Those who were betting that the big Alamo-UNESCO controversy wouldn't get any more ridiculous obviously bet wrong. Texans greeted the news that the Alamo was formally accepted as a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization last week with a protest.
Over the weekend people responded to the news that the Alamo had been accepted as a World Heritage Site by staging a protest. Why you ask? Well, it turns out a bunch of people are convinced that this World Heritage Site is the beginning of the Alamo being stolen by the United Nations.
The rumors first started circulating around the time state Sen. Donna Campbell filed a bill protesting the move to get the Alamo on the World Heritage Site list at the end of last year. The Protect the Alamo Act, filed last December, proposed banning any foreign entity from owning, controlling or managing the Alamo complex, as we previously reported. The bill (unsurprisingly) got absolutely no traction in the Lege and died the quiet death that these sorts of bills usually do.
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Meanwhile, new Texas General Land Commissioner George P. Bush yanked control of the Alamo from the Daughters of the Texas Republic back in March because of what he claimed were contractual violations. The group handed control of the Alamo back to the Texas General Land Office last Friday, less than a week after the Alamo was accepted as a World Heritage Site. Campbell has stayed fairly quiet during this new Alamo-UNESCO kerfluffle, but others have been on hand to take up her cause.
On Saturday a group of pro-Alamo, anti-United Nations folks gathered for a protest outside the building in question. The protest was led by David Watts, Jr., the guy who previously ran against Bush for the GOP nod for Texas Land Commissioner and is now running for the Texas House of Representatives. During the protest Watts said that the United Nations takeover wouldn't be an overnight thing. Instead, he described it as a “sort of a creeping influence,” according to the San Antonio Express-News.
Keep in mind that the Alamo joins the Grand Canyon and the Taj Mahal on the list of World Heritage Sites. On top of that, the process, which encompassed all of San Antonio's missions and took six years to complete, was overseen by Jerry Patterson, the previous Texas General Land Commissioner, and the deal is supposed to bring in more money (more than $100 million) and more jobs (more than 1,000) by 2025, according to a report from the Harbinger Consulting Group. Otherwise, the official word goes that nothing is supposed to change.
Bush also got into the action by issuing a statement on Saturday. "It ain't gonna happen," Bush said in a release, referring to the “unfounded rumors" circulating that being accepted by UNESCO was the first step toward the United Nations swiping the Alamo. (In case you can't tell he's taking a firm and tough stand on this oh-so-important issue, demonstrated by his use of the word "ain't"). What makes this whole thing a real belly-shaker is that it's still not clear how exactly people think this is the start of the United Nations infiltrating and taking over the Alamo with that "creeping influence" or what the United Nations would actually do if they did decide to swoop in and start holding the place for its own. That whole approach didn't work out so well for the last group who tried to take the Alamo. (Maybe this isn't the best time to point out that the 13 Days of Glory happened because Texans tried to hold the place instead of blowing it up, but we have to point that out.)