By Robert Kajiwara
In response to the outpouring of organic support in favor of protecting Mauna Kea and stopping the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT), the TMT project has recently begun airing a paid advertisement on both television and radio.
One of the biggest problems with the ad campaign is its attempt to convince the public that the Mauna is big enough for everybody to share.
Imagine for a moment that an armed thief broke into your home, held you and your family hostage, and insisted that he was going to occupy your house from now on. The thief says you and your family can stay in a small corner of the house, but that he and his gang are going to do with the house as they please. When you resist, the thief says that “the house is big enough for all of us to share.”
What would your response be? Would you agree with the thief, and say “yes, let’s share the house?”
Any sensible person would scoff at this scenario, for a thief has no right to “share” a house that he stole. Rather, the thief must return the house to its rightful owners, pay for damages, and then immediately vacate the premise. So too should the United States do with the Hawaiian Islands.
Contrary to popular belief, the United States does not have any legal claim to any part of Hawaii. In 1893 the U.S. participated in an armed invasion of the peaceful and friendly country known as the Hawaiian Kingdom, which began their long illegal occupation of the country that has lasted for the past 121 years. Under both international law, as well as the United States’ own law, territory can only be acquired by a treaty of annexation, of which there is none in the case of Hawaii.
Without a proper treaty of annexation, the United States has no rightful or legal claim to the Hawaiian Islands. This was acknowledged by many Americans at the time, including President Grover Cleveland, who insisted that the U.S. had committed an illegal and immoral crime against a friendly nation, and that the U.S. should immediately leave Hawaii. Unfortunately President Cleveland’s term in office expired, and the imperialist William McKinley took office, ignoring the legalities of the situation, and turning America down a path of overseas colonization and imperialism. This would cause the U.S. to be involved in many regime-change schemes and wars, from the Spanish-American War, to World War II, and lasting to the present day with the recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
In the landmark Lance Paul Larsen vs. the Hawaiian Kingdom case in 2001 the Permanent Court of Arbitration indicated that the Hawaiian Kingdom still retains legal standing as the government of the Hawaiian Islands. In 2018 United Nations independent expert Dr. Alfred de Zayas stated that Hawaii is an independent country and should be recognized as such. The United States government itself confessed to its sins in the 1993 Apology Resolution, though it did not offer any remedies.
Thus the issue regarding Mauna Kea and the TMT has never been about room or space, though this does not change the fact that the TMT would have an enormous footprint on the sacred mountain. The issue is about jurisdiction. The United States does not have the lawful jurisdiction or the moral right to build anything in the Hawaiian Islands, and certainly not on highly sacred land such as Mauna Kea. Only the Hawaiian Kingdom, a constitutional monarchy with officials elected by and for it subjects, retains the lawful right to decide on behalf of Hawaiian nationals what gets built in Hawaii.
This information is not new – Hawaiian nationals have been saying these things since 1893. It just so happens that with all of the commotion surrounding Mauna Kea that these issues have been receiving more attention among the general public.
The United States should immediately return the entirety of the Hawaiian Islands to the Hawaiian Kingdom government, pay full reparations for the damages they have caused over the course of the long 126 year incursion and occupation, and vacate the Hawaiian Islands. This is the only way the U.S. can atone for its crimes and truly become a peaceful, democratic nation. How can America claim to be a land of the free and home of the brave, a country of liberty and democracy, if there remains a major ongoing crime against a peaceful and sovereign nation?
This is also the only way Hawaii can regain its proper place as a world-class nation, how Hawaiians can heal, and how all of the local people of Hawaii can prosper.
For more information about what an independent Hawaii would look like, please visit HawaiianKingdom.net.
Robert Kajiwara is a Ryukyuan (Okinawan), Nahua Hawaiian singer-songwriter, writer, and baseball player. He has been featured in over 60 news and media publications in more than 15 countries, including The Associated Press, BBC World, The South China Morning Post, Japan Times, ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, and many others. He is president of the Peace For Okinawa Coalition and a Special Envoy of Ke Aupuni O Hawaii (the Hawaiian Kingdom) to the Lewchew Islands (Ryukyu) and China. Kajiwara has spoken at numerous venues, including the United Nations, the United States Capitol Hill, the Japan Diet, Yale University, Okinawa International University, University of the Ryukyus, and many more. For more information, please see his website, RobKajiwara.com.
Ph.D. in History – Liberty University (in progress, 2022 expected graduation date)
M.A. in History – University of Nebraska at Kearney (2019)
B.A. in History – University of Hawaii at Manoa (2015)
A.A. in Teaching – Leeward Community College (2014)
Occupied Okinawa: The United States of America and Japan’s Desecration of Okinawa’s Democracy and Environment (2019)
Ryukyu – Okinawa Impressionism (2018)