The problem about World Heritage sites is that some of them, maybe many of them, are in places in the world that are not qualified to look after them. I remember back during the failed coup in Egypt a few years back, with all the rioting, and there was genuine fear that some of the museums would be burgled or vandalized. While I would not advocate for Egyptian historical treasures being moved out of Egypt, I was worried about their safety. Was Egypt, I feared at the time, too politically unstable to safeguard such precious artifacts, things of such intrinsic value to all of humanity? And we won’t even get started on all the irreplaceable items destroyed or stolen from the museums in Iraq.
Squatters living in the recently rediscovered lost city of Caral in Peru, the oldest city in the Americas, have tried to murder archaeologists and are using earth-moving equipment to destroy tombs. Is it wrong in me to hope that the mummies in those tombs come back to life to exact revenge? At the least it would make for a great set-up for a movie. All joking aside, though, that’s risking some serious bad juju, desecrating ancient graves like that. Yikes.