Colonial violence in Palestine and Hawai’i take different forms, but both constitute attempts to disappear the indigenous people of these lands, while also devastating the land itself. UH – Students and Faculty for Justice in Palestine (UH-SFJP) opposes this violence, and we call for a halt to construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on the sacred site of Mauna a Wākea.
As students and educators at the University of Hawai’i we stand for universal education and the right to education, and against any obstructions to this goal, including all forms of colonialism, racism, and apartheid. Within both this broad understanding and also from our own particular location on Hawaiian land occupied and colonized by the United States, we constitute ourselves in solidarity with Palestinians who, under a US-sponsored occupation and colonization by Israel, are resisting conditions of apartheid, siege and blockade, martial law, displacement, and dispossession.
When the Hawai‘i State Supreme Court affirmed the Board of Land and Natural Resource’s approval of the University of Hawai‘i’s permit to construct the Thirty Meter Telescope on Oct. 30, 2018, their ruling disrespected the thousands of ‘Ōiwi who have testified to the sacredness of Mauna a Wākea, and the thousands who have put their bodies on the line to protect the Mauna. We recognize this ruling, along with the plans to construct the TMT, as part of an ongoing structure of settler colonialism. So, too, we understand that the University of Hawai’i administration continues to exert colonial power. President Lassner does so when he issues a statement affirming that “All human beings are entitled to the respect of their culture and who they are” at the very moment in time that the UH administration makes clear its intention to continue construction of the TMT, and proposes Mauna Kea Administrative Rules to penalize students and faculty who would exercise their right–indeed their responsibility–to protect the Mauna from desecration. Although in Palestine, practices of Israeli settler colonialism and occupation include checkpoints, bullets, bombs, and bulldozers, and overtly racist laws and policies rather than platitudes about respect for culture and knowledge, UH-SFJP refuses colonial violence in all its forms and guises.
In both Hawai’i and Palestine, people have been rising up, and will continue to rise up, to meet colonial violence with resistance and a love for people and land that is stronger than colonial courts and the military might of settler states that work together, as the US and Israel do. And when we come together, and connect our struggles for justice, we are stronger and more sustained. As students and educators, we condemn Israeli occupation and settler colonialism, and support the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI) as part of the international, Palestinian-led struggle for justice in Palestine. And as students and educators, we oppose the construction of the TMT and will stand with Kanaka Maoli in their protection of Mauna Kea and all of Hawai’i. We also oppose all aspects of the University of Hawaiʻi’s proposed Administrative Rules for Mauna Kea that seek to justify the citation and arrest of kia’i as they protest the TMT and stand for their sacred occupied lands. To resist and protest colonial encroachment is our right. And in particular, we affirm the movement of the kia‘i as they act to protect their sacred mountain. #AoleTMT