UPDATE: August 8, 2019: Protestors are in their fourth week blocking progress on TMT. The saddest part of this controversy is the protestors deny their own history. Their last king and queen, David Laʻamea Kamananakapu Mahinulani Naloiaehuokalani Lumialani Kalākaua, and sometimes called The Merrie Monarch; and Lydia Liliʻu Loloku Walania Kamakaʻeha, loved the stars.
In 1890 King Kalakaua decreed the summit of Mauna Kea be designated for astronomical research. The last king made this decision that was supported by most alive at the time. His sister, Queen Liliʻuokalani, supported his interests.
It was his ambition, as King of Hawai’i, to travel far and wide to learn the ways of the outside world. Even before his voyage, which took place in 1881, Kalakaua had shown an interest in astronomy, and in a letter to Captain R. S. Floyd on November 22, 1880, had expressed a desire to see an observatory established in Hawai’i.
The astronomical use of Mauna Kea was a decision of Hawaii’s sovereign. Who are the usurpers here? Not the current US or state of Hawai’i governments. It is the activists who ignore the wishes of their last royal leaders, create a false argument, and bring much anger and negativity to these islands. [more]
The first scientific astronomical and geophysical studies made on Mauna Kea were those conducted in 1892 by Mr. E. D. Preston, astronomer, of the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey as part of an extensive survey of the island of Hawai’i.
True Kanaka remember their history and respect their king and queen.
UPDATE August 7, 2019: MRG Research, which has conducted surveys for Civil Beat since 2010 as Merriman River Group, found 64% of respondents support TMT; 31% oppose. Support is uniform across political ideologies, party affiliation and islands, as well as income and education level. Majorities of Caucasians, Japanese, Filipinos, Chinese and other/mixed ethnic groups support TMT. [source]
The Civil Beat Poll surveyed 1,367 registered voters statewide Aug. 1-3. Results were weighted to reflect a mix of 60% landlines and 40% cell phones. Overall margin of error is 2.7%.
Interestingly, Hawaiians are nearly equally divided relative to the sampling error, but island Hispanics are the least supportive. I would suspect there is some polling error with Hispanics due to their small population size.
The MOST INTERESTING results are found when looking at respondents based on age. Those over 50, the Kapuna, overwhelmingly support TMT. A majority of those under 50 oppose the project.
This makes sense. Younger voters and residents are highly cynical, turned-off, and distrustful of government. This issue really isn’t about science, astronomy or sacred land. As shown below, the protestors BLAME government — they are upset about economic conditions, they feel government is failing them on the environment, and they don’t believe the Kapuna listen to their cries for assistance. TMT is getting the blame.
Blaming TMT For Failure of Government in Hawai’i
Even national media has picked up on the growing controversy at Pu’uhonua o Pu’uhuluhulu in the Hawaiian islands. The focal point is TMT — the Thirty Meter Telescope. TMT is not the reason for the frustration. Failed government is the cause. TMT simply gets the blame. For native Hawaiians, the fight against TMT is a boiling point in Hawaiian history.
Update 7.24.19: Kaho’okahi Kanuha tells media representatives he met with Governor Ige and Hawai’i island mayor, Harry Kim, who said they are hopeful for a “peaceful solution” and “committed to finding a way forward.” The public leans against the action of the protestors. [source]
Ultimately, Kaho’okahi defiantly states it is “either the TMT goes up or it doesn’t go up. That’s our stance. We’re not willing to compromise on it. We’ve made that very clear.”
“WE’RE NOT WILLING TO COMPROMISE”
This may seem like a simple and interesting story. It is far more than that. It represents a major threat to American democracy. It only took one man in 1989 to stand in front of a tank in China to set off violent protests in Tiananmen Square. The result was some 10,000 humans beings being arrested and an unacceptable number of deaths.
State and local governments here in Hawai’i are disastrous failures. I pointed out earlier this week Hawaiian leaders are quitters. There are protests this weekend in Puerto Rico due the corruption of public officials there. The two island chain political cultures are uncomfortably similar.
In both territories, a minority of landed, wealthy and privileged elites administrate and oversee public resources for their benefit with little concern for the people. They have cozy relationships with multinational corporations and any well-funded private or public entity.
Haves vs Have Nots
Public opinion, as expressed Sunday, July 14, 2019, from readers of Hawaii’s leading online newspaper, StarAdvertiser, supported work on TMT. To vote in the poll, one has to be a paying subscriber.
This means respondents were likely to be wealthier, have higher education, and be haole (foreigner roots) or non-Hawaiian compared to the general population. Overwhelmingly, those participating in the survey supported starting work.
Respondents would be more similar to elected officials than those who protest new development on Mauna Kea. Elected officials clearly have misjudged the determination and anger of the Hawaiian community and ordinary people.
Ordinary people have been pushed further down the economic ladder into despair and hopelessness here in Hawai’i. Those who complain too loudly are encouraged to leave the islands. Bullies and intimidating management dominate. Newcomers, malihini, are instructed to fit in if they want to survive.
This means bow to the Powers That Be. Resentment is intense. Defiance is strong. Anger toward the federal and state government is high. There has been a simmering and smoldering anger for decades.
Sentiment is similar in many mainland U.S. locations. The difference is mainland communities are more spread out, have greater diversity, and there isn’t an organized and sophisticated counter-culture.
The restoration of the Hawaiian Kingdom movement is well-formed and staffed. It is recognized by the United Nations. They have elected representatives, political elites, media representatives, and legions of activists. Tribes of North America were defeated in battle. In general their souls were crushed. Spirit here is high.
There were no battles and no defeat. Queen Lili’uokalani abdicated her thrown in 1893 to avoid violence. The Clinton administration and federal government formally apologized for the theft in 1993. The beloved queen believed righteousness would eventually prevail. Maybe some 126 years later, the Akua will answer her prayers.
The illustration below shows how voter turnout has declined since the first plebiscite in 1959. Residents were excited to vote Hawai’i into the nation. They have consistently lost faith in government and the American democratic process over the years. Current voting levels are similar to those on mainland. Cynicism dominates across both lands.
Less than 60% of residents voted in Election 2016. Barely more than a majority voted in 2018.
Mix of Anger and Hatred
People think of Hawai’i as the land of aloha, beautiful beaches, breath-taking waterfalls and gorgeous sunsets. The islands are all these things. There is also a vicious dark side. There is much anger and hatred toward haoles (foreigners). The U.S. government assisted Republican business owners with the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawai’i in 1893. Every Hawaiian remembers this. The Republican party remain a tarnished brand.
I want to share a real life example. Reason does not drive the Hawaiian argument. It is 100% emotional, which makes it dangerous. One can’t negotiate with emotion. Terrorists in the Middle East are driven by emotion. Their tactics are deadly.
Ku’unani is not advocating a suicide bombing or violence. Hawaiians are generally peaceful people. But they are fierce warriors. One shouldn’t view their pacifist attitude as weakness. These are not weak people. They are highly motivated and committed.
I wrote to Ku’unani hoping to encourage a dialogue:
To Honorable Hawaiian People, remember YOUR history. Your kings wanted technology here. It is pono to demand strong environmental controls. It is unHawaiian to block technology.
There is compromise!
The (many) solutions will come from respecting the Hawaiian past and merging with modern technology.
In November 1886, electric light illuminated ‘Iolani Palace grounds for King Kalakaua’s 50th birthday celebrations — FIRST TIME. By March 1887, the Palace had 325 incandescent lights installed within the 104 rooms.
The king’s actions promoted economic development and accelerated implementation of electric lighting of the town of Honolulu 23 March 1888.
Hawaiian Kings and Queens embraced technology. This technology came with a price — bringing haoles (foreigners) to the land as well as pollution.
We must continue to work together going forward. We cannot stop progress but it is Hawaiian to demand aloha, kuleana and pono action.
Ku’unani was not impressed:
Scott Goold it’s funny how you think just because you can state dates and things about our history that you are knowledgeable about Hawai’i and our past.
Yes electricity was introduced, did we need it? No. We were a strong, self sustaining kingdom before the ILLEGAL OVERTHROW of our queen.
Yes our kings were open to the idea of technology from foreign countries, but I can assure you they wouldn’t not have wanted or even agreed to the desecration of our most sacred mountain.
Technology has become a part of our world and yes now we rely on it, but again, “technology” that is being forced upon us at this costs, where it doesn’t benefit our Hawaiian community or our land is not pono.
It’s a mana thing, something you would never understand because clearly you are Haole through and through, take your negativity else where. Don’t try to sound like you are saying something positive when because you know some dates and some Hawaiian words.
Beat it with your ignorant mentality.
Consider the words of Ku’unani. She claims electricity was not needed. She claims to speak for ancestral kings. She claims “technology” is being forced on her — while she posts on Facebook. The telescopes sit in a small area on a vast and large mountain. There is room to share. Hawaiians spend little time there. Conditions are not hospitable for basic life.
And, as we see in modern politics, since I do not agree or support her agenda, I am a troll, a haole (foreigner) and bringing negativity. You can re-read my post. There is no negativity. Simply an accurate portrayal of the former Hawaiian king’s action.
This is the danger of fundamentalist ideology. There is no logic or reason to her argument. One cannot negotiate or seek common ground.
This is extremism, and extremism is sweeping America and the world at this time. We are polarizing as a society. People listen only to those with similar views; read only stories and media that have supportive articles; follow only leaders who share their narrow points of view. Hitler’s Germany rose like this — emotional hatred and distrust of the Jews and haoles (foreigners).
Now, I predicted what would happen next. If I said anything further except “I’m sorry,” she would unfriend and ban me. Let’s see if that happens. I wrote:
My honorable sister, you wrote, “but I can assure you they wouldn’t not have wanted or even agreed to the desecration of our most sacred mountain.”
Unfortunately, none of us can ask kings or queens who have passed. Neither can we ask the original explorers who landed on Big Island and were believed to have originated in the Marquesas islands.
We can only look to the examples of how they lived. I join with you 100% to ensure there is no desecration of Mauna Kea or any lands here. All of us have failed. No group has protected the ‘aina as deserved.
Your kings invited haoles (foreigners) such as me and my family, as they revered our advanced technology. They traveled to our lands, studied in our schools, and learned our languages.
They considered Captain Cook’s ships to be marvels, as they had iron implements. Ancestral Hawaiians had never seen metal. For this, they considered Cook and his men to be gods.
King Kamehameha I, the Great King, traded (sacred) land to haole for guns. He used these haole weapons in civil war to unify the islands by 1810. Only the people on Kaua’i did not surrender and join by force. Those who refused to submit to the Great King were thrown off cliffs.
The beautiful ‘Iolani palace was build and designed by haole architects. I believe the stones were shipped here from haole locations. It was one of the first buildings in the world to be lighted using electricity. What a marvel Hawaiians and haole accomplished together.
I’m sure King Kalakaua’s 50th birthday was an amazing and joyous occasion for all.
Hawaiian history is a beautiful blend of many haole cultures along with local Polynesian tradition. This makes our island expertise one of the most rich and robust in the world.
I bring no negativity to this discussion. You write to me not using Hawaiian technology but with the advancements of haole culture. Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerburg, legally purchased 700 acres of beautiful ‘aina in my home island of Kaua’i for $100 million.
We both accept this haole electricity, Facebook, ownership of land, which Hawaiian kings started.
We are bound together through history and tradition now. I know we all want to live together harmoniously in peace, aloha, pono behavior and respect for kuleana.
Mahalo nui loa for chatting with me.
As expected. Banned for life!
I tried to leave a more unifying comment. Few have considered Hawai’i in this way:
Let me share a final thought. Consider the history and birth of these islands. They are volcanic eruptions from the bottom of the ocean. We live on tops of mountains.
When the first tip of island emerged from the sea — it was barren rock. Nothing was here except rock. Thus, everything we now see is “haole” or foreign. Each blade of grass came from somewhere else. Each tree. And, each human being did as well — some just sooner than others.
We all have haole roots; each plant has haole roots. We all evolved from haole existence. We are descendants of haole people.
We are thus bound together as leaves on the Tree of Life. Our roots are haole — as the Tree itself is haole.
Isn’t this the MOST BEAUTIFUL place on earth? Aren’t we all BLESSED to live HI?
Let’s not fight with each other. Let’s remember how lucky we are and how much we owe to this ‘aina for allowing us to share time together in these blessed islands.
What is Sacred to You?
Can a mountain be sacred? Would native tribes be just to reclaim all the lands of North America? If Hawaiians win in their goal to retake control over Mauna Kea, would they then want a full restoration of the Kingdom of Hawai’i? Where does this lead?
This movement is organized, sophisticated and energized. It will not die.
This movement is national, as well as international. It is growing.
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Ko’olau of Kaua’i. I am the Defiant One
“I Believe We Can”