I remember when I was a little girl studying 4th grade social studies in Pakistan, and we got to learn about the Seven Wonders of the World. Even though The Hanging Gardens of Babylon no longer existed, imagining they did was still alluring to a 10 year old. I feel ever so inclined to nominate my own idea of the seven wonders of this world, but will do so further down on this post.
The seven wonders once chosen by Philon of Byzantium more than 2000 years ago were indeed fascinating architectural accomplishments however very Eurocentric or perhaps Mediterranean.
Among the seven wonders only one remains still today; The Pyramids of Giza, Egypt. The other six; The Lighthouse at Alexandria, The Temple of Artemis, The Statue of Zeus, The Colossus of Rhodes, The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus and The Hanging Gardens of Babylon all remain in posterity only through our imagination.
Founder of The new 7 wonders Bernard Weber felt that it was high time to name seven new wonders of the world and after a process of nomination, 21 candidates were presented. Anyone can vote.
The Muslim world is finally represented in an area of positivism with candidates of the likes of Al Hambra in Spain, Haga Sophia in Turkey, The Taj Mahal in India and Timbuktu in Mali. Then there are of course other more ancient constructions nominated that lie in Muslim countries but were built in a pre-Islamic era such as Petra in Jordan and The Pyramids of Egypt.
A wonder that makes you wonder is the nomination of The Statue of Liberty. Whatever it once meant in America has eroded today. I say we move it to Cuba! Wouldn't G W B love that!
Anyway, I thought I'd present the seven wonders of my world:
1. The rickshaws in Pakistan: tiny, three wheeled yet carries up to a total of 4 grown ups, still maintains a high speed and manages to re-arrange your entire organ content, ending up with your heart literally in your throat, for a mere price of 15 rupees.
2. The taxi cars of Cairo: some have doors, some don't. Some have windows, some don't. And should they have windows, they don't have the device needed to wind it down. But they all come equipped with your own state of the art driver who manages to make even atheists call to God for help once in their life.
3. The donkeys of Petra: I lay my life in their hands and surprisingly I survived. Taking a ride on a donkey up a steep, narrow mountain is something of a death wish, but these donkeys knew exactly where to go without needing their master show them. Props to the donkeys! Which is more than I can say for Jordanian cab drivers...
4. PIA (Pakistan International Airlines): or Perhaps I'll Arrive... I once took a flight from Lahore to Islamabad that later was bound for London but after landing in Islamabad, picking up a few passangers, it went back to Lahore again. Why? They said they had to fill the tank...need I say more?
5. The Pakistani People: Whenever the son or daughter gets married and it's time to "move out", they always amazingly enough manage to find the only available apartment or house in that city at that time, directly placed in front of their own. Sometimes it's so close that you can actually look into each others living rooms and wave!
6. Microsoft Word: Can you believe that the word "Kaaba" (I also tried Kaba) doesn't exist in its "dictionary". The most famous and holy building for Muslims. Instead I got the suggestion of "Kaibab" and "Kabala". However when I try writing the Jewish words "Kibbutz" and "Bar Mitzvah", there is no problem whatsoever. I am happy for the Jews, don't get me wrong. It's great to be represented with words that are of significance to your faith or culture. Still, it sure makes you wonder. Microsoft... Get a grip.
As for the seventh wonder, I invite my readers to come up with suggestions... now be fair...