Letter to the Editor: UB Condemns destruction of Noh Mul

Sunday, May 19th, 2013

Dear Editor,
This letter is in reference to the destruction of one of the main temples at the Ancient Maya site of Noh Mul, in the Orange Walk District. Students and alumni from the Department of History and Anthropology of the University of Belize are outraged by what has occurred. As a group of young intellectuals preparing to dedicate the rest of our lives to the preservation of our tangible and intangible heritage, this occurrence is simply disheartening and demoralizing. It is already difficult to fulfill our duty to the Belizean society because of the many financial hurdles we face, now to witness the outright disrespect of our heritage. We would go as far as condemning this act as an act of patrimonial genocide.

20 Noh MulAs a community of historians and as citizens of Belize we condemn the act of the construction company. Some suggestion to preventing this type of activity from happening again include.

1. When a license is given out to any company to conduct land clearing or mining, a trained inspector that can identify mounds, must be sent to assess the land in consideration and approve licence to carry out such activities.

2. The government has to provide closer oversight when any Maya and colonial period archaeological related structures, landmarks or artefacts are found. Belize is a place of wonders, and tourism is a big part of our economy.

3. Our government should work fervently, in enforcing our laws and making sure that Belizeans get retribution for the irreparable damage caused to the Maya world. Political affiliation, religious orientation, race, ethnicity, and all other aspects of social status must be set aside so that the law can be upheld. The constitution states clearly that mounds are protected by the government therefore, the protection must be observed.

4. Although the case is a national issue, it is being observed with disbelief by many international news agencies. Therefore, we suggest that measures be set in place to inform all such agencies as well as those which assist with the preservation and promotion of Belize’s heritage that Belize will not tolerate this kind of activity and will seek to mitigate the effects of the destructive acts through continued education.

We are aware that NICH is acting expeditiously with regard to this matter and expect that a complaint will be made to the police so that the judicial system can take its due course.

Let us see a change in our judicial systems, let us depoliticize the process. A fair, and legal process must be followed and in our perspective a fine is not enough, more drastic measures need to be taken when protecting our nation’s heritage, severe punishments for such acts should be implemented and practiced. As a group, we receive this action as the greatest disrespect to all those whom have invested their lives into preserving and recreating heritage and in no way will be satisfied with a simple apology, and are demanding that the law deal with these people with the full extent of its capacity.

Sincerely Yours
Students and Alumni of the Department of History and Anthropology of the University of Belize

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