Grafitti on an ancient artifact

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Joined: 04/12/03
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Grafitti on an ancient artifact

Netizen outrage after Chinese tourist defaces Egyptian temple - CNN.com

I find this story outrageous! For many young people, immortality is found in the writing of "I was here" on a park bench, bathroom stall, or even carved into a tree. None of which were good enough for a 15 YO Chinese boy. No, he carved, "'Ding Jinhao was here' in Chinese in the 3,500 year old Luxor Temple."

That in itself is bad enough. But I find his parents' response dismissive and minimizing as to the severity of what he did.

"We want to apologize to the Egyptian people and to people who have paid attention to this case across China," Ding's mother said in a China Daily report.

Ding's parents said they shouldered the responsibility of what their son did, adding he had learned his lesson.

Really? Why is this a lesson to be learned after the fact? Couldn't there have been smaller lessons along the way?

Anyway...my debate question:
What is the appropriate punishment/consequences for this?

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299

IDK. You can't fix stupid, right? No punishment will make him 'get' it. Maybe carving "Ding Jinhao was here" 1000 times in a slab of rock would be an adequate punishment, because he should be punished, but even then I don't think he'll comprehend what he's done.

Danifo's picture
Joined: 09/07/10
Posts: 1377

While I think he should be punished, one really weird thing I found about Egypt was the amount of graffiti. Many of the places there have been attractions for thousands of years so there is ancient greek and roman graffiti, there is graffiti from Napoleon's army etc.

Nothing can undo it. However, China has lots of historical sites. I would be satisfied if he had to do community service there and pick up garbage help clean it.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6560

I think he should be treated as any other of the thousands perhaps millions of teens who vandalise. Almost every public place has some graffiti.

Yes, I think he should be punished with a reasonable fine and community service, but no I do not think his life should be over for a foolish mistake.

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

I think he should be treated as any other of the thousands perhaps millions of teens who vandalise. Almost every public place has some graffiti.

Yes, I think he should be punished with a reasonable fine and community service, but no I do not think his life should be over for a foolish mistake.

Really? Because I don't think the Luxor Temple is in the same ballpark as a bus shelter or train car, and he has permanently disfigured an historical artifact thousands of years old in a place that millions of tourists flock to every year to specifically see. What if he had taken spray paint and went to town on the Mona Lisa? You firmly believe that deserves no more punishment than putting a footprint in fresh cement or scrawling a name inside a bathroom stall?

And while Danifo, I do agree with you about there being 'ancient' graffiti all over historical sites across the world, that graffiti has been there long before those artifacts gained the historical significance they have today. I have been in the Tower of London - in the old prison cells - and seen graffiti carved into the walls of prisoners from the time of Queen Elizabeth I or whatever and that actually adds to the poignancy and history of what you're looking at - a glimpse into the life of an everyday person from that era. I don't think that this boy's lame, present day scrawling of "I was here" in a place that's now essentially a museum qualifies as the same thing.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6560

So what would you do to the boy? Send him to jail? Fine him so much money that he would be trying to pay it the rest of his life? No artifact (IMO) is worth ruining someone's life over. Yes, it was a mistake and he should be punished. But the punishment should not be so severe that it removes any hope of a normal future.

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

So what would you do to the boy? Send him to jail? Fine him so much money that he would be trying to pay it the rest of his life? No artifact (IMO) is worth ruining someone's life over. Yes, it was a mistake and he should be punished. But the punishment should not be so severe that it removes any hope of a normal future.

See post #2.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3312

I think the punishment should be more severe than whatever consequences would come about for putting graffiti on a bus station. Two totally different leagues. Not saying the kid should be destined to live a miserable life...but the two are just not comparable. There should definitely be harsher consequences to defacing something of historical significance, and I think this ranks pretty high up there in that category.

As for a suggested punishment? I have no idea really. But I think i'd be able to tell if it sounded right when someone suggested it.

ftmom's picture
Joined: 09/04/06
Posts: 1538

Who was supposed to be supervising this kid? How did he have enough time alone to carve his name into a statue? I honestly think that that person should also be punished.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3312

"ftmom" wrote:

Who was supposed to be supervising this kid? How did he have enough time alone to carve his name into a statue? I honestly think that that person should also be punished.

I have to say, at 15....i probably would let my kids be unsupervised long enough for this kid to have done what he did.

I mean, unless i knew my child was prone to causing trouble. But I think to be on the same grounds and not exactly the same room/spot/location at that age is not unreasonable.

Rivergallery's picture
Joined: 05/23/03
Posts: 1301

"KimPossible" wrote:

I think the punishment should be more severe than whatever consequences would come about for putting graffiti on a bus station. Two totally different leagues. Not saying the kid should be destined to live a miserable life...but the two are just not comparable. There should definitely be harsher consequences to defacing something of historical significance, and I think this ranks pretty high up there in that category.

As for a suggested punishment? I have no idea really. But I think i'd be able to tell if it sounded right when someone suggested it.

I'm not sure.. Do we want things to carry more weight if done to something of historical significance? Do we want to apply this thought process across the board? Do we want someone who kills the president to get more time than someone who kills a homeless begger? I am not sure.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3312

"Rivergallery" wrote:

I'm not sure.. Do we want things to carry more weight if done to something of historical significance? Do we want to apply this thought process across the board? Do we want someone who kills the president to get more time than someone who kills a homeless begger? I am not sure.

I don't think it should apply to humans. I think it should apply to the defacing of inanimate objects. I'm not nec. worried about a slippery slope here.

Rivergallery's picture
Joined: 05/23/03
Posts: 1301

"KimPossible" wrote:

I don't think it should apply to humans. I think it should apply to the defacing of inanimate objects. I'm not nec. worried about a slippery slope here.

I on the other hand think we already do it with humans.. how about hate crime legislation?

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3312

"Rivergallery" wrote:

I on the other hand think we already do it with humans.. how about hate crime legislation?

Its funny...i was actually going to edit my post and say that we already do treat different crimes against people at different levels.

I just don't think it should apply for the reason of someone being a "historical figure" if that makes any sense.

Rivergallery's picture
Joined: 05/23/03
Posts: 1301

"KimPossible" wrote:

Its funny...i was actually going to edit my post and say that we already do treat different crimes against people at different levels.

I just don't think it should apply for the reason of someone being a "historical figure" if that makes any sense.

Sort of.. lol.. if they are historical aren't they dead?
Anyway it is ok.
I think they really should probably treat it like any other defacement of property. And for me that would be working to replace it, clean it etc. So.. actually they would be "paying" more to fix it. I am sure someone could make it appear as it hadn't happened we have amazing craftsman today. It will never be the "same", but neither would a part bench. I would like him to understand what he ruined, and why it is such an issue.
Maybe he should be made to volunteer as a guide, and work to pay the person to fix it up the best they can.. I do not think anyone else should have to pay for it.

Joined: 05/13/02
Posts: 414

They could go all "Singapore" on him. Do you all remember the story about an American kid who was charged with vandalizing cars in Singapore? He was living over there with his family, was a high school student, and ended up being caned and his family was kicked out of the country.

I do feel that's pretty darn harsh, and don't think they should go that far.. But I think that the fact that this was etched in, not just scribbled on, makes it more serious.

mom3girls's picture
Joined: 01/09/07
Posts: 1535

Graffiti is one of my biggest pet peeves, I cannot imagine kids thinking it is okay to touch others property, much less defacing it. I think the punishment needs to be something that includes working to make the money to fix it at the very least

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4100

"mommydearest" wrote:

I think that the fact that this was etched in, not just scribbled on, makes it more serious.

Same here. It can't simply be cleaned off. He has permanently damaged it and it will never be the same historical artifact it was a few days ago; it will be the repaired & altered version of that historical artifact.

I think he should be forced to do a *lot* of community service cleaning up other people's graffiti & trash over the next several years, well into his adulthood, and he (not his parents!) should have to pay the costs to try to get the temple restored as much as possible. And if there is any evidence that he's been in this kind of trouble before, then his parents should have to pay a hefty fine for not properly supervising him when they *knew* he had done something like this before.