Testimony to the Board of Land & Natural Resources
April 9, 2009
Re: University of Hawaii Mauna Kea Comprehensive management Plan (CMP)
Mahalo for coming to Hilo for this hearing.
My name is Jim Albertini. I'm president of a non-profit peace farm Malu Aina in Kurtistown, that grows food to share with people in need and to support work for justice, peace and preserving the environment.
I'm here today to stand in solidarity with grassroots Kanaka Maoli in opposition to this Comprehensive management Plan which is really a development plan for more observatories in disguise
I want to start with a short story of my first trip to the summit of Mauna Kea many years ago before I became aware of the controversy over development on the mountain.
On my first trip to the summit of Mauna Kea, I took with me three visiting friends. All were Roman Catholic priests. One from Italy, one from the the Philippines , and one from the U.S. We wanted to go to the mountain to pray for justice and peace in the world. Given our shared Judeo/Christian roots, all 4 of us were well aware of the the words of the prophet Isaiah Chapter 2: verse 2-4 which translates. "In the days to come, Ke Akua's hale shall be established on the highest mountain... All nations shall stream toward it; many peoples will say: "Come, let us climb Ke Akua's mountain to the hale of Ke Akua, that Ke Akua may instruct us in his ways, and we may walk in his paths... Ke Akua shall judge between the nations and impose terms on many peoples. They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; One nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again."
That day many years ago, when we got to the mountain top, to the hale of Ke Akua, we found the vista blocked by observatories and what we saw all around was construction debris though no construction was going on. In the distance we could hear the bombing at Pohakuloa. We offered prayers for justice and peace, stood in awe, placed ho'okupu at the Hawaiian ahu and then started our decent. After a time of quiet reflection, ne priest after another shared thoughts of the mountain. How special it was to come there. But there was a shared concern how science had dominated the very mountaintop instead of staying down a few hundred feet from the summit out of respect. The construction debris left also spoke of a disrespect to spiritual values, especially those of the host culture, the Kanaka Maoli. The military's bombing of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa below at Pohakuloa is another example of profound disrespect. Now the military's plan for a Pan Stars telescope on Mauna Kea is a further militarization of the mountain by tracking satellites to be destroyed as part of U.S. first-strike pre-emptive nuclear war plans.
The scripture reading from Isaiah says that Ke Akua's hale should be a place of peace. For peace to be genuine and pono, it must be built on a foundation of justice and respect, especially for the host culture. Where is the justice, when Kanaka Maoli have to file suit to be heard? Where is the justice when science dominates the spiritual? Where is the justice in one dollar a year rent? Where is the justice when the very entity (the Univ. of Hawaii) responsible for the history of disrespect and injustice is now contracting the management plan? It will take a lot more than the Chamber of Commerce people wearing Malama Mauna Kea t- shirts to convince me there are not hidden concerns for dollar signs on the back side of those shirts.
Allow me to make another analogy of the conflict of interest of having the University, rather than Kanaka Maoli practitioners, do a CMP for Mauna Kea.
The University's track record of poor management has created the polarization in our community between astronomy and Kanaka Maoli and environmental concerns. It's been said that the University is like the fox in the chicken coup with feathers in its mouth and broken eggs all around. You don't put the fox in charge of the CMP for the hen house. A modern day analogy is this. To put the University in charge of a CMP for Mauna kea is like putting the Wall St. Bankers in charge of a CMP for the financial crisis. These are the guys that created the crisis.
Obama needs to can his Wall St. cronies and the BLNR needs to pull the plug on the University. If you want a real CMP put Paul Neves, Keala Pischotta, Ku Ching and other Kanaka Maoli practitioners and the Sierra Club in charge.Guaranteed you'll get a genuine CMP.
Arthur Hoke is concerned about some lolo driving a bull dozer up Mauna Kea. Hello Arthur, where have you been for the past 40 years. The University has been driving bull dozers up Mauna Kea, destroying pu'u, burials, cultural and historic sites and endangered species habitat, etc. to build their telescopes. But it's not just you Arthur. We all should have done more to protect Mauna Kea. Every single one of us.
In the final anyalsis, I agree with Kihe Soli Niheu. The desecration of Mauna Kea is part of an illegal occupation. It's a symptom. True peace with justice, the process of becoming pono, demands an end to U.S. occupation and the restoration of independent Kingdom of Hawaii.
Malu ‘Aina Center for Non-violent Education & Action
Kurtistown, Hawai’i 96760
Visit us on the web at: www.malu-aina.org