Message supporting TMT as important as protest
A big mahalo for your story “Are future TMT discoveries worth the battle?” (Sept. 21). And an even bigger mahalo to Amber Imai-Hong, a Native Hawaiian avionics engineer whose family originally opposed the telescope, but now support it. Around the island, I see trucks with flags, protesters with flags, and people wearing T-shirts expressing their opposition to the telescope. There aren’t many, but they dominate the conversation by default.
I believe that astronomy and TMT honor the traditions of stargazing and celestial navigation that brought the Native Hawaiians to these islands in the first place. I’ve seen countless statements to this effect in the letters column of all the major Hawaii newspapers, signed by correspondents of many different backgrounds. I further believe, and have said in a letter that you ran some time ago, that the observatories deserve to be regarded as the heist of our time.
Here’s my challenge to graphic artists who share these beliefs. Come up with a graphic as beautiful as that of the protesters, think of a brief, respectful message to go with it, and start marketing T-shirts. I would wear the message proudly, and I’m guessing I’d have lots of company. If we’re a silent majority, as has been said, it’s past time to start speaking up.