everywhere else, our blood banks had an unprecedented
turnout, and our residents gathered by the hundreds for prayer, vigils,
and memorials. Everyone from our governor to small business owners
(already struggling with a weak, soon-to-be paralyzed economy) to
elementary school kids are donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to
relief efforts. And countless families in Hawaii - home to dozens of
major military facilities - are preparing for the separations and
inevitable losses the coming weeks will bring.
We may be 4,000 miles away from "Ground Zero." But we are united.
And don't ever say we've forgotten Pearl Harbor. American military
targets were destroyed and soldiers were killed, but it was in our home.
Thousands of Japanese Americans citizens were herded into concentration
camps (my father was born in one), but that didn't stop Japanese Americans
from fighting on the front lines in World War II to preserve the freedom
of the people who put them there.
December 7 and September 11 were days of incredible loss and national
tragedy. But both were also wake up calls. We know freedom comes at a
price. But this time I hope we've also learned that turning on each other
is the wrong reaction - in fact, it hands another victory to our
In the face of all this, and in hearing the response of islanders to her
words, Zacharias responds: "the Hawaiians want to take away my grass skirt
Please, grow up. The rest of us have.
Ryan Kawailani Ozawa
> It seems Hawaii's only "black mark" was an ignorant journalist.
She's just about used up her 15 minutes of fame.
Someone just forwarded me the article in the Honolulu Advertiser:
I was the one who forwarded her columb column to everyone and posted
it to various people. I am not surprised by the response, especially
from everybody back home. I don't know what she was thinking when she
wrote it. There is a small but growing Hawaiian community in Eastern
Washington, and throughout the Pacific Northwest. When I read it, I
knew I had to forward this to as many people as possible.
> Here's my contribution to the fray -- I sent it as a letter to the editor.
[... thoughtful, tasteful, wonderful letter deleted ...]
Thank you, Ryan! That was perfect.
> As a Seattlelite with relatives on the east side of the state let me
> tell you all to not get too worked up over the article. Jeepers,
> Kennewick? I mean, its not Yakima, but still....
Kennewick *is* downwind from Hanford. Makes you wonder...
From: Susan Jaworowski on Sun, Sep 23, 2001 8:32 PM Subject: "Perch on the
Porch" a pathetic smear To: krobe...@tri-cityherald.com;
lwil...@tri-cityherald.com; let...@tri-cityherald.com Cc: Karen
I just received by email a column allegedly written by columnist
Karen Zacharias and allegedly published in your paper this Sunday
concerning Zacharias' stay in Hawaii during the recent terrorist
tragedy. I say "allegedly" because I cannot find this article on
line, and because it is such a rotten, misleading, and inaccurate
piece of journalism that I am hoping the person who passed this on
was mistaken and that this column has never seen the light of day. I
have attached a copy of this alleged column to the bottom of this
letter so you will know what I am talking about.
If this column unfortunately has been published, I would like to
express my disappointment and contempt for the utter lack of research
that went into this column. I realize that columns are personal
opinion and not necessarily held to the same standard of accuracy
that true news is. Nevertheless, I would have expected some degree
of accuracy would be required.
Ms. Zacharias whines about the lack of flags shown in Waikiki. Does
she, a journalist, not read the papers? The local Honolulu Star
Bulletin reported the fact that the day after the attack, the flags
in the State were sold out. See "Isles Express Patriotism by Buying
American Flags," http://starbulletin.com/2001/09/13/news/story5.html
That meant that there were no more flags for businesses to buy and to
display. She was whining about being stuck in Hawaii because no
planes were able to fly out. It is incredible that she failed to
make the connection that no planes were able to fly in with supplies
- including flags. See "Demand for Flags Outstrips Supplies,"
http://starbulletin.com/2001/09/15/news/story7.html Both the local
papers, the Honolulu Star Bulletin and the Honolulu Advertiser,
resorted to publishing flags in the paper, which many people,
including me, cut out and hung in our doors and our windows.
How did she manage to miss the articles and the news stories that
documented that Hawaii residents donated more blood than they had
ever donated in a single day, much of which was slated to be shipped
out to the scenes of the tragedies? See "Hawaii Continues to Donate
Aloha," http://starbulletin.com/2001/09/13/news/story8.html We
residents donated over $120,000 to the Red Cross alone during that
four day period. See: "Isle Residents Flood relief Agencies with
Even though she is not a person of great religious faith, how could
she possibly have missed the many religious and other services that
sprang up almost immediately, attended by thousands across the State?
The candlelight vigil at 'Iolani Palace, the ceremony at Punchbowl
(and don't you ever, EVER accuse Hawaii residents of forgetting Pearl
Harbor. We remember it far better than you ever will.), and the
multi-denominational service at the State Capitol, among others --
all held within the first four days after the tragedy, when Ms.
Zacharias was still here. See: "Shockwaves Cross Isle Shores,"
"Religious Groups Pray for Peaceful Resolution,"
"Prayer, Patriotism at Punchbowl,"
"Hawaii Prays," http://starbulletin.com/2001/09/15/news/story4.html
Out of respect for the victims, we cancelled our Aloha Festivals
parade and downtown and Waikiki ho'olaule'as (parties), scheduled the
weekends after the attack, and instead mounted a benefit concert the
following weekend at the Waikiki Shell, which was a sell-out. See
"Aloha Festivals Parade, Street Parties Cancelled,"
and "Sense of Peace Prevails at Benefit Concert,"
The people of Hawaii are TRUE patriots and expressed their love for
their country every day since the tragedy. It is impossible to
believe that Ms. Zacharias - a newspaper staffer - missed this.
Does she have some sort of secret agenda or grudge against us, that
she so wilfully ignored the abundant evidence of our patriotism?
The few people Ms. Zacharias allegedly spoke with, like her, made two
significant errors. First, she and they ignored the vast outpouring
of sympathy, empathy, support, and patriotism of the people of Hawaii
obvious in our local papers and news stories, as documented above.
Second. she and they must realize, although they doesn't acknowledge,
that the people she found in Waikiki at the "in the Food Pantry or at
the gas station" whose "corner chatter continued to focus on surfing
and snorkeling conditions and tan lines" are TOURISTS like her, and
not residents: residents like me work and don't have time to go into
Waikiki and work on their tans or hang out at Food Pantry. Let me
spell it out for her in simple language that even she can understand:
"tourists-are-not-Hawaii-residents." Do NOT judge the sympathies and
actions of the people of Hawaii by our tourists, and we won't condemn
all the people of your Tri-City area as being as ignorant and
mean-spirited as Karen Zacharias.
I would hope that, if her column has been published, a decent respect
by your editorial staff for the truth would lead to the publication
of an article setting the record straight concerning the actions of
the people of Hawaii, including the links listed above so that your
readership would be able to make an informed decision about Hawaii.
Resident, Honolulu, Hawaii
Not surprisingly, rejected by the Tri-City Herald for length. <g>
Thanks, though. Just felt I had to say _something._
I dare say that with the pieces in the Advertiser and Star-Bulletin, and
on HPR this morning, dear Ms. Zacharias has just seen the biggest audience
she'll ever see for her writing.
> On 25 Sep 2001, Sue Larkin wrote:
> > I think Karen needs to be bombarded with comments from unhappy readers.
> Here's my contribution to the fray -- I sent it as a letter to the editor.
WOW, Ryan!!! I've always admired your writing skills but this letter
is the granddaddy of 'em all. Congratulations...it's a work of art!
Cheering from Kakaako...2-2Sue
"Now," Zacharias said, "I guess the Hawaiians want to take away my
grass skirt and coconuts. Either that or wrap me in a poi leaf and
In case she hasn't noticed, she's already been barbecued!!!
But..."poi leaf"??? And she claims to have lived here? "Poi leaf"???
She just keeps diggin' herself in...deeper and deeper...doesn't she!!!
On 25 Sep 2001 sus...@lava.net wrote:
> This was my response to that column. I also sent it to the senior
Great letter, Susan.
If anyone else sent comments to Karen or to the Tri-City Herald, I'd love
to read 'em. Especially since they probably won't be able to print a
tenth of what they got. Either for length or language!
Hmm. Any locals in alt.culture.oregon? <g>
P.S. Susan, did you get my e-mail on your response?
Hoy, Mr. Shipman! Sounds like you stay peering down your snobby Seattle nose
at me down here in Kennewick, eh? Wat, you like beef or wat? Sheesh, mo
bettah go take care of your own I-5 mess before belittling us
salt-of-the-earth hard-working folks down here. All you guys do up there in
Seattle is cruise around in your Hummers while sipping latte and stroking your
fake bin Laden beards. Wazzap wit dat? Hey, and you even sound a bit
defensive in trying to minimize my location. Why is that? Might one of those
east side relatives of yours be Karen Zacharias? By the way folks, Zacharias
actually lives in Oregon. She only writes -- if one can use that term -- for
the Tri-City Herald in Kennewick.
And, Mr. Fryer. Tsk, tsk. Jahs wat were you inferring by dat remark? Jahs
because da Hanford nuclear site has a huge storage area filled wit leaking
barrels of highly radioactive nuclear waste dat stay leaking chromium plumes
down into our water table doesn't mean dat all us guys down heeyah get bran
PS -- my own emailed contribution to this mess:
Hi Karen, (see how nice I was?)
Are you about ready for some of that humble pie yet? Oh, go ahead. Do it for
yourself and all the other Hawaii-connected people whose feelings and emotions
were hurt through your Tri-City Herald article on Sunday. At this point,
you'd have nothing to lose, and may even gain some respect -- and self-respect
-- by publicly retracting what you've said. You'll be the better for it in
the long run.
It might go something like this:
"Upon reviewing the tremendous negative telephone and email feedback I
received from my article on Sunday about how I had perceived Hawaii in an
unpatriotic light during a brief stopover there, I must now admit that I was
Or something like that.
Karen, you were wrong to send that article to press without doing further
research into how profoundly the people of the state of Hawaii -- and those
like myself living abroad -- were really shaken to the core by the 9/11
tragedy. Are you aware that there are also people from Hawaii -- friends,
relatives and family members -- who are still buried in that pile of rubble?
Can you now see how insensitive, devastating, and enraging your words were to
the people of Hawaii?
As a professional writer, it was irresponsible of you to publish that article.
And as a professional writer, it should also be your responsibility to make
things right by publicly admitting that you made a mistake.
We all make mistakes, Karen. Please try and correct yours as soon as possible
-- for everyone's sake.
with Cc: copies to TCH editors and staff
Andy Warhol just called... her 15 minutes pau already....
> Karen Zacharias' recent piece on the "lack of patriotism" in Waikiki -
> contrasted with that of her small hometown in Stanfield, Oregon - was at
> best misguided, but at its core ill-informed and disappointing coming from
> a fellow journalist.
Aloha e Ryan,
The letter you wrote was wonderful, and it covered the whole list of
charges leveled by Ms. Zacharias. I saw not one single jot or tittle
wrong with it, and I admire you for the care with which you composed it.
Journalism is a demanding business, and one thing you always have to
remember is to cover all the bases and to leave not one chink of error for
naysayers to breach. You did that admirably in your letter. Ms.
Zacharias forgot some of the principles in her article. I wish you a
wonderful future in your career, not that you need my good wishes to
It is easy for visitors to the islands to be lulled into a kind of silly
suspicion that nothing goes on in Hawaii but fun and games and all sorts
of other questionable things, but Hawaii is really pretty serious
business. It's a pity Ms. Zacharias didn't meet anybody who works three
jobs to pay their mortgage or ask the question "Where will those jobs be
in a month?"
I am glad that so many people have objected to Ms. Zacharias' article, but
I don't imagine her words will do much harm to tourism. Getting the act
together in airport security will certainly help, as will the fact that
people are beginning to come out of their shock, but people who had
tickets are still coming to Hawaii. I just got a thank-you note from a
couple who stayed in our little apartment on Maui and returned to the
mainland on Saturday. They loved the whole experience, and they didn't
think people in Hawaii were insensitive at all. I guess such perceptions
are conditioned by the mindset of the observer.
I have a sneaking suspicion about the American media that many journalists
feel they belong to a special club (the "Third Estate") that should not
have much truck with the feelings of ordinary mortals. Sometimes that is
useful, as in the dispassionate coverage of civil rights issues. At other
times, most media people ought to know that they are in the same boat with
all the rest of us. They must maintain objectivity, but they should do no
harm. I'm sure you would agree.
Research...or lack of...is exactly the point I tried to hammer into
Karen's head. It didn't seem to work! Her response to me had to do
with the article being confined to Waikiki...and a specific street
corner, at that! She just doesn't "get it".
Still laughing at "poi leaves" in Kakaako...2-2Sue
> In article <1001452...@mochi.lava.net>,
> ger...@hawaii.edu.cornedbeef (Gerard Fryer) wrote:
> >Kennewick *is* downwind from Hanford. Makes you wonder...
> And, Mr. Fryer. Tsk, tsk. Jahs wat were you inferring by dat remark? Jahs
> because da Hanford nuclear site has a huge storage area filled wit leaking
> barrels of highly radioactive nuclear waste dat stay leaking chromium plumes
> down into our water table doesn't mean dat all us guys down heeyah get bran
I was just being a smart aleck. Since my fingers bang out all sorts of
stuff that my mind doesn't seem to bother to process, maybe I'm the one
with bran damge.
Thanks for doing your bit to making Karen Zacharias squirm.
The original article in question is at:
"Yeah, What He Said."[tm]
> Oh yeah, hi again.
Aloha mai Nai`a!
"Please have your Internet License http://kapu.net/~mjwise/
and Usenet Registration handy..."
"David W. Lumpkins" wrote:
> I have a sneaking suspicion about the American media that many journalists
> feel they belong to a special club (the "Third Estate") that should not
> have much truck with the feelings of ordinary mortals.
The press is known as the FOURTH Estate. Third is the commons.
What the @#*$%! is a "poi leaf"?
> "David W. Lumpkins" wrote:
> > I have a sneaking suspicion about the American media that many journalists
> > feel they belong to a special club (the "Third Estate") that should not
> > have much truck with the feelings of ordinary mortals.
> The press is known as the FOURTH Estate. Third is the commons.
Absolutely. There you go. I didn't think it through well enough before
posting. Fortunately, the error was not such a terrible one in view of
the subject at hand, but you were right to point it out all the same,
Judy. Sorry to readers of SCH for the error.
GOD BLESS AMERICA!
I just saw this on the KITV4 website!
Newspaper Apologizes For Column
'We Wished We Had Been More Sensitive'
Posted: 4:51 p.m. HST September 26, 2001
HONOLULU -- The editor of a newspaper in rural Washington state that
published a column questioning patriotism in Waikiki has apologized to the
people of Hawaii.
The apology was prompted by a column written by reporter Karen Zacharias
in the Tri-City Herald of Kennewick, Wash.
"We wished we had been more sensitive in how we handled this and we're
sorry that we obviously poked people in the eye who were already feeling
like many of us are feeling," Tri-City Herald Executive Editor Ken
Robertson told KITV4 News.
Zacharias became stuck in Hawaii after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and,
when she returned to her home, penned the column (pictured, left) entitled
"Paradise not very patriotic after crisis on mainland."
Since the column ran on Sunday, Zacharias and the newspaper have been
inundated with angry phone calls, letters and e-mails from Hawaii.
Robertson said that Zacharias may decide to write a follow-up column, but
he's not sure whether she will apologize for what she wrote.
Walter T. Kawamoto, Ph.D., C.F.L.E.
To participate in the study, send your full name, address,
age, gender, email, and phone number information
to Walter Kawamoto at the regular mail or email address below
Assistant Professor, Family and Consumer Sciences Dept.
CSU Sacramento 6000 J St. Sacramento, CA 95819-6053