Call to Prayer

  • Jamaica Heolimeleikalani Osorio


“Call to Prayer” is a poem that attempts to capture and portray the experience of standing in the malu (shade and protection) of the sacred. Whether that malu is cast by monument, an altar, or a mountain, the poem depicts the kuleana (responsibilities and privileges) of recognizing our pilina (intimacy and relationship) to that which is kapu (sacred). The poem travels through the knowledges of faith, courage, devotion, fear, and aloha via the perspective of a Kanaka Maoli wahine who lives in the malu of our kupuna (ancestors) while continuing to endure the ongoing wake of settler colonialism, displacement, and alienation.

Call to Prayer stands in the malu of the Mihrab, Shangri La’s most sacred stolen artifact. And in her magnificent shadow we come face to face with the violence that resulted in her displacement to Hawai‘i. We cannot look away, not from her outstanding beauty, and certainly not from the generations of brutality that has allowed us to be in her company. The Mihrab powerfully calls us back to our own sacred places, and in that moment we are invited into a mutual recognition, an unexpected intimacy between peoples, ʻāina (lands, or that which feeds), and mo‘olelo (stories and histories).

While this original poem was written in 2021, the most recent genocidal attacks on our Palestinian ‘Ohana in Gaza by the State of Israel have further deepened and expanded its meaning. While our loved ones face genocidal extermination, we stand, around the world, insisting on a critical truth: all life is sacred, all ‘āina are sacred. We condemn any oppressive regimes that would attempt to exterminate our peoples (whether kanaka or Palestinian) and contaminate, bombarded, and settle our lands. Any national project that requires wholesale extermination and displacement of Indigenous peoples is an affront not only to justice, but to life itself. Our commitment to each other will not allow us to be silent. Our duty to our shared histories, will not allow us to stand idly by. May all our akua (gods and elemental forces) and kūpuna (ancestors) gather around us, may they cast their malu of protection upon us, may they strengthen us in this lifelong pursuit of liberation, justice, and freedom for all occupied and oppressed peoples. Amamua noa.


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How to Cite
Osorio, Jamaica Heolimeleikalani. 2024. “Call to Prayer”. Borders in Globalization Review 5 (1). Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, 48-50.