Richard Ha writes:
Tuesday morning was the groundbreaking ceremony for the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT). The blessing took place - Kahu Kaniela Akaka blessed the four corners of the site - but the speeches, the cutting of the maile lei and the ‘o‘o symbolically breaking the ground had to be cancelled due to protestors.
I understand and am okay with folks expressing their passionate opinions. But I am very embarrassed that they attacked the foreign dignitaries at the ceremony, our guests, yelling at them close up and calling them thieves and snakes. That was truly bad manners.
It is not Hawaiian style. That made us all shame and reflected very, very poorly on all Hawaiians.
Kaliko Kanaele of the Royal Order of Kamehameha was present at the protest. The Royal Order’s mission statement says this:
The purpose of the Royal Order of Kamehameha I as it is known today is to unite in fraternal and benevolent work, men of Hawaiian descent, of good moral character, of sound bodily health; to cultivate the cardinal principles of friendship, charity and benevolence; to aid widows and orphans; to improve the social and moral conditions of its members; to provide scholarship assistance; to preserve and perpetuate the ancient culture, customs, and traditions of Hawai’i, uplift the Hawaiian people; infuse the spirit of patriotism, loyalty, helpfulness and kindness among its members; advance the interest of its members in every rightful cause, and to encourage and develop leadership.
I don’t see how protesting the TMT uplifts the Hawaiian people. The leadership of the Royal Order needs to do some soul searching, or else they should change the organization’s mission statement.
The TMT is one way of taking care of our people and our future. It provides jobs, money for the economy, money for our keiki’s education, furthers our scientific knowledge, and moves us and our families and our island forward.
There is more than one way to respect and honor our ‘aina and our ancestors and our mauna. Our people have always been brilliant and managed to honor the past at the same time they move forward and take advantage of the best of the present. I don’t know why people now are so hell bent on fighting to stay in the past.
Mayor Billy Kenoi was there; he spoke with the protestors and handled it well, trying to find common ground. He gave the police explicit instructors that no one got hurt and there would be no arrests. He handled it very well and I was proud of him. No one felt any danger. It was the manners part that was a big problem.