Uluru, a sacred rock to the Aboriginal community, is easily one of Australia’s most recognizable landmarks. It reaches 348 meters above the ground, but the bulk of this rock, which has a circumference of nearly 10 miles, lies underground. Such is its rarity that UNESCO placed Uluru on its World Heritage sites list. Hundreds of thousands of tourists visit this sacred every year to bike around it, take a tour, but most importantly, climb it. For the local Anangu Aboriginal people, Uluru is a place of power. It is many things to the Anangu, including the center of the universe and the home of the Mother of the Earth. For thousands of years, the Anangu have created petroglyphs on Ayers Rock that are now considered national cultural treasures. So when tourists start climbing up this holy mountain and stripping on top as a “tribute to the Indigenous culture,” (The Telegraph 11/1) the Aborigines were not happy. In November of 2018, the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park board stated that the climbing of Uluru would be banned from October 2019 and on. This is important because it shows how tourists in our day and age can be extremely disrespectful knowingly and unknowingly.
I feel this event is impressive, the fact that Australia is finally acknowledging Aboriginal beliefs and religion is significant. I think that this decision was a good idea. “About 250,000 people visit Uluru every year, according to the park’s website. In recent years, the number of visitors wishing to climb the rock has dropped significantly, to less than 20 percent” (NY Times, Nov 1) This shows how, although many people were upset about the climbing law, there was a high number of people that stopped climbing this mountain out of respect.
Recently, two tourists also climbed up the pyramids of Giza and were extremely disrespectful to the Muslim culture. “I say what you have done by climbing on that side of the rock, by climbing on that sensitive site, it’s the equivalent of me abseiling [rappelling] over the Sistine Chapel or climbing over a church,” (NEWSELA 11/12/18)
This and many other events similar show how tourists can be utterly rude. I feel that this matters in our life and society today because of the way the modern mind disregards history and does many things “for the fun of it.”
Was this law the savior for the Aboriginal people? Or the downfall of all income that goes into Uluru?