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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Tuesday, December 18, 2001

Byte Marks
Vote on new list of world wonders

By Burt Lum

While in Japan, I found myself at one moment staring at the Tokyo Tower and the next at an ancient temple. The connections to the past are like an unbroken thread linking history with modern society. So it seemed fitting to me when I read in the Daily Yomiuri (English version) about an organization determined to bring global awareness to the historic marvels of antiquity.

The organization is called the New 7 Wonders of the World (new7wonders.com/e/) and is based in Switzerland. Some background: In 200 B.C., Philo of Byzantium proposed a list of mankind's masterful architectural accomplishments. These ancient wonders are outlined at new7wonders.com/e/ancient.html. Of the list, only the Egyptian pyramids are still in existence. So it is the purpose of New 7 Wonders to enlist the feedback of the global community to establish a new list.

Participation is quite simple. From the list provided, you may vote for your favorite seven. Although the list is rather short, it was culled from a much lengthier UNESCO list. If you do not see your favorite architectural marvel, you can submit it as a wild card. You may choose from sites as diverse as the Empire State building to the Potala Palace in Lhasa. As a voter, you automatically become a member of the New 7 Wonders Foundation (new7wonders.org).

What caught my interest in the New 7 Wonders was not so much the establishment of a new list of seven but the effort to preserve remaining cultural heritage sites. Prior to Sept. 11th, there was a feature in the news about the destruction of two towering statues of Buddha in Afghanistan. At the time it seemed like rigid, radical beliefs being expressed in a remote corner of the world. We all know better now, and the statues are a symbol of that. In light of world events, the restoration of the 53-meter tall statues seems like an impossibility. Yet for that very reason, they should be restored as a symbol of remembrance and of a world more tolerant of its diverse cultures. ;-)

Burt Lum, cyber-citizen and self-anointed tour guide to the Internet frontier, is one click away at burt@brouhaha.net.