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Protecting Mauna Kea: They Hate Hawai’i

Will Falk of Deep Green Resistance recently arrived in Hawai’i, and uses his latest essay to examine the “pornification of Hawai’i” ― the commodification of Hawaiian culture, women and the natural beauty of the aina. He draws on analysis by Haunani-Kay Trask of the effect of settler culture on Hawai’i, and compares that to the effect pornography has had on women in this culture.

In this Protecting Mauna Kea series, I want to encourage tangible support for native Hawaiian sovereignty in settler communities. In order to do that, I think it is necessary to understand the hatred expressed towards Hawai’i by the dominant American culture.

Before arriving in Hawai’i, I read and heard from several native Hawaiian scholars about the pornification of Hawaiian culture. I’ve learned right away how true this is. Just like men are conditioned to overlook hatred of women early in their lives through pornography’s propaganda, settlers are conditioned to hate Hawai’i through the pornification of Hawaiian culture.

I flew Hawaiian Airlines to Hawai’i, for example, and the complimentary in-flight snack included a candy called “Aloha-macs.” This product, by a company called “Hawaiian Host,” is self-labelled as “creamy milk chocolate covered macadamias – the original gift of aloha.” Hawaiian Host and the dominant culture seek to transform an ancient indigenous wisdom – aloha – into a candy, sugary trash, something to consume.

As soon as we boarded the plane, I noticed the video monitors displaying clips of beautiful, dancing Hawaiian women. I thought immediately of Trask’s brilliant essay “‘Lovely Hula Hands’: Corporate Tourism and the Prostitution of Hawaiian Culture” where she explains how tourism converts cultural attributes into pure profit.

In both the tourism industry and in pornography, entitlement is sold and reinforced: haoles have the right to buy bits and pieces of Hawai’i to satisfy their desires for relaxation and pampering or adventure and novel experiences; men have the right to buy bits and pieces of women to satisfy their desires for sexual gratification and control. Both industries create toxic mimics of respectful, mutual relationships, and harm those being objectified and sold off.

Read Falk’s entire essay at Deep Green Resistance News Service – Protecting Mauna Kea: They Hate Hawai’i.

Also read a response by a Filipino-Hawaiian-Portuguese woman reflecting on her own experiences under patriarchy and under occupation. She validates the important connections drawn by Falk of the intersections of male and haole entitlement: My Body, the Island.

See all of Will Falk’s “Protecting Mauna Kea” essays, plus other resources, at our page
Protect Mauna Kea from the Thirty Meter Telescope

Kauai’s ongoing battle against pesticide companies

Deep Green Resistance advocates a return to land-based food systems rather than the fossil-fueled and toxic war against nature that characterizes industrial agriculture. Many homesteaders and organic farmers have proven we don’t need to douse our environment in pesticides, herbicides, and chemical fertilizers; nor deploy genetically modified organisms to force monocrops onto the aina. This biotic cleansing of the earth to steal all its production must stop.

In some good news, residents of Waimea, Kauai have won a multi-year struggle to get justice for DuPont Pioneer poisoning them with pesticide laden dust. A Honolulu jury decided that the corporation must recompense the residents for property damage caused by its reckless behavior. Unfortunately, the health and environmental harms caused by the pesticides were not redressed.

Although this is a victory, it’s just a start. Kauai and most of the other Hawaiian islands are under assault by the agrichemical complex. Read more about this decision and the other threats to the aina and its people at Pulling Back The Curtain: Jury verdict unanimous, DuPont Pioneer guilty of harming Waimea Kauai residents.

Protecting Mauna Kea: Stopping Murder-Suicide

Will Falk’s third installment in his series on protecting Mauna Kea addresses this culture’s conflation of spirituality with superstition. Many proponents of the massive Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) project dismiss out of hand the cultural concerns of Hawaiians who defend the sacredness of Mauna Kea and decry the construction of yet another telescope as desecration.

I often get an explanation like this, “I support indigenous people, of course, but the telescope is for science. Isn’t it a little…superstitious to block an astronomy project for a mountain?” Spirituality, I forgot, is anathema in many leftist circles.

It shouldn’t be.

I understand that many in this culture have been wounded by their experiences with religion. Some religions have, on the whole, been disasters for the living world. But, to write off all spirituality because of the actions of a few religions, is not just intellectually lazy and historically inaccurate, it erases the majority of human cultures that lived as true members acting in mutual relationship with their natural communities.

Falk explores how spirituality, a culture’s way of relating to the world, influences how members perceive others and thus how they act toward them. Many civilized religions, including the Catholicism into which he was indocrinated from birth, see the material world and natural human urges as impure and shameful. They share with science a conception of a hierarchy of beings, with God and angels (or the mind and intellect) superior to human bodies, which in turn are superior to other animals, plants, insects, and “unliving” objects such as mountains. Conveniently, both science and the major religions of civilization provide justification for human exploitation of the rest of the world.

Falk felt betrayed by the hypocrisy of Catholicism and its antithetical stance towards affirming life. In what he now recognizes as a mistake, he extrapolated his disillusionment and anger to all spirituality. He makes a powerful case in this piece that we must seek out, embrace, and protect those spiritualities which actually benefit communities of humans and non-humans:

To stop the TMT project, to stop the genocide of indigenous peoples, and to save the world, I believe we need to empower spiritualities that learned how to live in balance with their land bases. We need to empower indigenous spiritualities around the world.

Read the entire article at Deep Green Resistance News Service – Protecting Mauna Kea: Stopping Murder-Suicide. See all of Will Falk’s “Protecting Mauna Kea” essays, plus other resources, at our page Protect Mauna Kea from the Thirty Meter Telescope.

Petition to Switzerland to stop Syngenta’s poisoning of Kaua’i

After Kaua’i residents passed an ordinance last November to provide limited protection from pesticide spraying, agrochemical companies including Syngenta sued to shut down even minimal steps towards the health of residents, including children and the hospitalized. The Hawai’i Alliance for Progressive Action (HAPA) traveled to attend Syngenta’s annual shareholders meeting and request that the company apply to Hawai’i the same pesticide restrictions in place in Syngenta’s host country of Switzerland.

In Switzerland, the Kauaʻi delegation [also] met with local and national Swiss lawmakers resulting in the Social Democratic Party, the largest political party in Basel, issuing a Statement of Support, asking Syngenta to “honor the democratic process and protect the people of Kauaʻi.” These meetings also resulted in several articles in Swiss Newspapers, television news and Swiss Public Radio covering Syngenta’s activities in Hawaiʻi and the Kauaʻi residents’ concerns.

HAPA is pushing for 10,000 signatures on a support petition by this Thursday, when allies in Switzerland will present it to Guy Morin, President of the Government of Basel, Switzerland and to executives of Syngenta at a public meeting. Please sign and share widely!

Petition to Switzerland to stop Syngenta’s poisoning of Kaua’i

Background information: Kauai delegation delivers strong message to Syngenta, Swiss lawmakers

Hawaiian history for haoles

For the second article in his “Protecting Mauna Kea” series, Will Falk of Deep Green Resistance briefly sketches the history of the Hawaiian islands, describing how this autonomous nation was illegally occupied by the United States.  With no attempt ever made by the US to redress this faulty foundation, its presence in Hawai’i and its control over vast areas of Hawaiian land are ongoing violations of international law.

This history is not trumpeted by the government of occupation and the commercial tourism interests which depend on an image of aloha and acceptance of all comers. So for many haoles, especially non residents of Hawai’i, it comes as a shock to realize that the “50th state” is not legally part of, or under the jurisdiction of, the United States. But the truth about this occupation is not obscure, either; it is readily available to anyone who digs into the history at all. And as Falk writes:

How can the American government and the American people after learning this history, after admitting the wrongs done to Hawai’i still allow something like the TMT project to happen? I think the answer is that learning the history is only the first small step. Knowing the history, we must act.

One of the intentions behind my writing is to try to understand how so many people can recognize problems in the world and then fail to act to solve those problems. I am a haole, so I can only speak as a haole, and I believe too many haoles settle for pointing out their privilege while the more important work involves undermining the forces that grants them that privilege over others in the first place. The history is clear. Hawaiians are being wronged. Now, we need to act.

Read Will Falk’s entire article: Protecting Mauna Kea: History for Haoles. See all of his “Protecting Mauna Kea” essays, plus other resources, at our page Protect Mauna Kea from the Thirty Meter Telescope.

Deep Green Resistance member Will Falk to report on TMT

DGR member Will Falk has written extensively on colonialism, racism, and patriarchy; the interconnections between them; effective resistance; and finding meaningful and ethical ways to live:

In a characteristically insightful and moving essay, Falk explains he is coming to Hawai’i:

…to offer myself in support of resistance to the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) project that would place a large telescope and stadium-sized structure on the peak of native Hawaiians’ most sacred place – Mauna Kea.

It’s been over a year since I gave up on the possibility that – as a white settler – I will ever truly be able to call stolen native land “home.” Instead of settling into one place, I believe I can be more effective traveling in support of indigenous sovereignty. So, after a wonderfully encouraging conversation with Anne Keala Kelly, I am resolved to go.

Before I go, however, it is important to articulate exactly why I am going. Why is stopping the construction of a telescope on top of a mountain thousands of miles away so important? Why, with all the social ills in the world, are you headed to Hawai’i, Will? Or, to borrow the phrase forming the title of Keala’s current documentary film project, “Why the Mountain?”

Falk goes on to relate the overarching US occupation of Hawai’i to the refusal to listen to Hawaiians who say “no” to the TMT, and to the refusal of men within patriarchy to listen to women who say “no” to sex or other unwanted intrusions. Abuse and violation of boundaries suffuses this entire “culture of entitlement.” The fight against the TMT is linked to resistance against many more of this culture’s injustices and violations.

Falk has a gift for cutting through false “claims to virtue” and the justifications presented for carrying out violations. He exposes a relatively simple choice: will you stand on the side of the living, or allow civilization to continue its abuses? We hope you, with Deep Green Resistance, will choose to stand with Hawaiians against the planned destruction and desecration of the TMT.

Read the entire essay by Will Falk: Protecting Mauna Kea: Why the Mountain? See all of Falk’s “Protecting Mauna Kea” essays, plus other resources, at our page Protect Mauna Kea from the Thirty Meter Telescope.

“Noho Hewa” on Vimeo as fundraiser to protect Mauna Kea

why-the-mountain-fundraiser

We’ve reported in the past on efforts to block construction of the massive Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea, due to environmental and cultural concerns. Unfortunately, construction has begun, but with it, so have protests on Mauna Kea and around the world in solidarity.

Anne Keala Kelly, Hawaiian filmmaker, journalist, and activist, has worked for years to expose and resist American imperialist occupation of Hawai’i. Kelly has made her first film, Noho Hewa: The Wrongful Occupation of Hawai’i available for free for a short time on Vimeo, as part of an educational campaign to inform the world why people are so vigorously protesting the desecration of Mauna Kea, and as a fundraiser for a new documentary in progress right now. (Read a review of Noho Hewa at the Deep Green Resistance News Service.)

The film is no longer available on Vimeo, but if know someone who has it, please take some time to watch Noho Hewa, then donate to make the new documentary possible: Why the Mountain. With your support, the film will help build resistance around the world to the continued illegal occupation of Hawai’i and the desecration of places sacred to Hawaiians.

Testimony needed: don’t appoint developer to control our public lands

We posted a petition in January to oppose appointment of Carleton Ching, a lobbyist for developers, as head of the Department of Land and Resources (DLNR). Your testimony is needed to the State Senate Committee on Water and Land, during or before their hearing March 11, 2015 at 10AM in Room 229 at the State Capitol. Email the committee at WTLtestimony@capitol.hawaii.gov or submit testimony online.

The following information is from KAHEA, which with at least 22 other Hawai`i groups opposes the nomination of Carleton Ching as Director of DLNR:

DLNR’s critical mission is to “[e]nhance, protect, conserve and manage Hawaii’s unique and limited natural, cultural and historic resources held in public trust for current and future generations of the people of Hawai’i nei, and its visitors, in partnership with others from the public and private sectors.” Chronic under-funding of this important department has led to long-term staff shortages. These shortages, along with systemic failures to follow basic legal requirements in past decisions, contributed to multiple, major lawsuits against the department costing taxpayers millions of dollars.

The Director of DLNR chairs the Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) and the Commission on Water Resources Management (CWRM), and is the chief historic preservation officer. The Director is responsible for ensuring DLNR follows all public hearing and disclosure requirements and satisfies all constitutional requirements under the public trust doctrine.

“The University of Hawai`i’s proposal to re-lease Mauna Kea summit lands under business as usual terms will soon come before BLNR. Later this year, CWRM will vote on designation of Keauhou aquifer as a groundwater management area, an action which KAHEA supported as prudent safeguards against the volume of water-thirsty development planned for North Kona. In these decisions, and others, we need an informed, experienced decision-maker at the helm.

In recent meetings, Ching failed to identify any vision or plan for DLNR, indicated he did not know what the public trust is, and recited the refrain of “balancing” in reference to competing water users. Hawaii’s water code, he then learned, imposes a hierarchies of best uses of water. Ching served on the Building Industry of America’s board, which sought to undermine the state Historic Preservation Division’s authority over historic properties, a stance that could endangering many Native Hawaiian cultural sites. Ching was president of Land Use Research Foundation (LURF), which lobbied to establish the Public Land Development Corporation (PLDC), to weaken environmental impact assessments, and against establishing an Environmental Court.

Again, email the committee at WTLtestimony@capitol.hawaii.gov or submit testimony online. It is crucial that they listen to our concerns:

  1. Carleton Ching lacks the knowledge, experience, and community ties necessary to the successful operation of DLNR.
  2. DLNR needs a leader with a deep understanding of the histories and struggles from which Hawaii’s obligation hold natural resources in trust arose, the political courage to enforce this public trust, and the vision to develop a plan to realize these crucial protections.
  3. Carleton Ching is not this leader.

After hearing all the testimony presented, the Committee will vote whether to recommend Mr. Ching be confirmed as Director of DLNR. Then a vote of the entire Senate will be scheduled to consider the Committee’s recommendation and make a final determination. You are encouraged to directly contact your Senator to express your concern about appointing Mr. Ching to DLNR.

Documentary to protect Mauna Kea: “Why the Mountain”

Mauna Kea is under threat by planned construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope. Though Hawaiians and non-Hawaiian allies successfully disrupted the TMT groundbreaking ceremony, the fight isn’t over yet.

The award-winning Hawaiian filmmakers Anne Keala Kelly and Mary Alice Kaʻiulani Milham are teaming up to create a documentary in protection of Mauna Kea. They are holding a fundraiser to allow production and mass distribution of a film to galvanize opposition to the destructive and desecrating TMT project. Time is short to stop this industrial expansion, and your contribution is crucial – whether a direct monetary donation or helping by spreading the word.

Our goal is to produce a beautiful, powerful and evocative film to help people everywhere understand why Mauna Kea is sacred to Hawaiians, a fragile ecosystem that needs protection, and portrayed as indispensable to the astronomy industry.

“Why The Mountain” will be a 30-minute documentary film that explores why Hawaiians and environmentalists oppose the Thirty-Meter Telescope (TMT), and why the astronomy industry is determined to construct this 18 ½ – story building on Mauna Kea.

[…]

Environmentalists argue that because the largest fresh water aquifer for Hawaiʻi Island is on Mauna Kea, the potential for irreversible harm is too high a price to pay.

They say erecting a football-stadium-sized structure, and its accompanying 5,000-gallon container for hazardous chemical waste, is an unnecessary risk. Given the toxic chemicals in use by the existing 13 telescopes on the summit, the TMT only increases the threat to the watershed and endangered and threatened species’ habitats.

Follow the progress of the film project at the Why the Mountain? Facebook page.

Hawaiians halt Thirty Meter Telescope ground-breaking ceremony

On Tuesday, October 7, a ground-breaking ceremony was attempted to kick off construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT), a $1.5 billion desecration of sacred Mauna Kea. The project has been rammed through by the so-called “state” of Hawai’i despite environmental, cultural, and legal concerns. Native Hawaiians led a protest and, joined by non-Hawaiians, successfully disrupted and halted the ceremony, forcing the organizers to shut off the live stream and go home early.

This is a multinational project with funding from India, Japan, Canada and California, including Cal Tech and the UC system as partners. The ceremony was intended to convince astronomers and the international audience that the TMT has the general backing of Native Hawaiians, going so far as to incorporate traditional Hawaiian cultural and ceremonial practices. The protesters broke through the charade and made clear the fierce opposition to the project. 250 people gathered to participate in the protest, though only a few were able to reach the ceremony at the summit.

This was an unprecedented victory for Hawaiians against an occupation which routinely ignores their cultural and legal rights. But much more needs to be done to stop the project for good. Please contact Kamahana Kealoha to get involved or support the ongoing work:

Email: sacredmaunakea@gmail.com
Website: Sacred Mauna Kea
Facebook

Deep Green Resistance Hawai’i was unable to participate in the event, but we’re honored to publish these original photos from the event:

Sunrise offerings before the protest at the ahu (alter)  across from the base of Mauna Kea

Sunrise offerings before the protest at the ahu (alter) across from the base of Mauna Kea

Six Hawaiians went to the summit to do protocol and pule (prayers) after the sunrise ceremony.

Six Hawaiians went to the summit to do protocol and pule (prayers) after the sunrise ceremony.

View of Mauna Loa from the summit of  Mauna Kea

View of Mauna Loa from the summit of Mauna Kea

photo 3

The blockade of the road was at 9000 feet. It was a bit chaotic with so many law enforcement vehicles, including  homeland security. And people didn't want to get arrested before the people doing the  ground breaking ceremony arrived.

The blockade of the road was at 9000 feet. It was a bit chaotic with so many law enforcement vehicles, including homeland security. People didn’t want to get arrested before the people doing the ground breaking ceremony arrived.

Non Hawaiians came out and stood strong with the Hawaiians

Non Hawaiians came out and stood strong with the Hawaiians.

photo 2_4

The protesters opted for a slow-down rather than starting right into a blockade

The protesters opted for a slow-down rather than starting right into a blockade.

But the desecraters had been  smuggled past in paramedics  vehicles

But the desecraters had been smuggled past in paramedics vehicles

Then they climbed into  white SUVs and drove up.  It was an ill feeling to look up and see this line of vehicles.

Then they climbed into white SUVs and drove up. It was an ill feeling to look up and see this line of vehicles.

The protest spread out

The protest spread out.

It's highly inaccurate to accuse Hawaiians of selfishly opposing western science, with 13 telescopes on Mauna Kea now.

It’s grossly unfair to accuse Hawaiians of selfishly opposing western science, with 13 telescopes on Mauna Kea now.

photo 3_2photo 2

People started to fan out and some drove to the summit, elevation about 14,000 ft.

People started to fan out and some drove to the summit, elevation about 14,000 ft.

photo 1This truck made it onto the summit before the cops closed the road. Those who made it to the top had to walk miles in and then wander the labyrinth of trails looking for the event.

This truck made it onto the summit before the cops closed the road. Those who made it to the top had to walk miles in and then wander the labyrinth of trails looking for the event.

Lanakila

Lanakila was the first one to find and intervene in the event. He stood there and challenged them for 15 minutes before other protesters could join him, just in time to stop the ground breaking.

photo 3_5

The financial backers had to stand there and listen to Hawaiians telling them they don't want their money for this desecration.

The financial backers had to stand there and listen to Hawaiians telling them they don’t want their money for this desecration.

The minister on the right, former Senator Daniel Akaka's son, was about to sell out fellow Hawaiians by blessing the project.  Instead, his own people told him he had to stop.

The minister on the right, former Senator Daniel Akaka’s son, was about to sell out fellow Hawaiians by blessing the project. Instead, his own people told him he had to stop.

photo 2_7

Hawaiians mobbed the event and chanted

Hawaiians mobbed the event and chanted.

The VIPs were to line up, each holding an o'o with his or her name carved into it.  Cultural practitioner Akaka was to chant to them, commanding them to pound and dig. This grotesque pimping of Hawaiian culture was halted, and these o'o went unused.

The VIPs were to line up, each holding an o’o with his or her name carved into it. “Cultural practitioner” Akaka was to chant to them, commanding them to pound and dig. This grotesque pimping of Hawaiian culture was halted, and these o’o went unused.

The observatory people decided to give up their ceremony and to leave

The organizers decided to give up their ceremony and to leave.

photo 1_8

Hawaiians helped speed the desecraters on their way by packing up their chairs and rolling up their carpet

Hawaiians helped speed the desecraters on their way by packing up their chairs and rolling up their carpet.

The sight of them leaving marked a historic victory in Hawaiian resistance to occupation.  This is just the start.

The sight of their leaving marked a historic victory in Hawaiian resistance to occupation. This is just the start!