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PostGreenpeace Publicity Stunt Damages Nazca Lines (Randy Black, USA, 12/16/14 5:47 am)
The radical environmental group Greenpeace marched dozens of its followers miles into a Peruvian historical site, the Nazca Lines, an ancient UNESCO Heritage Site in Peru, to place banners promoting their cause.
At the same time, they caused permanent damage to the site. Peru is pursuing the criminals who quickly fled the country. I listened to the report on National Public Radio tonight and then researched it online when I returned home.
It's one thing to hug the redwoods; it's entirely another thing to purposefully damage a South American nation's federally protected heritage site.
Many believe the Peruvian sites are evidence of earlier alien visits to earth. It's now being said by Peru's government that the damage to the rocks moved by Greenpeace and even the very footprints will last hundreds of thousands of years. For its part, Greenpeace claimed that their banners and trespass were meant to send a message to the UN climate talk delegates from more than 100 nations who are meeting at Lima this month.
It's strange that they make such a herculean effort to permanently damage the very earth they claim to want to protect.
The fact that the tree huggers wrote their message in English, Peru said, "alienated the people to whom the monument belongs." The criminals remain at large.
"You walk there and the footprint is going to last hundreds or thousands of years," Luis Jaime Castillo, a Peruvian deputy culture minister told the BBC. "And the line that they have destroyed is the most visible and most recognized of all."
"The delicate drawings, etched into the desert on Peru's coast between 2,000 and 1,500 years ago, depict phantasmagorical figures such as a spider and a hummingbird--sketches that are now indeed accompanied by footprints and even an imprint of the letter "C" from the word "Greenpeace."
"It's a true slap in the face at everything Peruvians consider sacred," said the country's deputy culture minister, Luis Jaime Castillo, to the Associated Press. "They are absolutely fragile. They are black rocks on a white background. You walk there and the footprint is going to last hundreds or thousands of years. And the line that they have destroyed is the most visible and most recognized of all."
Adding insult to injury, Greenpeace refused to reveal the names of the perps.
Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/12/15/greenpeace-apologizes-wrecking-nazca-lines-peru-prepares-criminal-charges-158298
JE comments: Randy Black included this photograph. At first I thought this was a "Snopesworthy" news item, but the reports are true. It's been a major PR blunder for Greenpeace. That the message was written in English renders the stunt doubly insensitive. For Peruvians it underscores the idea that their nation's ancient treasures are sources of exploitation and amusement for Anglophones from the developed world.
(Enrique Torner, USA
12/17/14 7:37 PM)
It's a real shame that the Nazca lines have been permanently damaged by Greenpeace. I find this absolutely outrageous! For a war to damage archeological sites is bad, but still understandable; but to do that in order to promote their cause is insane and criminal! I hope they are prosecuted to the fullest extent.
I don't know how well WAISers know the Nazca lines, so I thought I would give you the latest research findings, since this site has been a research interest of mine. The latest research has discarded the theory that the lines were landing strips for aliens, who had supposedly made them way before the Nazca existed. Ground surveys have found many Nazca pottery shards in and around the lines, most of them dating to about AD 400 to 650. We also have a set of wooden survey stakes that have been found in and around the lines, also dating to the period AD 400 to 650. Most scholars agree that the wooden stakes that were found were used to develop sight lines. Regarding the reason why the lines were made, there are several theories, but the most accepted one is that the lines were pilgrimage paths. This theory points to individual groups, over time, making their own kinds of lines and disrespecting earlier lines as having already served their purpose. The pottery shards perhaps indicate offerings, though it is unclear to whom or for what purpose. Lines in the Palpa Valley show the Fanged Deity, which could support this theory.
Regarding the Nazca lines themselves, they are huge geoglyphs that were carved into the desert in the Nazca area. They are so large and magnificent that people wonder how they could have been made, for what purpose, and why they can only be seen from the sky. Actually, they can be seen from the top of high mounds that are there. The question of why the lines stand out on the desert floor so clearly from above is fairly simple to answer. There are dark rocks and reddish soil covering the Nazca plains. When those rocks and the topsoil are brushed away, just underneath the surface is lighter, white sand. The topsoil is so thin that it is easily scraped away by foot. The forms of these giant Nazca lines vary greatly. There are geometric shapes, spirals, lines (some of which emanate out of a center point), and a variety of animal and human forms. Some of them extend for miles. The most famous forms are those representing animals: there is a monkey, an orca, and a hummingbird that extends for more than two football fields, to name a few.
I hope this gives you a basic idea, beyond Wikipedia.
JE comments: Very informative. I regret not having time to see the Nazca lines during our trip to Peru several years ago--I think it was in 2008. But we're in Mexico City now, and we will definitely take my sis-in-law Justyna to Teotihuacán. As one of my students said years ago on a Mexico study trip, there's nothing quite like Latin America's "old rocks."