Op-Ed from Williamson Chang, Professor of Law at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s Richardson School of Law.
What we are now seeing is the empathy of the entire world, many who do not even know Mauna Kea. Why? Because they empathize with what they see as the most basic human instinct, the world knows what it means to sacrifice, even life, even imprisonment, even a violation of the law to protect that which is sacred. People everywhere gravitate to sincerity and the universal power of that human emotion. Sacred is not a place. It is a relationship, a deep visceral relationship: beyond reason, beyond law, beyond rationality. We love and defend Mauna Kea because it reminds us what makes us human.
They see the future as uncertain, if not hopeless. They see that they cannot raise a family in Hawaii. They have no safety net. Social Security will run out of money. They must provide for their own retirement. There are no places to rent. They will be underemployed and working three jobs. The promises of the past—of doing well in school and entering a profession such as law or medicine do not even guarantee entry into the middle class, which only means the right to buy and own a home in Hawaii. This is their Hawaii. The TMT is the last straw. It is their battle for their future.
What is the educational value of a Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea for Hawaiian students? Will young Hawaiian eyes view the distant universe? How many Hawaiians are being selected and cultivated as astronomers? We are creating an instrument on sacred grounds for other peoples and countries? Where is the billion dollar educational commitment to Hawaiians?
Source: Williamson Chang for The Hawaii Independent