Ode to Lahaina

9 septembre 2023, 11:47


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You can leave it all behind, sail to Lahaina. Just like the missionaries did, so many years ago.

The Last Resort, Lyrics The Eagles, Glenn Frey & Don Henley, 1976.

Lahaina used to be a remote town located on the Western shores of the remote island of Maui in remote Hawaii, pearl necklace of the United States. Its sunset could rival our own in Mauritius at Tamarin, but I cannot tell, for I have not been.

Over the years, I have fabricated an idyllic picture of Lahaina. I would have liked to meditate on the beach at Lahaina, cross-legged on the naked sand, sipping whatever kind of dilo limon they have over there and watch the sun go down. I would have liked to contemplate the palette of cerulean blue, golden yellow, sunset orange, carmine red, persimmon purple, hazy white and pigeon gray of the dusk sky. But my daydreams of Lahaina are no more.

Lahaina burned down on August 9, overtaken by a climate change-inflamed firestorm that ran amok, a mile a minute, leaving hundreds unaccounted for in a matter of hours, some of them children, incinerated in the blaze that decimated the town.

A devout White Christian friend first introduced me to Lahaina in The Last Resort, and the indictment of humans senselessly wrecking the environment. He was unflinching in his agreement with the song’s harsh point of view of Sunday Christians who rapaciously use religion for profit and power; Jesus would weep. I instantly recognized these poseurs my friend was talking about. We call them pakhandis in my faith, the worst form of insult. Pakhandi does not translate easily; the best maps to “hypocrite” or “pretender”. The Last Resort describes Christian pakhandis.

Why did Lahaina burn down? The answer is simple: climate change. There is no more pretending and debating whether climate change exists, especially after what we have seen of nature gone mad in recent years. Each one of us has contributed and is contributing to climate change. We are all pakhandis, you and I.

And it is my conviction that only by working together across our sub-national, national, cross-border, social, political, and economic divides, can we turn the tide of climate change. We must marshal our collective responsibility to harness the power of science and technology to curb the tide of a main culprit, the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2).

If Lahaina, in the so-called mightiest country on earth, can be burned to the ground, is anyone protected? The signs of the climate apocalypse are already here. We are a planet on the brink, from Iceland to Iceberg Alley, from Vanuatu to Venice. No one is safe from climate change anymore, not even Tamarin. My rambling mind rambles.

Homo sapiens.

1420: 400 million. 2020: 8000 million.

Paragon of animals monster rabbits.

Our breeding success,

Mother Earth’s agony?

Blue dot on the brink

From climate change.

Why OWhy?

White Man’s Burden? White Man’s


Raise yer head from the screen!

Deliberate what I howl.

Renaissance. Enlightenment.



Colonialism, slavery, indenture,

Industrial Revolution downpayment,

For us all, our Katak Charlies and Facebook.

Toxins in the water, silent Spring; canaries in the mine.

Tasteless invisible venom in the air,

Rising, rising, rising.

From us all, our Bollywood dramas and iced Aloudas.

Slithering amorous red-sided garters,

Of the good, the bad and the ugly.

Beautiful and horrid.

Progress is the poison.

Defended by us all, for our getaways to

Mumbai and Dubai.

The ballad is a dirge.

Homo sapiens.

*1420: 400 million. 2020: 8000 million.

Our breeding success,

Mother Earth’s agony?

She’s unwell.

Now arid, now flash floods.

Now cold as hell, now hot as hell.

Why OWhy?

Cities on the plain?

Raise yer head from the screen!

Deliberate what I howl.

The offender: Mounting, the tasteless, invisible carbon dioxide.

Trapped in Mother’s cover.

Spewed by fossil fuel chimney stacks of light and magic.

Nowhere to go, CO2 in the air,

Rabies we released in the name of Providence.

Snares the mighty Shamash.

Wreaks havoc to climate’s age-old flow.

Into the air CO2-confined heat amasses;

Warmest winters, sizzling summers.

Collusion? Your delusion.

Into the oceans CO2-sequestered heat builds up;

Massive water vaporization, deluge;

Noah’s covenant compromised.

McMansion floating away, matchbox mode; no Ark here.

Into soil CO2-imprisoned heat piles up.

Epic water vaporization; drought.

Land of milk and honey, now dry desert death.

The cycle is frazzled.

Us all caused it, in the name of progress.

Us all, belched CO2 into the air

To procreate, indulge and profit,

Not only the wicked and the wise white men of the West,

Not only the “Jesus is coming” neon sign pakhandis.

Eden of my imagining, Lahaina’s no more.

Zephyr Of the West Wind outpaced by inferno.

Children, engulfed in cataclysm of our doing.

The Scream.

Eden of my imagining, Lahaina’s no more.

Can we bring her back?

Has time run out? Will I ever see Lahaina?

Is it the End of Days?

My supplication:

Please raise your head from the screen.

Ponder what I grovel.

Good Samaritan. Science.

Green Revolution.

For Lahaina to rise again,

Like Jerusalem did, forever before the tainting.

That is my retort; this is our karma, my friend:

Datta. Dayadhvam. Damyata.

Shantih shantih shantih


Carbon dioxide in earth’s atmosphere (accessed 15AUG2023).

The ups and down of carbon dioxide (accessed 15AUG2023).

This summer is officially rained out. The Boston Globe, August 16, 2023. – Summer 2023 already the wettest since 1872; Summer 2022 was one of the hottest and driest summers in 138 years.

Our world in data (accessed 20AUG2023). website Cumulative CO2 emissions; the Global Carbon Project (accessed 20AUG2023)

Cumulative world population - The World Bank (accessed 20AUG2023)

Carbon Brief. Which countries are historically responsible for climate change (accessed 20AUG2023)

Partisan identity determines which specific rights people feel are at risk (accessed 20AUG2023)

The Last Resort


She came from Providence

One in Rhode Island

Where the old world shadows hang

Heavy in the air

She packed her hopes and dreams

Like a refugee

Just as her father came across the sea

She heard about a place

People were smilin’

They spoke about the red man’s way

And how they loved the land

And they came from everywhere

To the Great Divide

Seeking a place to stand

Or a place to hide

Down in the crowded bars

Out for a good time

Can’t wait to tell you all

What it’s like up there

And they called it paradise

I don’t know why

Somebody laid the mountains low

While the town got high

Then the chilly winds blew down

Across the desert

Through the canyons of the coast

To the Malibu

Where the pretty people play

Hungry for power

To light their neon way

Give them things to do

Some rich men came and raped the land

Nobody caught ‘em

Put up a bunch of ugly boxes

And Jesus people bought ‘em

And they called it paradise

The place to be

They watched the hazy sun

Sinking in the sea

You can leave it all behind

Sail to Lahaina

Just like the missionaries did

So many years ago

They even brought a neon sign

«Jesus is coming»

Brought the white man’s burden down

Brought the white man’s reign

Who will provide the grand design?

What is yours and what is mine?

‘Cause there is no more new frontier

We have got to make it here

We satisfy our endless needs

And justify our bloody deeds

In the name of destiny

And in the name of God

And you can see them there

On Sunday morning

Stand up and sing about

What it’s like up there

They call it paradise

I don’t know why

You call someplace paradise

Kiss it goodbye

Source: Musixmatch

Songwriters: Glenn Lewis Frey / Donald Hugh Henley

The Last Resort lyrics © Cass County

Music, Red Cloud Music