CAIRO: Egypt’s Minister of Culture has sent an urgent letter to Koïchiro Matsuura, Director General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) to protest an internet-based voting campaign to select the world’s seven wonders that excluded the Great Pyramids of Giza.
Egypt’s Culture Minister, Farouk Hosni dismissed the voting process as “primarily aiming for profit in a statement issued by the Supreme Council of Antiquities.
Hosni said the nominations for the paid electronic voting lacked scientific, artistic or philosophical foundations and questioned the fairness of the voting process by pointing out that it is the brainchild of the owner of a Swiss tourism firm.
Arabic dailies, quoting officials from Unesco’s Arab States office on Thursday said the UN body does not recognize the voting process or its results.
State-owned Al Akhbar Arabic daily said Hosni proposed an international campaign headed by a panel of intellectuals, artists and architects from around the world to compile a list of the world’s remaining wonders based on what he described as “objective, non-commercial views.
The New 7 Wonders Foundation, which is conducting the vote, has said in a statement published on its web site that internet users will no longer be able to vote for the Great Pyramids, the only remaining of the ancient world’s seven wonders; which has now been designated an honorary candidate for the vote.
The web site www.new7wonders.com, created by Swiss-Canadian filmmaker Bernard Weber to choose the seven new wonders of the world through global voting enraged Egyptian officials when the pyramids – the only ancient wonders still standing – were included in the competition.
Internet users can choose seven out of 19 candidate historic sites from around the world including the UK’s Stonehenge, the US’ Statue of Liberty, Australia’s Opera House, and Peru’s Machu Picchu’s city of clouds.
A comparison of internet traffic generated by the new seven wonders website and Egypt’s official archeological site, www.eternalegypt.org , maintained by the Supreme Council of Antiquities, and which offers visitors a virtual tour of Egypt’s ancient cultural Pharaonic, Islamic and Coptic heritage, revealed that the Egyptian site lags considerably in terms of the percent of global internet users who visit the site (0.0035 percent compared to 0.0385 percent).
It does however do much better in terms of traffic rank, based on three months of aggregated historical web traffic data that combines measures of page views and internet users’ reach (49,564 compared to 2,065).
The data was collected by millions of internet users who have installed a toolbar provided by Alexa Internet, a company specializing in analyzing web traffic data.