In an amazing display of American arrogance and self-importance, two U.S. citizens have been caught carving their names into the ancient Roman amphitheatre. The two women are from California, aged 21 and 25. The two reportedly snuck off from their tour group and used a coin to scratch their initials “J” and an “N” into a large piece of ancient stone protected by law. The two were so bold as to take a selfie displaying their handiwork. Their initials were carved about 8 cm in height.
Police quickly found and captured the two woman for vandalism on Saturday. They are now being held and are expected to go before a judge soon. It is not known at this time what penalty they must face. Defacing such property is a huge deal. There are signs in Italian and English strictly warning against doing such a thing.
Just recently a Russian tourist was caught doing the same thing just over three months ago. The 42 year old was found carving a 25 cm letter into the Colosseum. For his actions he received a four-month suspended prison sentence and a €20,000 fine. Despite this, due to his low income he has not paid the fine. Other Westerners have been apprehended for the same crime the same year, including people from Australia, Brazil and Canada.
This act certainly demonstrates a good part of the arrogance Americans have. They clearly have no respect for history. This Colosseum is a prime piece of history. Many theorize that Americans behave this way towards foreign histories because they have none of their own. They’ve lived by the White colonizer mentality, bolstered by American exceptionalism, believing that they are superior to others. Their culture and “right to rule” gives them the right to look down upon other cultures. Even if they are merely historical pieces.
I see little difference between this act and those of ISIS recently destroying ancient statues in Iraq. ISIS’s actions are the product of hate for anyone and anything that is different from them. These two Californian women’s actions are those of First World colonizer’s arrogant ignorance. It stems a from a self-perceived superiority and imperialist self-importance that places no respect or dignity on other cultures. The sad part is these women will probably remain unaware of the seriousness of their vandalism of history.
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US tourists caught carving names into Rome’s Colosseum, The Guardian
Islamic State ‘destroys ancient Iraq statues in Mosul’, BBC