Not being content with dumping government money into our own religious institutions, the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation has decided to dump tax payer’s money into restoring three mosques… in Tanzania. For what reason would we be restoring mosques in Zanzibar, you may ask? Well, the local people can’t afford to do it themselves. They are so poor that they have only been able to do small repairs to their buildings rather than fully overhauling them.
I am on board with anyone who wants to maintain culturally significant sites, religious or not. It broke my heart to see video of the Buddhas of Bamyan being destroyed by the Taliban. The thought of some right-wing hate group actually destroying the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem is abhorrent. The cathedral of Notre Dame is arguably one of the most beautiful buildings of its time. However, I will tell you where my loves of these monuments ends: it ends when the choice is keeping these sites or giving fresh water to needy people.
“A U.S. official who visited Pemba to discuss plans for the project “heard many complaints about the hardships of life in these villages, including the problem of having no access to fresh water,” the proposal said. “But when asked which was a higher priority for the community — access to fresh water or restoration of their historic mosque — the village elders unanimously stated that restoring the mosques was more important.”
So these “elders” decided that they would rather have some ratty old building instead of giving fresh water to its people? That is something I cannot stomach. I would rather see every cultural site in the world destroyed a hundred times over than to know that the money that went to the upkeep of the sites could have fed and watered an entire population of poor people.
I wonder if human beings will ever leave its mentally challenged superstitions behind in order to actually take care of other human beings?