|Hancock Rockin It for our Heritage|
But what does having World Heritage List inscription abilities really mean? Word on the street is that Palestine is going to be trying to list Bethlehem which, if true, seems like another brilliant move. Sure Bethlehem is a complicated, multi-period area, but it is a site that feels Christian-y. Smart. But what is next? Lets be honest, UNESCO is just a stepping stone for Palestine.
|Quando Juanica y...Chan Chan?|
Another site that has been on the unwritten pre-Danger list for a few years now is the site I work at: the glorious and wonderfully controversial site of Tiwanakau, Bolivia. For as complete a record as I could scrape together of its current woes, see Ch. 7 of the now approved dissertation. Since mid 2009 we've heard it all: it is being defunded; it is being de-listed; it is being put on the Danger List; all or any of those will happen if x, y or z doesn't happen; all or any of those will happen if x, y, or z DOES happen. I've taken a two month break from reading the Bolivian papers on this issue, but a peek two days ago shows that everything is in exactly the same place: the museum is falling apart, everyone is mad at everyone else, and if something doesn't happen, UNESCO is going to act.
|Elbe Valley looking impossible!|
The last time I saw the Elbe Valley was in 2006 and the Elbe was showing its stuff, flooding like mad as my train sped from the Czech Republic into the Dresden train station (which, itself, had been ravaged by flooding a bit before). It was snowy and lovely and it was delisted because a bridge was built. Bridge up, Dresden off. I like that "DRESDEN ELBE VALLEY" is actually crossed off on the UNESCO website. European newspapers and some German surveys portrayed this as totally lame and embarrassing but there you go. It happened. Are any fewer people going to Dresden? Has anything changed? I really don't know.
|Seville's Pelli Tower, you decide.|
|This doesn't cause a site to be delisted.|
It is hard to judge based off of one delisting, but I wonder if UNESCO is more apt to axe a European site than a site in the developing world. They have always faced a lot of flack for what most people see as a Western bias in their list. Bamiyan was never delisted, even after the Buddhas were 'sploded by the Taliban. To quote a 2011 assessment of Bamiyan:
"The heritage resources in Bamiyan Valley have suffered from various disasters and some parts are in a fragile state. A major loss to the integrity of the site was the destruction of the large Buddha statues in 2001. However, a significant proportion of all the attributes that express the Outstanding Universal Value of the site, such as Buddhist and Islamic architectural forms and their setting in the Bamiyan landscape, remain intact at all 8 sites within the boundaries, including the vast Buddhist monastery in the Bamiyan Cliffs which contained the two colossal sculptures of the Buddha."Yet a bridge and a tower could cause a European site to be delisted. I'm not saying that is wrong, I am just saying.
So there it is folks, just some musings. I would love to read a post de-listing report out of Dresden if anyone knows of one not in German (I can do English or French).