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Your Views for December 10


Happy to be free

In 2005, I was privileged to visit Robben Island off the coast of Cape Town, South Africa, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years. A short voyage over to the island was by boat, which was fully loaded with tourists.

Upon landing, we were loaded onto an old school bus for a tour of the small island where “terrorists” opposed to the apartheid white government of South Africa were imprisoned. The driver took us to the site where limestone had been mined by inmates for decades to be used to pave the roads on the island.

When all the roads were paved, the inmates still had to toil in the limestone mine as punishment. During work breaks inside a cave and unguarded, the ones who knew how to read and write taught the others by writing in the dirt that paved the cave. Thus, inmates were empowered by knowledge which the white government had denied blacks for decades.

Our guide at the prison facility was a former prisoner who knew well the history of the prison. He showed us the cell where Mandela slept on the bare concrete for 18 years. He told us how inmates were able to get messages to other prisoners on adjoining yards by “mistakenly” hitting a tennis ball over the 20-foot concrete wall that separated them.

The guards never caught on that the tennis balls had messages of encouragements and methods to resist the terrors of the guards inside them. I am reminded of the power of hope and never giving up in the face of adversity. I am reminded that knowledge and education are most important in gaining and maintaining the freedoms that we as citizens of the USA take for granted. Do not take education for granted.

Kudos on GMO ban

Mahalo nui to the County Council and Mayor Billy Kenoi for being courageous leaders and voting to pass GMO prohibition.

It is a miracle in a way. Washington State and California ballot initiatives to “label GMO’s” were narrowly defeated — almost $100 million in biotech campaign funding sealed their fate. The scary ads we heard on the radio opposed to Bill 113 never said what the bill was about. Misleading the public has become the hallmark of biotech.

The simple truth is that the feds do not require any “clinical feeding studies” on rodents or humans before GMOs are released for experiment or for us to eat.

The feds, state, and UH-Manoa need to stop protecting biotech and start protecting us. Any attempts they make to “pre-empt” or overrule this law would be like trying to take away our right to home rule in the name of democracy. Not pono.

Now is the time to heal the divisions and create win/win situations. We need to support diversified farms such as Community Supported Agriculture (CSA programs) in which people pre-pay for a diversity of produce/goods. The farmers earn more, consumers path less, and there is incentive to produce clean, healthy food. How about it farmers?

 

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