Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Vandalizing History on Easter Island

Finnish tourist Marko Kulju, 26, is in trouble. He has been accused of intentionally damaging a Moai on Chile's Easter Island. If found guilty, this act of vandalizing history may cost him seven years in jail. CNN has details in Easter Island statue 'vandalized'.

The articles notes, "Kulju used his hands to tear off the earlobe, which fell to the ground and broke into pieces measuring 8 to 12 inches each, Easter Island Police Chief Cristian Gonzalez told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. Kulju ran away with at least one of the pieces from the 13-foot tall Moai, he said."

Easter Island government official Liliana Castro noted, "Fortunately, this type of thing does not happen every day, but it does happen, and it is almost impossible to control because on Easter Island there are sites of great archaeological value everywhere and the park guards cannot prevent all such incidents."

Archaeologists believe the island was discovered and colonized by Polynesians at about 400 AD. Subsequently, a unique culture developed. The human population grew to levels that could not be sustained by the island. A civil war resulted, and the island’s deforestation and ecosystem collapse was nearly complete. Over 880 statues called moai (pronounced 'mo eye') can be found on this isolated island, located 2,300 miles from the coast of Chile. The statues range in size from a few feet to over 30 feet, and weigh up to 150 tons. They were built sometime after the island was colonized in 300 C.E.. Each statue was hewn out of hard volcanic material from quarries near the Rano Raraku volcano. The statues are thought to honor their deity Make Make, or represent chieftans of the two or three tribes that inhabited this island. Originally the island was heavily forested for the construction of statues and campfires, but the rapid growth of the human population quickly denuded the island. About 250 years ago, warfare between the two tribes of 'Easter Islanders' led to the toppling of most of the statues. (Source)

If this all an misfortunate understanding, I wish Mr. Kulju well. However, if he did indeed damage this statue, I hope Chile throws the book at him. These sort of artifacts are not replaceable and they belong to the people of the Earth. This is a part of the human legacy.


Ojalanpoika said...

If you will allow, I would like to defend my country man for the raging mob wanting to lynch him:

Your short blog was decent, however.

This countryman of mine has been lynched high. There were more column meters published on the death of Princess Diana than there were on the invasion at Normanny. Soon there will be more column meters on this earlobe of the moai statute (1 out of 400-1000, the hungry media does not even know the number) than there are columns on the massive Buddha statutes annihilated by the Taleban regime!

A high-octan, adrenaline addict adventurer climbs on a top of a high and sacred monument. Bad enough. The Finn brokes the ear of this fragile lava type of stone. Worse enough. My countryman tries to hide it and runs away. Worst enough. (OK, Oll Korrect, he confessed what happened later on.) But this does not prove him a thief though the whole globe would shout and shoot so! It was the Easter week at the Easter Island. The same week the Finnish leaders of the Botnia pulp factory at the border river between Uruguay and Argentine were on trial in a South American court for "Planned damage". After Finnish flags had been burnt in the streets of Argentine for 3 years for this biggest investment ever to the poor country of Uruguay. Come on, guys! We have a classical scape goat and red herring here! Not every tattood boxer is suffering from Dementia pugilistica. In Finland we enjoy extreme sports, but the aim was not to vandalize it appears to me. So now we know we should prefer Tibet over the highest 22-meter Moai for climbing. That I want to apologize.

Ojalanpoika said...

I only now got the actual article of the incident in my hands. Now I need to apologize again: There was even no climbing. Just an especially fragile specimen of the statues, implied the court and judge.

The printed media has gone down with the web mob that demands irrational entertainment, not truth behind matters. The Finnish hiker immediately wrote a letter describing the incident in Spanish in a major Chilean newspaper. But NONE of the Western media houses translated and provided even inserts from the victims own viewpoint. So now we know that even BBC, CNN, AOL abd Congoo News are on the same line regarding the fact that none of them translates original foreign languages to English. They just copy from one another. Mindless recycling in the English newspapers and media houses. Are you so arrogant that you think editing from other English sources is enough for the citizens?

Pauli Ojala