By Jay Fidell
The ink isn’t even dry on the March Supreme Court decision that killed Superferry. They moved Alakai to the mainland to stem the loss, and now they’re selling off the gear at auction. And people are buying.
How about a dog kennel, an item that could let you ship your dog with you, casually and without additional charge, on a trip to the neighbor islands. What a wonderful thing that was and would have been, a huge family benefit not otherwise easily available in our times.
These items, symbolic of better times, now broken up and disbursed to the highest bidder. It's sad to see the memory of this benefit walking away at an auction. We must have been crazy to throw all these sweet opportunities away. We will all live to regret what happened.
I’m not questioning the decision of the management to sell the gear. I’m stunned by the schadenfreude, or whatever it is, that makes people come down in droves to bid at an auction that lets them walk away with trophies of a tragedy. Three hundred people showed up, and that's quite a lot.
I wouldn’t have such a trophy in my house.
It’s something like that awful scene in Zorba the Greek where the women, mourners if you will, pick through the items of the decedent, not giving a rip about the decedent, but only the items. A kind of cruel enormity – but nobody’s there to complain.
And that’s what this auction was, a cruel enormity. The message to most of us was, or should have been, that the ferry is over, really over. It’s not coming back any time soon, perhaps in our lifetimes. These items are going to a million places, far away from where they should have been, for away from their rightful place in a new and open model of inter island transportation in our island state.
I suppose it wasn’t the activists that appeared at the auction – that would have been far too ironic. No, it was probably the ordinary people looking for a bargain, the silent majority. I’m sure they were quite excited to come down and make their bids and smiling as they walked away with their prizes.
Had they only showed that kind of energy in supporting the ferry, in countervailing the activists, they might have saved the ferry. Now these bidders have carved out their place in history – they have danced at the funeral.
The bill to resurrect Superferry died too. The government did nothing to even bid this visionary prospect a fond farewell. Now, instead the vultures come to bid for its bones. The tragedy is complete - the pennies are on the eyes. It’s our tragedy, but when will we understand that.
Sadly, if we had the chance, we’d probably do it the same away again. But the likelihood is that we won’t have the chance. Aloha Nui Loa.