UNESCO and New 7 Wonders are Poles apart

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In a news titled Bollywood Roots for the Taj, attributed to Indo-Asian News Service and published in Khabrein.info , Mangalorean.com, Monsters and Critics.com, Daily News & Analysis (DNA), NewKerala.com, Kalinga Times, etc. it is stated that UNESCO is expected to announce the new 7 wonders list on July 7 in Lisbon Portugal’s Benfica Stadium. This gives the impression that UNESCO is closely connected with the new 7 wonders selection venture.


However, in Press Release No. 2007-66 Source:UNESCOPRESS 20-06-2007, it is stated "In order to avoid any damaging confusion, UNESCO wishes to reaffirm that there is no link whatsoever between UNESCO’s World Heritage programme, which aims to protect world heritage, and the current campaign concerning "The New 7 Wonders of the World".


The new 7 wonders campaign was launched in 2000 as a private initiative by Bernard Weber, the idea being to encourage citizens around the world to select seven new wonders of the world by popular vote. Although UNESCO was invited to support this project on several occasions, it decided not to collaborate with Mr. Weber.


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There can be no comparison between Mr Weber’s over hyped media savvy campaign and the scientific and educational work resulting from the inscription of sites on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The list of the "7 New Wonders of the World" will be the result of a private undertaking, reflecting only the opinions of those with access to the internet and not the entire world. This initiative cannot, in any significant and sustainable manner, contribute to the preservation of sites elected by this public.


Few years back, Time magazine had asked visitors to its Web site to cast their votes for the greatest men and women of the 20th century. When the votes for the "Warriors and Statesmen" category were tallied every minute or so, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was often at the top of the list and also on tops in the "Entertainers and Artists" category, as well as in "Leaders and Revolutionaries." It?s possible that the entire Turkey woke up with red eyes after frenzied day night repeated attacks on the Time Magazine site.


In fact, most Internet polls where you surf to a Web site and then cast your vote with a click of the button are nothing but good for a few laughs. A poll can be said to be representative of every one’s opinion only when you can calculate the probability of any given person being sampled for a poll. Since there is no such probability functions when people choose themselves to vote in an online poll, the results reflect absolutely nothing. May be its time to replace the word statistics by website polls and SMS in the famous quote Lies, damn lies and statistics.


In the light of above, public must wake up before and after the announcement of new 7 wonders list on July 7, 2007 at Lisbon irrespective of whether the Architecture of Love Taj Mahal is in the list or not.







About the author:


""Dr BR Natarajan is Professor and Dean Work Integrated Learning Programmes
at Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS), Pilani Rajasthan – 333031 India

Author: Dr BR Natarajan- Rajasthan


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