By Jay Fidell
Last December I wrote about Lanai and how its future depended on the way people treated its owner and visionary David Murdock, now 88.
A lot of water has gone under the bridge since then, including protest by some people on Lanai against Murdock and his Big Wind project and, more recently, protest by others in favor of Murdock and his Big Wind project.
Murdock’s story was told most recently by an article in the August edition of Lanai Today, written by its publisher Alberta de Jetley. She wrote about an interview she had had with Murdock, and her article is a touching statement of who he is and how most people on Lanai feel about him.
Beyond that, it’s a poignant insight into what Murdock may do in the future. That, of course, affects everyone on the island.
He told de Jetley that he “may be leaving Lanai,” that he had three choices: to stay and “sustain the animosity,” to “sell off parts of the island,” or “close it all down and leave.”
These unhappy prospects don’t bode well for the people of Lanai. And don’t forget that Murdock’s successors are likely to be far less enthusiastic than Murdock about saving Lanai, as I wrote in December.
De Jetley asked him what it would take to get him to stay, “to rejuvenate the passion he once had for Lanai,” “to reassure him that the anti-wind farm faction is a small minority,” and to show him that the people of Lanai appreciate all that he’s done for them.
His answer was only a smile, and with that de Jetley concluded that “the animosity he perceives from our community are like wounds, too deep to heal easily with spoken words.”
Big Wind has a long way to go, and at this rate it’s not likely that Murdock will be able to see it to fruition. However appreciative the people of Lanai may be, at this point they may no longer be able to repay him for the kindness he has shown them over the years.
And for his part he may no longer be able to save them from the economic realities facing Lanai.
Fate will take its course. It’s all very ironic, and in the end probably also tragic. These lessons could be difficult for Lanai, and also the state.