PERU'S Machu Picchu, Jordan's Petra and the Acropolis were among the top contenders to be picked as the new seven Wonders of the World with just a few hours to go in a massive poll to pick the winners.
Voting in what may be the biggest ever global online poll closes at 9am tomorrow ahead of the announcement of the winners at a ceremony in Lisbon.
More than 90 million people have voted so far.
Organisers say the contest is a unique exercise in levelling the global cultural playing field by putting hallmarks of European civilization on an equal footing with other cultures such as Mexico's Mayas.
“We live in a Eurocentric world,” said Tia Vering, spokeswoman for the New 7 Wonders of the World (www.new7wonders.com) organisation.
“When have we ever compared symbols of European civilisation with, for instance, Mayan civilisation?”
[...]Some countries have gone to lengths to promote their candidates, such as bus tickets in Brazil reminding travellers to vote and an Indian singer dedicating a song to the Taj Mahal.
But not everybody is enthused, arguing leading world sites cannot be chosen in a popular vote.''
This article tells us something about the man behind this seemingly politically-driven effort:
The new Seven Wonders of the World campaign was begun in 1999 by Swiss adventurer Bernard Weber, with almost 200 nominations coming in from around the world.
Weber felt it was "time for something new to bring the world together" and to "symbolise a common pride in the global cultural heritage".
His Swiss-based foundation aims to promote cultural diversity by supporting, preserving and restoring monuments, and relies on private donations to keep it going.''
Vatican spokesmen found fault with the choices, noting that there were only three Christian sites listed, and the Sistine Chapel was not one of the three.
'The Vatican suggested an anti-Christian bias in the short list of candidates for the new Seven Wonders of the World.
Only three Christian sites made the list of 21 -- the Christ the Redeemer Statue in Rio de Janeiro, and two Moscow cathedrals, St. Basil's and the Kremlin.''
It seems that Christianity is too Eurocentric; after all, the spokeswoman, Tia Viering, expressed the desire to get away from 'Eurocentrism.'
This article notes the 'controversy' over the choices and the methods used in deciding.
Voting was often based on nationalism rather than objective criteria, and there was no control to prevent the same people from voting many times, observers said.The voting was based on nationalism: does that fact register with the people who think that they can bring everybody together in some fabricated 'global culture'? It doesn't work that way.
"You cannot measure artistic quality with a popular vote," Spanish art historian Francisco Calvo Serraller said. With such a method, he added, Madrid's Santiago Bernabeu football stadium - the seat of Real Madrid - could also be included on a list of world wonders.''
But the new 'Seven Wonders' will be announced with some fanfare at a 'glamorous gala event' in Lisbon, but the winners are being chosen in much the same way as the Eurovision Song Contest or American Idol. I suppose this is more 'democratic', in theory, but it becomes an exercise in ethnocentrism or anti-Westernism. The talk about 'leveling the cultural playing field' means pulling down the Western and elevating the non-Western, regardless of merit or quality.
At the risk of being 'Eurocentric', here are the traditional Seven Wonders of the World:
- The Colossus of Rhodes
- The Great Pyramid of Giza
- The Hanging Gardens of Babylon
- The Lighthouse of Alexandria
- The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
- The Statue of Zeus at Olympia
- The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
Bernard Weber is mistaken if he thinks that you can create a 'global' cultural heritage out of whole cloth based on a vote.