(BIVN) – In three minutes of public testimony, Ruth Aloua took on Mayor Harry Kim’s Mauna Kea narrative, among other issues, during Monday’s Hawaiʻi County Council Finance Committee hearing in Hilo.
Aloua was one of many TMT opponents to testify on the agenda item “regarding the extent of county agency activity” on the mountain. She first commented on how Mayor Harry Kim left the meeting after giving his presentation to the council members.
“Whenever I go into the kitchen at night, I flick on the light, and the roaches – as soon as they see the light – they run away,” Aloua said. “And that’s the best metaphor I get for Harry Kim right now. That’s the nicest way I get of putting it.”
“Its a false narrative that he’s perpetuating,” Aloua continued, speaking about the mayor’s vision for Maunakea, which leaves room for the construction of TMT. “But I’m not worried. Because we’re dismantling it and he’s out of power.”
Aloua told the council she just came back from the NAISA Conference in New Zealand. “Every single person there stands with Mauna Kea. They made a vow to come stand with us,” she said.
“Think about 12 years” of TMT construction, Aloua said. “Now think about 12 years of people from all around the world, from every nation, coming to Hawaiʻi. What is the financial estimate of that? I would like to know how you’re gonna arrest the whole world.”
Aloua also talked about death threats, in reference to prior testimony delivered by a TMT supporter. “We receive death threats,” she said. “Activists go missing. We get killed. Iʻm smiling because I’ve accepted it.”
“If you choose to bite the bait that they need protection, then that means so do we,” Aloua said. “And that’s why I’m putting it on the record. I have received death threats and so have other kiaʻi. So if you’re gonna give them protection, we deserve it, too.”
Aloua ended her comments by suggesting money for law enforcement activity on Mauna Kea would be better spent on issues of hunger, houselessness, health care, and income inequality.