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02 Jan 18

Boris Was Right – Hawaii Should Be Croatian

Borna Sor

What a pity the two countries missed the chance to unite – it would have been like two supermodels marrying each other!

Crown Princess Lili'uokalani. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/PawełMM

Long ago, in 2005, when Croatia was just a young democracy with no sense of responsible politics, one of the candidates for the president was a «successful» American businessman with no political experience, full of big promises, boasting, and populist rhetoric. His name was Boris Mikšić. Unfortunately, as I said, Croatia was inexperienced and we didn't elect him. However, Boris, a homeboy from Cherryville, Croatia, a self-made millionaire, who went to the US, according to him, with only two dollars in his pocket, like a ship mouse in a Disney cartoon, gave us a lot to think about.  Should the government be run like a company? Does electing a political outsider helps fight political corruption? And most importantly, why is Hawaii not part of Croatia?

Those are very important questions and the majority of people would find them universal, but his comment that: «If Croatian foreign policy was better, we would now have Hawaii as a part of Croatian territory» shocked the country. At first, some of us thought he was having a mental meltdown, while the majority of people just ignored it, their brains blocking something that could not be processed. But the conviction in his voice forced me to follow up his historical critique. That, and also my unquenchable need for global domination. What I found out blew me away like a lehua wind.

There is an American-Croatian myth about last days of independent Hawaii. The first Queen and last monarch of the Kingdom was Liliʻuokalani, famous also as the composer of Aloha ʻOe, the most famous song and a cultural symbol for Hawaii. In 1862, Liliʻuokalani married John Owen Dominis, an American-born statesman of Croatian origin who became Prince Consort of the Kingdom of Hawaii on their marriage. Now, Croatian origin is not enough. One has to act in a certain way to be called “Croatian”. According to Liliʻuokalani's memoir, during a court excursion, Dominis escorted her home, despite falling from his horse and breaking his leg. Also, although they never had any children of their own, John had a natural son, John ʻAimoku Dominis, with Lamiki ʻAimoku, a servant of his wife. Queen Liliʻuokalani accepted her husband’s infidelity and adopted her husband's son. Croatian? Checked!

So, we have a Hawaiian-Croatian Prince Consort, and an adopted Hawaiian-Croatian prince. So, how come Hawaii never became part of Croatia – besides the fact that the whole planet separates them? You got it – America. Not the continent, but the United States. In 1893, five American nationals, one British national, and one German national, all of whom were living and doing business in Hawaii, overthrew the Queen, her cabinet, and her marshal, and took over the government of Hawaii, which then became a republic until the United States annexed it in 1898.

 So let’s hear it again from the brain of Boris Mikšić: «If Croatian foreign policy was better, we would now have Hawaii as a part of Croatian territory.»  Damn right! If only news had traveled faster back in the 19th century, Croatia would have stormed Maui, given those Yankees a whopping – just after it took down the Austro-Hungarian monarchy and liberated itself first.  Now, we can only dream. And dream we shall! We never had an empire, and never moved beyond our semi-peninsula, let alone the continent, so this imperialistic daydreaming is something you can let us have.

If Hawaii were part of Croatia, every time we told a foreigner we were from Croatia, they would ask: «What part? The Pacific or the European part?»

All Hawaiians, after they finished high school, would go to study in Croatia, and vice versa.  Our music is incredibly compatible, imagine ukulele tamburica festivals? Or kolo and hula dance fusion? You think that's ridiculous? Liliʻuokalani's Aloha ʻOe, recalled by Charles Wilson, her Marshal, as The Rock Beside the Sea, derives from a Croatian folk song, Sidi Mara Na Kamen Studencu, meaning: Girl on the Rock. Boom! There is even more resemblance, Hawaiians came up with lei, Croats came up with the tie ... flower ties anyone? And wouldn't it be great to have a football derby between FC Hajduk and FC Honolulu? We could call our national football team «The Fiery ones,» train them inside the volcanos, and make that nickname less cringy. And honestly, Hawatia, or Crowaii, would be the most beautiful country in the world; imagine Haleakala and Plitvice together, like two supermodels marrying each other. Can you imagine how our children would look? Like ancient gods!

But, alas, it wasn't so. History was not so kind. On the positive side, Hawaii isn't a victim of Balkan political turmoils, and Croatia finally has intercontinental expansionist goals, something we can look forward to, and so catch up with the rest of «developed» West. Aloha and bok!

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