Finally! The United Nations has found an issue it can really get behind, issuing strong statements and declarations.
Yup, that's right: the world body is all ticked off at a private initiative to choose 7 modern Wonders of the World. According to newspaper reports, UNESCO - some gobbledygook alphabet of an acronym which no doubt translates to "abject failure" - is not the least bit pleased. Christian Manhard, UNESCO's press officer, went so far as to say it sends out "a negative message to countries whose sites have not been retained". Other officials also criticized the online effort sponsored by a private Swiss foundation that reportedly gathered close to 100 million votes on 21 chosen sites.
I guess the UN must be worried that the sites that didn't win will suffer from a drop in self-esteem. That seems to be all the rage these days. And, just like my kids are sometimes subjected to games where no one is allowed to win so that no one else will lose, I think it's massive bullshit.
The 7 winning sites were the Great Wall of China, the Taj Majahl, the ruins of Petra in Jordan, the Colosseum in Rome, the statue of Christ that towers above Rio De Janeiro ("it's like a Jesus on the dashboard of the whole city", said Homer Simpson in the episode where the Simpsons go to Brazil), the Incan ruins at Machu Picchu in Peru, and the ancient Mayan city of Chichen Itza in Mexico. I haven't seen any of them so I don't know how spectacular they are or aren't.
It wasn't only the UN that was upset with the whole competition. Egypt complained about it and claimed only the Pyramids at Giza - one of the seven original Wonders of the World and the only one still in place - were truly worthy of the honour.
One thing I did notice was that none of the historical sites was in Israel or built by Jews. Which is a good thing. Because if any had been, you can bet the UN Human Rights Commission would be meeting right now to condemn the contest as a zionist plot and the internet would be humming with neo-nazi morons and their arabist lapdogs claiming that it was just a Jewish attempt to take over architecture.
Anyway, it's nice to see the UN fired up for once and taking a stance. If only we could elicit that kind of response out of them when it comes to Iran or Sudan or China or Zimbabwe, etc.