Don’t touch means don’t touch!

I read in the newspaper today (Dagens Nyheter) about a Finnish tourist that has damaged one of the Moai-statues at Easter Island. He has reportedly cut of a piece of an ear on one of the statues. The normal punishment for this is a fine for ca 100000 skr (ca 11000€) or a possible jail-time for up to 7 years. The mayor Edmunds Paoa wants to take the punishment a step further. He wants to apply the biblical  law an eye for an eye, an ear for an ear; in other words he wants a piece of Finnish ear.

It is good that Cultural Heritage crimes are made visible and taken seriously, it is also important that there are consequences on this kind of misbehaviour. Though I feel the ear thing might be a bit harsh. A problem with statements like the mayors is that the statement might be considered a fun and crazy newsflash and therefore be the news rather than the crime at hand.

Magnus Reuterdahl


About Magnus Reuterdahl

I am an archaeologist/Osteologist from Sweden. My main intrest lays in north Euorpean archaeology in, preferbly the prehistory of the late iron age and the neolithic periods. I've also got a strong intrest for Chinese archaeology, especially the neolithc Yangshao culture. I also write about cultural heritage and cultural history. Mitt namn är Magnus Reuterdahl, jag är arkeolog och osteolog och arbetar företrädesvis i Sverige även om jag gjort ett par vändor till Kina. På den här bloggen skriver jag om mitt yrke, om fornlämningar, kulturarv och kulturhistoria m m. View all posts by Magnus Reuterdahl

5 responses to “Don’t touch means don’t touch!

  • Natiivi

    There were more column meters published on the death of Princess Diana than there were on the invasion at Normandy. Soon there will be more column meters on this earlobe of the moai statute (1 out of 400-1000, the hungry media does not even know the number) than there are columns on the massive Buddha statutes annihilated by the Taleban regime.

    This countryman of mine has been lynched high. Ear off. 7 years in a South American prison. After this publicity, even a day in a South American jail would kill him.

    And as I read the actual story behind the News from Congoo to Australia, it seems to me that he’s not proven to break it by purpose.

    A high-octan, adrenaline addict adventurer climbs on a top of a high and sacred monument. Bad enough. The Finn brokes the ear of this fragile lava type of stone. Worse enough. My countryman tries to hide it and runs away. Worst enough. (OK, Oll Korrect, he confessed what happened later on.) But this does not prove him a thief though the whole globe would shout and shoot so!

    It was the Easter week at the Easter Island. The same week the Finnish leaders of the Botnia pulp factory at the border river between Uruguay and Argentine were on trial in a South American court for “Planned damage”. After Finnish flags had been burnt in the streets of Argentine for 3 years for this biggest investment ever to the poor country of Uruguay. We have a classical scape goat and red herring here, it appears to me. Not every tattood boxer is suffering from Dementia pugilistica. In Finland we enjoy extreme sports, but the aim was not to vandalize it appears to me. So now we know we should prefer Tibet over the highest 22-meter Moai for climbing. That I want to apologize.

    An outrageous mob wanting to lynch a man is an old scene, only the internet phenomenon is new. A raging mob behaves irrationally when it goes out to lynch. In AOL there are already over 3200 News comments on this (versus 5500 on the US presidential election campaign), 314000 votes, 52% would sentence him to de facto death in South American jail, without knowing whether it was an alleged theft or an accident from climbing. If it bleads, it leads.

    Few FACTS about Finland
    Finland has been the least corrupt country in the world in the transparency international throughout the 3rd millennium. In the OECD’s international assessment of student performance, PISA, Finland has consistently been among the highest scorers worldwide; in 2003, Finnish 15-year-olds came first in reading literacy, science, and mathematics; and second in problem solving, worldwide. The World Economic Forum ranks Finland’s tertiary education #1 in the world. In 1906, Finland became the first European nation (and one of the first in the world) to grant women the right to vote and run for parliament. Finland’s most famous company is Nokia, the world’s largest producer of mobile phones. Just 30 years ago, Nokia company was selling mainly tiers and rubber boots.The most famous Finnish person alive today is Linus Torvalds, who originated (and still maintains) Linux, the shareware free computer operating system. It has been embraced especially in the developing countries, instead of the commercial Microsoft Windows.

    Pauli Ojala
    PS. Another viewpoint on the hang-up party:

  • Magnus Reuterdahl

    Hallo Pauli

    Sorry for the delay in me answering back.

    It was not my intention to step on any Finnish toes. I like Finland but I don’t like lack of consideration against ancient remains no matter who’s doing it. Though he may have done the damage unintentionally he couldn’t possibly have missed out on what he was climbing on.

    On the other hand I’m not much for lynchings.

    Magnus Reuterdahl

  • A Finn

    Yet another viewspoint on Finland:

    This could explains the behaviour.


  • Kosmo

    I think I’d rather give up chunk of my ear than spend seven years in jail. The involved party may very well feel the same.

  • Magnus Reuterdahl

    Choosing between freedom or an complete ear, I’d probably mutilate meself as well.

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