June 24: Mauna Kea protectors vs cops

We’re late in sharing this, but at the end of June the DLNR attempted to escort a TMT construction crew past the peaceful protesters blockading access to Mauna Kea’s summit. The crew and their armed security were turned back by the bravery and ingenuity of the defenders as they creatively used rocks to slow and ultimately halt the progress of the assaulting forces.

Will Falk, who has been reporting regularly on the fight to protect Mauna Kea, wrote a gripping eyewitness account of how events unfolded that day. He shares his personal experience, describes people involved in the struggle, and shows the importance of their relationships to each other and to the sacred mountain, driving home the personal connections making this resistance possible. Just as importantly, he recounts how personal connection and integrity do not stop those in power and their hired guns from harassing and roughing up nonviolent resisters. It may be important for us on the side of life to maintain moral superiority over those furthering business as usual, but it’s not enough. As militaries know around the world, only application or the credible threat of force will stop those in power.

On June 24th, that force took the form of piles of rocks slowing the ascent of the construction crew. The crew was on tight enough a schedule that this delay made it impossible for them to reach their goal. This application of force is a beautiful example of using our strength in numbers to work with the aina (which also wants to protect itself) strategically against agents of destruction. (And unsurprisingly, those agents and their media mouthpieces immediately tried to spin the piles of rocks as a “public safety concern” ― a laughable example of why you can never believe their rhetoric!)

As the fight on Mauna Kea continues, and resisters to another telescope on Maui’s Haleakala prepare for their own showdown this week, the lessons of June 24th are important to ponder.

Read Falk’s report-back: Protecting Mauna Kea: “We Are Satisfied With The Stones”

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