Why the Vandalism?

A couple of weeks ago I was in Buenos Aires city and had some hours to kill before my bus departed. It`s been two years since I have last been in the Capital and it felt a little weird. Almost as if I didn`t belong there. My life in the country side of Argentina is so different and I had difficulty coping with all the people and the constant harassment from people wanting to sell me tickets to Tango shows and tours. Maybe it was my own fault because I looked and dressed like a tourist and had my small camera close by to capture an interesting moment – but still. I didn`t like it.

As I was walking through Calle Florida, one of the busiest streets in the city centre, I got caught in the rain and decided to go to one of the churches close by. It is a beautiful church and I wanted to spend some quiet time there. I enjoy the tranquillity and I knew I could hide there from the craziness in the city.

As I crossed the street I stopped dead in my tracks. What I saw in front of me was not real. A young man was busy cleaning the wooden doors of the church. Some political fanatics have splashed words in red paint all over the beautifully hand crafted  doors that have graced the church for hundreds of years. The church had been subjected to vandalism.

Buenos Aires Vandalism

I was immediately angry. You see people in Argentina have so much freedom and when they do not agree with the government they do stupid things like this to make a point. I also found it quite disturbing because this happened a week before Easter.

To make things worse they wrote profanities and slogans on the entrance door as well. My heart broke and I could just imagine how this man felt who was trying to clean the mess.

Don`t get me wrong, I believe in freedom of speech, but this is not acceptable.

What would your reaction have been?

Where: Buenos Aires,Argentina

When: 26 March 2012

I have been fortunate to have done quite a bit of travelling over the last 10 years. By heart I am an adventurer and I love exploring new places, cultures and food. Travelling can become stressful and expensive. Over the years I have learnt to travel as cost effective as possible, simply by travelling more clever. Nelmitravel.com is a Adventure and Budget Travel site where I review Airlines, Accommodation, Transport, Restaurants and give helpful travel information.

25 Comments

  1. Just as angry and frustrated as yours, Nelieta! I am a staunch supporter of free speech and expression, but when it is done at the expense of the freedom and pursuit of happiness for others, then it is a crime. If these nay-sayers have an ax to grind, let them hold peaceful protests with their slogans on placards and march in the streets.
    Thank you for this post, my friend, and may your Easter be blessed!

  2. I would have been very angry too Nelieta! That is awful…especially to do at a church, a house of God. When I was visiting our local school’s playground with my kids a few weeks ago there were two men cleaning the windows and doors to the school. Young men in their twenties were caught vandalizing it..They had written awful obscenities and spray painted the anarchy symbol over almost every window on the first floor of the school. My daughter, who can read, read exactly what they had written. I was so angry. People really need to learn to express themselves more effectively and less irrationally and hatefully.

    At a school is bad…at a church is even worse. I don’t blame you for your angry reaction. I would have felt that way too.

    1. Hi Jessica, thank you very much for sharing your experience and view. What a sad day it must have been for you and your daughter. So sorry that she had to see something like that! I am happy they caught the culprits, They haven`t caught the people who had done this. That makes me even more angry to be honest.

  3. I pray. I look for that person inside me who would do something, or even fantasize about doing something, remotely comparable and strive to understand and forgive her. i might reach out to the man trying to clean up the mess and offer to help or get him lunch. it seems like a crazy world out there sometimes. thank you for sharing this thought-provoking story, nelieta. xoxox

    1. Hi Linda, thank you very much for your honest comment. Your view and how you see it made me think and think again. I think what I am taking from your comment is the following: It is OK to be angry but we also need to forgive. Thank you for that! xxx

  4. Hello Nelieta.
    I am saddened by this sight. Regardless of anyone’s religious beliefs, you have to respect their houses of worship. This is an act of vengeful ignorance by youngsters who have obviously lost their way in life. I feel for the man who has to clean up this filth. Sadly, this is the times we are living in and it will only get worse. Poignant post. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Andy, thank you for your comment and view on this topic. I felt so sorry for this man and I overheard a conversation with another woman (who was just as shocked as me). What struck me was how upbeat he sounded and how meticulous he was when he was cleaning the door. He took pride in it. I am not sure I would have handled it in the same way. Anger would have consumed me. You are right about things getting worse. We need to pray and hold on to our faith my friend!

  5. Oh Nelieta, this is so disappointing. I also believe in freedom of speech. But I firmly believe in responsibly expressing one’s thoughts, which should be done in a tactful, respectful way. This is definitely not acceptable for it shows so much disrespect and is very offensive.

    Thank you so much for sharing this, Nelieta. God bless you. 🙂

    1. Hi Irenen, thank you for commenting and sharing your view. We should also be held accountable for our actions. This was very disrespectful and offensive indeed. It is not something that I ever want to see again.

      Hope you had a great Easter and God bless Irene!

  6. It’s extremely sad, Nelieta. I’m not sure what drives someone to do such a thing – but then anger is such a powerful emotion. I can see the love that this young man is putting in to restoring the door. Thank you for sharing.
    I love the new look and feel of your blog. I hope you’re enjoying it too!

    1. Hi Corinne, thank you for sharing your view. Like you say, anger is such a deep-rooted emotion and people who lash out like this cannot control it. Who knows what they are thinking. Maybe one day when they are older they will regret what they had done and beg for forgiveness.

      Glad you like my new blog and look. I should have made the change ages ago but it seemed daunting and I wasn`t up for it. Now I wish I had done it sooner 🙂

  7. Seeing that would have made me very sad. It’s hard to understand why people do the things they do. Often they feel so connected to their cause that they feel any action is justified. But defacing a church entrance is very disrespectful. I don’t care what the cause, you don’t do that. I like Linda’s comment. Sometimes when we are upset or disappointed, it always helps to pray and do something nice to counteract the bad feelings. I pray your Easter is a blessed one Nelieta.

    http://lyricfire.typepad.com/lyric-fire/2012/04/lyric-fire-napowrimo-2012-day-eight-of-30-poems-in-30-days-manna-moonbeams.html

    1. Hi Tameka, thank you for sharing your view. I took note of Linda`s comment and what she said really made me think. I should not hang on to the anger but also try to understand (even if it is very difficult) but also forgive.

      Thank you Tameka, I had a great Easter, I pray your Easter was a blessed one!

  8. More then angry I feel sadness…. How anyone could be so lost in their life that they feel the need to act out hurting others along the way…. whether it’s your home front door.. a store front..or a church…. it’s just really sad…. As always…XOXOXOXO

    1. Hi Bonnie, when I saw it I felt like crawling into a hole and cry. I was so shocked, sad and angry. It is my opinion that some people really don`t care how they hurt other people. It is so sad and I am still angry. It will take me some time to get over this. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    1. Hi David, thank you for sharing your view. Actually the guy that was cleaning took so much pride in his work and he sounded calm when he was speaking to other people. Maybe he worked through his anger, I am not sure. But this is a really sad situation and to be honest I don`t think this will be the last time.

      Happy Easter David!

  9. I would have reacted the same way. Freedom should not be used as an excuse to be rude or to disrespect other people, especially other people’s faith when that faith isn’t doing anything to harm you. This could remind us though, that anger usually blinds people towards rational thinking. It also blinds us from knowing what really matters,like kindness and mercy. Without such things, even what we deem as justice becomes mere violence.

  10. It’s ironic how most people would fight tooth and nail for freedom of speech (or any kind of freedom, that is) and yet, bash others when the other opinion does not go with theirs. I would have reacted the same way. I might even have cried as things like these are normally done by people who refuse to see reason and that makes me feel so helpless.

  11. It’s ironic how people can fight tooth and nail for freedom of speech (or any kind of freedom, that is) and yet bash others when their opinions differ. I would have reacted the same way. I might even have cried as things like these are normally done by people who refuse to see or hear reason. And that makes me feel so helpless.

  12. It is really sad to see some people are doing this. Does not make sense at all. There are other ways of expressing plights that will not affect innocent people. This has to be stopped as early as possible. The community should join hands and take action so that it will not happen again. Argentina is one of the countries I want to visit in the near future because I know it is such a beautiful place to discover.

    1. Hi Freddie, thank you very much for stopping by and commenting. Sadly in Argentina people who do not agree with the current government do things like this. They close roads,destroy schools and paint on church doors. This is such a beautiful country but bad elements in the society ruin many things for a lot of people. It is very difficult to `eliminate` this element because opposition parties sometimes pay people to do things like this.I am sure you will enjoy Argentina. Like I say, it is a beautiful country to visit!

Thank you for visiting. Have a fabulous day!

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