Kona councilman tells Obama: Send Guantanamo detainees to us
By Erin Miller
West Hawaii Today
North Kona Councilman Kelly Greenwell recently sent a letter to President Barack Obama, asking the Hawaii-born commander-in-chief to consider sending prisoners to be released from the prison at the naval base at Guantanamo Bay to the Big Island.
The idea isn’t to incarcerate the prisoners here, the councilman said, but to release them and begin a process of healing and forgiveness.
“We have forgiven the people who bombed Pearl Harbor,” Greenwell said, adding that Americans also forgave Germans after World War II. “I think if we want to be known as a place of love and aloha, this is a place to express it.”
In a letter to Mayor Billy Kenoi, explaining his proposal, Greenwell admits that the idea “may sound insane.”
But, the councilman continued, collaboration with the president could reap the mayor big benefits.
“It places you in the position of helping our president out of a critical predicament, and it wouldn't hurt if you were his best friend,” Greenwell wrote.
The councilman described the result as “a new stew,” a place where various cultures can meet and learn to get along.
Further, Greenwell said, the detainees at Guantanamo are “no more than suspects.”
He acknowledged that some Americans might be unhappy with his offer to accept the detainees, but said that he anticipated negative reactions to be only about 10 percent of the total responses.
“We can't continue to live in a culture of fear that has been perpetuated because of political reasons,” he said.