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Albertini: Money Trumps the Sacred!

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Jim Albertini | Special to Hawaii 24/7

Despite Hawai’i Governor, David Ige, speaking on 5/26/15 of the state’s failings to preserve and protect Mauna Kea and the need for change, he has given the green light for further destruction and desecration of Hawai’i’s most sacred temple. The Governor expressed his approval to construct the $1.4 billion Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) atop Mauna Kea, the 14th telescope on the mountain. In short, the Governor has said that money trumps the sacred. In making the announcement, directly behind the Governor was the State Seal with its motto: “Ua mau ke ea oka aina i ka pono – the life/sovereignty of the land is perpetuated in righteousness.” Governor Ige: your actions speak loudly and they are not about perpetuating righteousness.

Kaho’okahi Kanuha, a leader in the Protect Mauna Kea ohana, has said in response that “The dominating thought expressed in David Igeʻs statement today is that the TMT has every right to proceed with the further desecration of Mauna a Wākea and the construction of their telescope. Because the state of Hawaiʻi has shown no ability or desire to protect our sacred lands, natural resources and culture and values of the people, and made clear in today’s conference that they will not cancel the lease that allows further destruction of Mauna Kea but rather, support the construction of the TMT, we will take this responsibility into our own hands…

We are more than willing and more than ready to take on this challenge. Our commitment to our land, country and people is far superior than any amount of money. When the TMT employees attempt to ascend the sacred mountain of Wākea, they will undoubtedly be met by a plethora of aloha ʻāina, the patriots of Hawaiʻi who love their land, standing firm in truth and kapu aloha.”

Over 90% of public testimony on TMT has been in opposition to construction of it on sacred grounds. Citizen testimony has been clear. Protect the sacred mountain of Mauna Kea from further destruction and desecration. Federal and state law protect Hawaiian cultural and traditional practices. Yet the State of Hawai’i and its agencies, including the Governor, DLNR and the University of Hawaii, have failed in their legal responsibilities to protect Mauna Kea and uphold Hawaiian cultural and traditional practices. So what law is Governor Ige really claiming to follow?

In Gov. Ige’s extensive press statement he did not once use the word “Sacred” in referring to Mauna Kea, though press articles routinely refer to Mauna Kea as “Hawaii’s tallest and most sacred mountain.” Has “Sacred” become a dirty word Governor? I wonder what Mr. Ige’s ancestors and others would say if he tried to build TMT on Mt. Fuji in Japan? Or the site of a Buddhist Temple or Christian Cathedral?

Sacred Before Dollars! Aloha ‘Aina! Protect Mauna Kea!

Jim Albertini
Kurtistown, Hawaii

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