I believe the people in protest of the TMT to be built on Mauna Kea have legitimate reasons to be outraged. Thirteen telescopes are already built on the land and to have this one built would demolish five acres of land. However, this is no ordinary telescope; it propels Hawai‘i not only literally but figuratively in the pursuit of astronomical sciences. There is no other telescope that can look 13 billion light years away. With funding from supporting countries such as Japan, Canada, India and China, it only further shows the importance of this grand construct. Many Hawaiians believe the construction disrespects numerous gods and goddesses, but as astrophysicist and Hawaiian Paul Coleman said, “The one thing that makes you Hawaiian is one of your ancestors came here in a canoe led by an astronomer.” This statement shows how building the TMT is another way to respect the Hawaiian culture by being a “temple” looking to the heavens.
I believe that the TMT should not be built on Mauna Kea. Even though I am not Hawaiian, I live with the same beliefs that what’s sacred is sacred and culture should always be respected. If someone is to respect other cultures, beliefs, morals and values, then they respect their own. In concession, I know that there are already telescopes on Mauna Kea, but it seems that once a little is given, a lot is asked. Who knows what else they are going to want to build on the sacred land after so much leeway is already given. With today’s technology, research and observations being done so easily, why would it be so hard to let down on this when it is creating such grief and protest with those of Hawaiian ancestry? Though many aren’t Hawaiian, respect the land you live on and learn a little about it.
I feel and want to be neutral about the situation. I’m not Hawaiian even though I’ve lived my entire life in Hawai‘i. I feel they’re protesting so much for Mauna Kea, but I wish they could put just as much energy into the rail or Target because those are things that are going to affect us most, especially if you live in the area.
—Moana Berry Liftee