On July 7, 2007, the world elected a list of “New 7 Wonders”. Chosen by global vote via internet, telephone and SMS, many argue that the election was unfair and favored the broadband-connected West (how else would you explain the Statue of Liberty being one of the 21 finalists?). The one-year process has ignited the excitement and imagination of bloggers from both “winning” and “losing” countries.What remains for some a list of attractive tourist destinations is for others a source of deep national pride.
Today, we'll take a trip around the globe to see what folks on nearly every continent are thinking.
Globally, the general reaction to the New Seven Wonders was annoyance – at the voting process more than at the final results. Some even created their own alternative lists. Elisa of Subversive Writer listed her own “Seven Wonders of a Total Scam” in response:
7. I wonder how anyone could expect this list of “New Seven Wonders” to actually be anything but forgotten? Perhaps in the years to come, we might expect a new corporate marketing frenzy to produce new Wonders of the World: how about Trump's Tower, for a change?
With UN's UNESCO not even endorsing this corporate undertaking, instead calling the whole shebang a “private undertaking”, this milking cash cow, under close scrutiny, doesn't even hold a semblance of authenticity.
When the dust clears and it's all said and done, the only wonder that remains is that of chutzpah – and the New Wonders of PR.
Astroprof also had a say:
But, there is still controversy. For one thing, only people who heard about the campaign and had internet access voted. Second, the only things on the list were tourist attractions. The original seven wonders would likely have been tourist attractions, but that wasn't what got them on the list.
Asia was fortunate to have four sites nominated for the new seven wonders, two of which – The Great Wall of China and India's Taj Mahal – made the final cut. Blogger Always Aditya is thrilled the latter:
The selection of Taj Mahal as one of the seven wonders is itself a great achievement for Indians and also the lovers of architecture round the world. Even if the Taj would not have been selected it would have remained as one of the most beautiful and perfectly crafted master piece. Thanks to all those who voted for the Taj Mahal.
Itch of Writing discusses how the “Vote for Taj” campaign within India affected its citizens:
Wow! We felt like Indians. We needed to. With India out of cricket world cup in first round itself, we needed something to drive us along as Indians; perhaps for many of us ‘New 7 Wonders’ provided that opportunity.
Cambodia's Angkor Wat, built in the 12th century and the world's largest religious structure, was unfortunately not a winner of one of the coveted seven places.
VuthaSurf, on the other hand, lamented the voting process, saying that Cambodians had less access to the voting system than those from larger nations:
I don't feel upset when I knew this result because I thought that the voting through internet and telephone is not fair and just for least developed countries like Cambodia. Most of our Cambodian people have limit to access internet nationwide like developing and developed countries. By the way, small Cambodian population is in comparison with other countries like China, India and Brazil.
Oudam.com suggests a new idea for Angkor:
Perhaps we Cambodians should demand a similar special honor for Angkor Wat as well because it clearly dwarfs many of the current selections in size, splendor and architectural sophistication. After all, if there are already eight “wonders” on the list of seven, what’s wrong with having nine, ten, or even twenty?
My question is simple. Where is Africa? It is unthinkable that no edifice/site in the entire African continent made it to the final 7. How could it have been when only Timbuktu in Mali made it to the final 21?
Egyptians, on the other hand, were frustrated that their pyramids were even on the list. The Wild Hunt Blog lamented:
Egypt, which houses the only surviving ancient wonder, the Great Pyramid of Giza, complained that the contest demeaned their culture and the pyramids. It got so heated that New7Wonders sidestepped the controversy by making the Great Pyramid(s) of Giza an “honorary” candidate.
Latin Americans were mostly satisfied with the results, as Brazil's Christ the Redeemer, Peru's Machu Picchu and Mexico's Chichén Itzá were all included in the final seven. Chileans, however, expressed their disappointment at the exclusion of their beloved Easter Island moai. Evoluz (es) demonstrates:
En el curioso día 07/07/07, fueron escogidas finalmente las 7 nuevas maravillas del mundo. Pese a que se hizo una insistente campaña nacional para votar por los moai de Isla de Pascua, no quedaron dentro de la selección. Una pena, para nuestro país.
Blogger Galería Paralela (es) expressed disappointment as well:
Rapa Nui no salió Maravilla. Dice el rumor que los votos fueron comprados. Otros por ahí cuentan que salimos octavos.
While I think it's cool that Latin America is represented 3 times, I don't know if the Christ Redeemer statue is as cool as some of the other finalists. It just seems too… new. When I think of “wonders,” the construction in the context of the time period is an important factor to consider.
It is worth mentioning the impact that these new wonders will have on nearby historical sites, as Blog de Viajes does:
Van a aumentar el precio de la entrada a la ciudadela inca para
protegerla del “aluvión turístico” que se produciría tras la
elección…Ya ven, se trata de noticias maravillosas. Preparen sus
maravillosas billeteras, porque como hace rato venimos planteando en
este blog, Cusco va camino a convertirse en un destino exclusivo para
turistas con altos ingresos. En ese marco, la votación de las 7
maravillas es una maravillosa excusa para acelerar ese proceso.
protect it from the “tourist flood,” which will result from this
election… As you can see, thas to do with the wonderful news. Prepare
your wonderful wallets, as we have been saying for awhile on this blog.
Cuzco is on its way to becoming an exclusive destination for tourists
with high incomes. This way, the vote for the 7 Wonders is a wonderful
excuse to accelerate this process.
Jordan's ancient city of Petra, once capital of the Nabataean Kingdom and today a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was the only Middle Eastern site selected as a finalist. Blogger Puzzle Piece congratulates Jordan on its win and encourages us to be proud of all the monuments, whether their title is deserved or not:
But still these new 7 wonders are controversial. Do some of the newly elected wonders deserve to be named so?
Let us take it in timeline:
Chichén Itzá – 800
Christ Redeemer – 1931
The Great Wall of China – 221 B.C
Machu Picchu – 1450
Petra – 9 B.C
The Roman Colosseum – 82
The Taj Mahal – 1648
From here I can see that only Petra and The Great Wall of China deserve the title.
But not everyone is thrilled – Wassim, a Syrian blogger, says in his blog Maysaloon:
Petra has been appointed one of the new “wonders” of the world. Apparently the Jordanians are overjoyed at this. Truly, they can be as proud of Petra as the Egyptians are proud of the Pyramids or Shah-era Persians over the Persian empire, Lebanon over the Phoenicians or Italians over the Romans, etc. etc.
You see, it doesn't matter if you are a loser now, what matters is that somebody who used to live where you are now did something amazing once and you can now take credit for it..
The only European site selected as a finalist was the Roman Colosseum. The Perrin Post had this to say about it:
Frankly, I don't think this new honor will noticeably increase attendance at any of these sites — how large a rock would you have to be living under to not already have known that Rome's Colosseum is worth a stop?
Supporters of Stonehenge, a candidate which did not make it, were disappointed, as The Play's the Thing states:
This website even specifically states that Stonehenge didn't make the list. I bet it lost by only one vote. I bet it was YOUR vote. I didn't vote either, but it was your vote, wasn't it.
All photos are Creative Commons-licensed.
Taj Mahal photo by PriyadarshiC.
Angkor Wat photo by flydime.
Timbuktu's Sankore Mosque photo by ازرق.
Moai of Easter Island photo by Fedeil.
Petra photo by nonmipare.
Colosseum photo by Bunshee.