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An update on past news

Wednesday, February 14, 2001

Albertini still walks
path of nonviolence

Question: Whatever happened to Jim Albertini, the community activist?

Answer: The label "activist" often hangs on Jim Albertini, usually with the prefix "anti," as in anti-nuclear, anti-geothermal, anti-military, anti-irradiation.

Not that he's a negative kind of guy. In fact, Albertini describes himself as "an optimist at heart," who holds tight to his convictions and principles.

The 54-year-old Big Island resident made a name for himself beginning in the 1970s as coordinator of Catholic Action of Hawaii's peace education program, an organization that opposed the Vietnam War, nuclear weapons and their storage in the islands.

His resistance landed him in prison a number of times -- in 1977 after he was convicted of trespassing on a nuclear submarine base in Washington state and again in 1988 after he swam into Hilo Harbor to block a Navy frigate that was capable of carrying nuclear weapons.

Yet the man who grew up in a Pennsylvania coal-mining town remains unbowed. Through the 1990s, he has protested against French nuclear testing, geothermal development, irradiation, military presence and government funding for the USS Missouri.

"It is because nonviolence is my base. I believe in a world of justice and peace. My views are those of Martin Luther King and Gandhi," he said in a recent interview from his 22-acre farm in Kurtistown.

The farm is the center for Malu 'Aina, a "center for nonviolent education and action." He describes Malu 'Aina as a "taro patch university," a place where "people of peace" can stay for as long as they want, learn about organic farming and live simply with conservation and environmental responsibilities in mind.

The farm produces most of the food for Malu 'Aina residents, including taro, vegetables and fruits and fish. When there is excess, food is shared with people who are in need, he said.

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