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BAHAI graffiti on kilometer stones

#1
Hello,

I have just arrived back from Santiago this morning. I had a wonderful - although painful - time on the camino. :lol:

I just transfered my photos to my laptop, and sorting through them I grew very angry again: :evil:

During the camino me and my co-pilgrims noticed that a lot of kilometer marker stones in Galicia had been vandalized by graffiti: someone had painted the word "BAHAI" or "BAHAI.org" on them.

In the evenings in the albuerges this led to quite a few heated discussions, someone had found out that it is the name of a non-christian religious group. Well, I don't know anything about them or if it really was a member of this group but whoever did these graffitis didn't do this organization a favour....

An old woman in a village told us that they appeared between December and February.

I have attached an example.

Still angry, Kerstin (Dnam Christianam)
 

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#2
I'm sure we all condemn such vandalism - and many of the waymark stones on many of the routes are vandalised in some way. Simlarly there are those who disrespect the routes by throwing litter and trash all over the place.

However I'd make aplea that we don't get into any controversy about the authorship of this particular graffiti - http://www.bahai.org appears to be the website of the Bahai faith which is clearly not Islamic.

No doubt the Amigos or local authorites who placed the waymarks will catch up with renewing them in due course.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#3
JohnnieWalker said:
I'd make aplea that we don't get into any controversy about the authorship of this particular graffiti
I agree. When I walked the Camino in December, the 'Bahai' graffiti had been freshly done. I too found it irritating, but my thoughts turned to the poor (and perhaps damaged) individual who found it necessary to spoil the environment in that way. I did not imagine for a moment that it was the expression of a group. Followers of the Bahai faith are respectable and peaceful people and would not be in sympathy with an individual who spoiled the environment in this way. Neither - in all probability - is that individual anything to do with them!

Gareth
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
#4
Congratulations Kerstin! Where did you start from - Sarria or Triacastela? Tell us a bit about the weather and about your painful journey.
Graffiti is a huge problem on the camino. A few years ago some wags near Burgos painted yellow arrows pointing in the wrong directions which had peregrinos clambering over the railway lines! This picture taken of me and my other half is at the 100km to go stele - covered in graffiti.
 

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#5
Hi sillydoll,

yes, graffitti and thrown-away bottles etc. aren't really the way to do the camino.

Does anyone know what these light-blue arrows mean?





During the first nights we had minus degrees - a campino told us the max. was minus 12 degrees Celsius - the coldest night this winter in Galicia. The first days were really sunny, sometimes foggy. at 2 pm we reached 20 degrees! Then there were clouded days with a bit of rain and sun, 10-15 degrees: perfect to walk. The last day into Santiago was after a very stormy night (all along the coast there were floods and damages), we walked in heavy rain, soaked wet and sometimes a strong wind.

The Camino was quite painful because of problems with my feet and on the very first day I hit my left knee badly. The Centro Medical in Mellide was really helpful and patched me up. Plus I got tons of strong painkillers from several pilgrims - I must have been an awfully pitiable sight, limping along sooo slowly. :oops:

But compared with some other pilgrims I was still really lucky, I saw people with holes in their feet, bloody feet, and soebody with a cracked knee-capsule (if I understood it right). Still walking and determined to reach Santiago. It made me feel quite humble - they walked hundreds of km like this, not only a small part of the camino like me.

This short part of the camino only wetted my appetite, I really only wanted to do this small part to see if I can do it at all...
 

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lckgj

Active Member
#6
Welcome back Kerstin!
Sorry to hear you had some difficult weather conditions and some aches and pains- both an inevitable part of the camino experience! Its always interesting to get 'fresh' news of how things are on the camino.
Sounds like you have got the camino bug though - time to start planning your next trip!
Laura
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
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#7
I'm so sorry you had these problems with your knee and your feet - and the bad weather. Perhaps next time you can get time off in May/June or September/October.
I don't recall seeing those arrows - don't know what they are - perhaps someone else having fun, trying to send all the peregrinos back where they came from!
Kerstin what else do you think you could have done to prepare your feet - or what would you do differently next time? I always think returning pilgrims have so much to share, especially when everything is still fresh in their minds. After a few months the pain subsides and all we remember are the good things - then we are not really much good to anybody!
I hope you have recovered now.
Hugs,
 
#8
Just to return to the original problem of the BAHAI graffiti.

This is a two-part post as the system will only allow me to upload 3 attached phots.


Sil spoke of general graffiti on the camino, but the person who did this was not that sort of person, basically a kid with a pen. He systematically put his graffiti where no-one else had put theirs, even on the most lovely and unspiolt "mileposts" of the camino as here









BAHAI was also in the middle of yellow arrows, and as Kerstin said, on the kilometre-posts, but not on the ones already defaced.

Second part to come ............. with the culprit !

Mike
 

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#9
Afraid the chap got a bit cocky, and left his details in the visitors' books along the way.

He is a 56 year-old, from Metz in France, named Jean-Marc Tesson. I even have his National ID number that he left in the book in Arzua. I will not post it here, but if any official organisation wants it - pilgrim authorities, even police - I shall be happy to help.

Anyway, the proof












When I got to the pilgrim office on 30 December, only a couple of days after he would have arrived, I'm afraid they did not seem too interested. "Just one of those things" seemed to be the attitude. "Don't worry."

Somehow, I accept the kids with a pen - they are just idiots - far more than a mature 56 year-old adult systematically defacing the camino to advertise his particular faith.

Anyway, now that's off my chest :evil: , welcome back :D !

Mike

PS the blue arrows are the start of marking the return path for those going back on foot
 

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#10
Hi

Its sad, that someone wants to add his mark to the camino. I would say, let us in the spirit of the camino, forgive him.

Maybe on my next camino, i will take a small pot of yellow paint to paint some arrows, just my 2 bits

Regards
Bharat
 
Camino(s) past & future
June 2008 Camino Frances with Daughter, 2014 Camino Frances with Son
#13
The light blue arrows with the circular tails are markings for the return route pilgrims walking backwards. We learned this after getting to Santiago. Seems they were started not too long ago and only cover the first few days of the return.
We may see more as time goes on.

Rambler
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#14
I photographed dozens of Bahai defacement. I saw, but did not photograph, Bahai defacement on crosses and churches. I am for free speech and advertising, but I doubt the Bahai would want their religious items defaced.

I suggest pilgrims write Bahai and complain. They need to stop their followers from defacing the Camino.

You could start here:

How to contact us
Sally Weeks is the editor of the Bahá’í World News Service, Kerii Tjitendero the assistant editor, and Brad Pokorny a contributing editor. Douglas Moore is director of the Office of Public Information and executive editor of the news service.

Bahá'í World News Service
P.O. Box 155
31001 Haifa
Israel

Phone: 972 (4) 835 8394 (from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. GMT+2, Sunday through Thursday)
Fax: 972 (4) 831 3312

E-mail: news@bahai.org
 
#15
As a Baha'i, I am greatly distressed by this vandalism by someone who claims membership in my faith. Baha'u'llah, like the other great religious Founders, taught the golden rule - that we should not do unto others that which we would not have them do unto us. If fact, Baha'u'llah went so far as to say that we should not even wish for others that which we would not wish for ourselves.

Many of those who posted here are very forgiving. From my perspective, a fitting requirement that a Baha'i council might impose on this individual would be to cover all costs of repair and then spend a period of time serving the pilgrims along the pilgrimage route.
 

Minkey

Active Member
#16
WPC09,

Thank you. I think your idea is a marvellous one. I, for some reason, quite enjoy the grafitti on the 100km marker, but that'd be about all in my book. I wonder if that's hypocritical? Hmm...

Anyway. The other notable form of vandalism that I noticed was the removal of distance markers between Santiago and Finisterre. Despite the fact I hated knowing that I was 79,004 metres from Finisterre and at times closing my eyes when I walked past them, I still don't think it's right to nick em!
 
#17
I agree. Annoying and Selfish. Whoever did it should go all the way back and do some cleaning. But I reckon he/she needs clean his/her head first.
 
#18
Wow. :shock: I know this man you speak of. I was curious about him and did an on line search and found this. I haven’t seen him since 1992 when I finally pushed him out of my life. Regardless of his intentions, someone put it well when they posted “It clearly was not the act of a balanced or rational person.” My past with him bears witness to this.

I have no doubt this is of great embarassment to the local Bahais (and all Bahai's who know of it). It would be justice for him to pay and/or work to make repairations for his individual and non-sanctioned actions. Regardless, I hope someone will scrub it off with or without his aid.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#19
Alaskan Woman said:
Regardless, I hope someone will scrub it off with or without his aid.
All the Bahai grafitti he did last December is still prominently there, all the way along the Camino, but don't feel too bad about this one individual. Since his little act of long-distance defacement, over hundreds of kilometres, the standards have generally dropped on the Camino. As the commercial advertising has flourished all the way along, with albergues competing with each other, stapling signs to trees and sellotaping posters to official Camino signage, so has the grafitti increased and the amount of litter is now disgraceful.

That's the way it works: commercialism and socially irresponsible behaviour both thrive on alienation, and they feed off each other. Shame, but the change is happening fast.

Gareth
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
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#20
Have things changed?
This excerpt from The Pilgrimage Road to Santiago Gitlitz and Davidson

"In medieval times the Compostela tourist industry pitched its wares in Lavacolla. Documents tell us that just like today's merchants, 12thc Composteleans posted advertisements, in a variety of languages, touting the virtues and prices of their inns, restaurants and taverns. Advance men from the hospices accosted weary,excited pilgrims with tales of how the scarcity of lodgings in the city required them to make decisions about, and payment for, lodgings on the spot."
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#21
sillydoll said:
Have things changed?
... 12thc Composteleans posted advertisements, in a variety of languages, touting the virtues and prices of their inns, restaurants and taverns.
Nope, you don't convince me with that kind of reference, sorry! You're talking about several centuries before Gutenberg there: so a hand-written notice, posted outside the establishment itself, yes?

The comparison I'm making is not with the 12th century, it is with last year. Badly designed desktop-published advertising, on laminated A4 sheets stapled and sellotaped to waymarkers, signs, walls and trees along the Camino; that's not what we had last year, but it's what we have this year. That's what I'm reporting as a difference. We also have an endless stream of litter from Roncesvalles to Monte Gozo, which we didn't have last year. That's another thing that is worth noticing. That was the point I was making, Sil.

Maybe other people don't think it's worthwhile noticing the matter, or simply not interesting. OK,and in that case, sorry I'm in a minority: but you'll be fighting your way through the rubbish next year if the matter is not addressed! In the last breakfast I had - in a bar in Lavacolla before getting the plane from Santiago on Wednesday - three local people who had just been for a morning walk on the Camino were remarking on the amount of rubbish they had PICKED UP from us pilgrims who had DROPPED it, and I felt a little ashamed, overhearing this. But it accorded with everything I had seen all the way from Roncesvalles. I too spent some time picking up cans, bottles, plastic packets (sometimes just a few metres away from a litter bin!) I also know Rebekah and her partner Paddy, in Moratinos, go out regularly on rubbish patrols.

This is a real issue and it is not something to dismiss by saying "was it ever thus".... The comparisons between our present day pilgrimage and the medieval period are always fun, and very interesting in another context but let's not duck the issues here: the quality of the Camino experience will be reduced if we don't pay attention to real issues that we can do something about. I'm saying quite simply that there is an observable correlation between the growth of fly-posting and general littering along the Camino and I believe these two things are connected.

Gareth
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#22
There are trash barrels along the trail from about Arzua to Monte do Gozo. I could not tell if it made a difference in the litter. Pilgrims may have been so used to tossing rubbish aside by Arzua that they did not pay attention to the barrels.

HOWEVER, if there were trash bins regularly along the way, I think most pilgrims would use them. Alert pilgrims use the private trash cans at homes and businesses, which probably aggravates that constituency. I became convinced that all those 2 liter water bottles were from bicyclists, since I never saw a walker buy a bottle that large!The cyclists need to accept the responsibility for taking their empty bottles to the next disposal site instead of tossing them to the side as they whiz along.

If 115,000 pilgrims are averaging 25 days on the pilgrimage, and each spends 30 Euro a day, then nearly 9 million Euro are being contributed to the local economy by pilgrims. I suspect the actual contribution is much larger considering the day trippers, airline and train fares, souvenirs, etc. Conventional economic models would predict that the final effect is 2.5 to 4 times the original amount spent as the income works its way through the system. The local governments should be able to find a way to install a trash barrel each 5 km on that kind of revenue. If they added plastic bag dispensers as the U.S. Park Service has done, pilgrims could take one and fill it with discarded trash (when the mood and energy allowed them to), knowing that there would soon be a barrel waiting for the filled bag.

Voila! A cleaner Camino.
 
#23
Well,I dont think adding more bins would help. i have seen pilgrims both spanish and non spanish throw stuff around the bins and less into it and along the way. Maybe a bit of education would help as well.

cheers
Bharat

falcon269 said:
There are trash barrels along the trail from about Arzua to Monte do Gozo. I could not tell if it made a difference in the litter. Pilgrims may have been so used to tossing rubbish aside by Arzua that they did not pay attention to the barrels.

HOWEVER, if there were trash bins regularly along the way, I think most pilgrims would use them. Alert pilgrims use the private trash cans at homes and businesses, which probably aggravates that constituency. I became convinced that all those 2 liter water bottles were from bicyclists, since I never saw a walker buy a bottle that large!The cyclists need to accept the responsibility for taking their empty bottles to the next disposal site instead of tossing them to the side as they whiz along.

If 115,000 pilgrims are averaging 25 days on the pilgrimage, and each spends 30 Euro a day, then nearly 9 million Euro are being contributed to the local economy by pilgrims. I suspect the actual contribution is much larger considering the day trippers, airline and train fares, souvenirs, etc. Conventional economic models would predict that the final effect is 2.5 to 4 times the original amount spent as the income works its way through the system. The local governments should be able to find a way to install a trash barrel each 5 km on that kind of revenue. If they added plastic bag dispensers as the U.S. Park Service has done, pilgrims could take one and fill it with discarded trash (when the mood and energy allowed them to), knowing that there would soon be a barrel waiting for the filled bag.

Voila! A cleaner Camino.
Well,I dont think adding more bins would help. i have seen pilgrims both spanish and non spanish throw stuff around the bins and less into it. Maybe a bit of education would help as well.

cheers
 
#24
Like other bahais who have posted before I was deeply distressed and saddened to learn about this act of vandalism in El Camino. Such unjustifiable behaviour is not only completely against the teachings of the Bahai Faith but also extremely rude towards the ones trekking along El Camino, trying to enjoy this very special experience.

As a member from the Spanish bahai community I can also say that ever since we learned from this situation we’ve felt somehow responsible to take action and erase these marks as soon as possible. Thanks to the photographs and comments you have posted we can have an idea of where to find them (along with a few indications from the "doer" himself), and we would be much thankful if anyone who has more information about their location would agree to share it with us (by posting here or via private email), so we can arrange it to have them erased from El Camino.

Many thanks to those who have informed about this situation and for the tolerant and forgiving attitude that you have chosen to follow in this very annoying matter, my respect and apologies to each one of you!

Carolina.
 

dco

New Member
#25
Dear Friends –

As a member of the Bahá’í Faith I ask your forgiveness to this desecration by a member of my religion. Who ever did this, makes me ashamed to be a Bahá’í. I pray you good people will understand that who did this is severely misguided, wrong and acted in a disrespectful manner. I came across this site, which so clearly demonstrates acts of love and pilgrimage, and is something I long to do along with all of you someday. I pray that one day, I will be allowed to travel this route and do my very best clean up this act of desecration of something historical, sacred, holy and deeply meaningful to many people.

In the name of my fellow Bahá’í brethren I am deeply ashamed and sorry.

All my very best – Daniel from Sacramento
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
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#26
Daniel - that is a great idea!
The South African Confraternity of St James is on a quest to help pick up little on the camino - we issue little green litter bags to every new member and in May two members will travel along the camino frances handing out litter bags at albergues.
Perhaps you could appeal to Bahains everywhere to take a bottle of paint remover and a scourer with them if they walk the camino and start scrubbing out the Bahai graffiti along the way?
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#27
I sent several emails to Baha'i last year about the graffiti, all of which were ignored. It is my guess that the organization does not wish to accept responsibility for the acts of one of its members. Perhaps all publicity is good as long as the name is spelled right.

I have not been successful in finding a solvent for magic marker. Paint remover, alcohol, and acetone do not work. Has anyone tried the more exotic and toxic solvents like carbontetrachloride? Maybe the real issue is whether it is worth the effort, physical and psychic, to combat vandalism, and we do have to settle for living in an imperfect world.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Nearly every year since 2006, often walking more than one route. 2018 will be Camino #14.
#29
Sil asks if things have changed?
I can only comment that I have seen LOTS of ANCIENT graffiti in Pompei, Rome, and other ancient sites. Bare space calls to people with something to say. Unfortunately, they don't think about how their "art" ruins the ambiance for others. That is one of the small problems with humans, heh? Their selfishness?

We can only forgive them and try to help clean up the mess.

I, for one, sincerely appreciate the apologies from those members of the Bahai community.
Thank you. We know you are not responsible for the actions of this obviously disturbed person.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#30
Anniesantiago said:
I can only comment that I have seen LOTS of ANCIENT graffiti in Pompei, Rome, and other ancient sites. Bare space calls to people with something to say. Unfortunately, they don't think about how their "art" ruins the ambiance for others.
Quite. I was one of the pilgrims who was following in the snow, very closely behind Mr "Bahai" back in December 2007 when his graffiti was less than a day old (see earlier posts on this thread.)

I'm now living in Rome - a city largely destroyed by graffiti, particularly for those people living in the poorer suburbs. But there is a range of graffiti here: if you go into the ancient catacombs you will see graffiti that is two thousand years old and it is valuable as a record of life in those times. Whether posterity will have a similar attitude to the artless scrawlings of the super-egos who spray-paint themselves all over this city, I somehow do not think so.

In an industrial society in which people are often alienated and anonymous, it is not surprising that they try to make their mark on the cityscape or landscape; and that is where we, as pilgrims, can offer some different vision. We have a contrasting approach to the landscape. If you make the mark of your ego upon it you have missed the point. We acknowledge our small place in this landscape and we stop from time to time, looking at the camino, to marvel at the thousands of anonymous people who have passed by before us. In our anonymity we rejoice: for we are a community and we do not need to make our individual mark. Our spirits seek the stars and we have no desire to make any mark on the Camino: for it simply points the Way and it is not the goal.

Gareth
 

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Janeh

Active Member
#31
re: the blue arrow:
the backward blue arrow is mainly from Sarria and it is the arrow for showing pilgrims the way back who are returning from Santiago. At first I thought it was grafitti too until I asked a villager when I saw one that was painted in a 'sensible' spot and didnt look like grafitti. he told me it was for those returning. cheers, Jane
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#32
The blue spiral arrow marking the reverse route can be found along the Via Tolosana at least as far as Toulouse.
 

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