Seven Wonders stir up debate

Tuesday, July 17, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 7:13 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Loory: From time to time we get away from hard news to talk about something brighter, such as the recent worldwide vote to select the New Seven Wonders of the World, built by man. The idea for a new Seven Wonders list came from Swiss businessman and former museum curator Bernard Weber, who founded the New7Wonders Foundation. Weber’s idea was to run a worldwide poll to select the New Seven Wonders, while simultaneously raising money to rebuild one of the statues of Buddha that the Taliban destroyed in Afghanistan in 2001. Around 100 million people cast ballots for the New Wonders via the Internet or telephone. There was also plenty of campaigning. In Brazil, for example, bus tickets carried ads imploring riders to vote for the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro. The statue made it into the top seven along with the Taj Mahal in India, the Great Wall of China, the Palace Tombs of Petra in Jordan, the ancient Inca mountain city of Machu Picchu in Peru, the Colosseum in Rome and the Mayan ruins in Chichen Itza in Mexico. The Ancient Seven Wonders of the World were selected by an obscure Greek philosopher, Philon, more than 2,000 years ago. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has criticized the list of New Wonders as unscientific and undemocratic. Many deserving places like Angkor Wat in Cambodia and the Pyramids in Egypt were left off the list. Was that because some organizations did a better job of getting out the vote than others?