If you were asked about one piece of Texan history, if you’re anything like me, your first thought would be of the Alamo.
The battle at the mission in San Antonio between less than 200 Texans and the Mexican army under General Santa Anna during February and March of 1836 is perhaps one of the most revered battles in American History. Whenever someone has come up against great odds and much is at stake, the battle cry is still repeated, “Remember the Alamo!”
I learned a lot about the Alamo before moving to the US, because I wanted to learn more about Texas. Even though I never had a chance to visit San Antonio while I lived there, the tough and courageous stand of the men who fought and died there will always be a favorite piece of history of both born and bred generations of Texans and transplants alike.
The spirit of Texas seems not only be passed down from generation to generation through inheritance, but also invokes a strong sense of pride and a certain awe in those who have come from the great state. Davy Crocket, a Texas transplant from Tennessee, has always been one of my heroes as well. (Even in Canada, kids grew up on the tall tales of the King of the Wild Frontier.) This fierce Texas pride, with deep respect for independence and true freedom, lives on in Texas today—and makes me wonder about a recent story that’s been circulating lately.
A Texan friend and Christian brother shared a tweet mentioning that the Alamo was possibly destined to become a UN World Heritage site. I have a few friends and family members in Texas, and while some never heard about this, the ones who have are completely against the idea.
A website called “San Antonio Missions Community Quest for World Heritage Status” states,
San Antonio now has the opportunity for its five Missions to make that world-class list. It would be the first World Heritage site in the State of Texas and only the 22nd World Heritage designation in the United States.
The site goes on to say that the National Park Service is leading the application process as the Park Service maintains most of the Mission sites.
Although this site makes it clear their goal is to become a World Heritage site, the Texas General Land Office Commissioner’s website claims that “despite spectacular and erroneous reports to the contrary, the Alamo is not being turned over to the United Nations — or anyone else for that matter.”
Commissioner Jerry Patterson said that if the Alamo and the other Spanish missions in San Antonio are added to the UNESCO World Heritage List, the Alamo will remain entirely under the control of the state of Texas and the Texas General Land Office, calling the idea that the UN flag would be flying over the Alamo instead of the State Flag of Texas, “Horse hockey.” Patterson made it clear that “The people of Texas own the Alamo now and in the future. Nothing is going to change that… I have personally met with the National Park Service staff working on this nomination and I am absolutely satisfied that a World Heritage Nomination will have no effect on the Alamo other than a possible increase in foreign tourists.”
San Antonio news, KSAT.com also debunked the idea that the Mission would be taken over by the UN, saying, “Bloggers claimed that the designation would turn control of the Alamo over to the United Nations, and the Texas flag would be replaced with the UN’s flag…That is not true.”
In the same statement, KSAT also says that if officials chose to, they would allow the city to fly the UNESCO World Heritage Site flag at the Mission, “which is different from the UN flag”.
However, what has so many concerned is what isn’t being reported in any of these articles–and that is the UN’s direct involvement in World Heritage Sites–including the implementation of Agenda 21 and ICLEI. If you haven’t heard about Agenda 21, or if you believe it’s “myth”, Agenda 21 is a (very real) transfer of Equal Justice to Social Justice, and ICLEI is operated at local government levels as part of “Local Governments for Sustainability”.
The goals are the same, whether worldwide under the UN with Agenda 21 or within local governments’ states wide in the US. Sustainable growth and biodiversity are the main buzzwords within local communities, and Smart Growth Initiatives and Regional Visioning Projects are the desired goals, which call for specific changes in the activities of all people.
When reading about Agenda 21, one can’t help but think of the EPA on steroids. Only unlike the EPA, this will not be implemented by US government, but by a world body made up of nations that hate the US.
From ICLEI’s website:
In the United States, ICLEI USA works to help local governments achieve deep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and tangible improvements in local sustainability. To help local governments to meet their self-defined goals, we provide software tools, trainings, technical assistance, guidebooks, as well as vibrant peer networks where local government staff can share challenges and best practices.
ICLEI says they are not affiliated with the UN; instead, a Board of Directors consisting of local elected officials, including American mayors and county executives from across the country, oversees ICLEI USA. Yet the goals of ICLEI are the same as the UN and again their own website says, that working with elected officials, ICLEI’s World Secretariat helps voice local government needs and priorities during international negotiations and agreements that will effect local governments, such as the U.N. climate negotiations. ICLEI is one of many NGOs recognized by the U.N. to provide input into these processes.
ICLEI is also the “Local Government and Municipal Authority Focal Point” for UNFCCC climate change negotiations. What this means is that ICLEI acts as a bridge between local governments and UN processes. “We inform local governments about these processes, and we gather and present local government priorities and points of view during key meetings and negotiations, such as COP17 in Durban, South Africa.”
As for the World Heritage sites, there are different sites where some are building landmarks, historically rich, and also natural sites that are preserved and protected. Historical sites generally are preserved, to protect and maintain the original structures from damage. Local governments that hold World Heritage sites work with the UN to ensure that the sites aren’t threatened by over population, environmental and natural disasters, and unchecked tourism control.
According to UNESCO’s site, the listing of a site as World Heritage in Danger allows the conservation community to respond to specific preservation needs in an efficient manner. The prospect of inscribing a site on this List “often proves to be effective, and can incite rapid conservation action, and requires the World Heritage Committee to develop and adopt, in consultation with the State Party concerned, a program for corrective measures, and subsequently to monitor the situation of the site… the States Parties shall submit to the Committee through the World Heritage Centre, specific reports and impact studies each time exceptional circumstances occur or work is undertaken which may have an effect on the state of conservation of the property.”
Article 6 of the UN World Heritage site convention says, “Whilst fully respecting the sovereignty of the States on whose territory the cultural and natural heritage mentioned in Articles 1 and 2 is situated, and without prejudice to property right provided by national legislation, the States Parties to this Convention recognize that such heritage constitutes a world heritage for whose protection it is the duty of the international community as a whole to co-operate.”
Article 7 states, “For the purpose of this Convention, international protection of the world cultural and natural heritage shall be understood to mean the establishment of a system of international co-operation and assistance designed to support States Parties to the Convention in their efforts to conserve and identify that heritage.”
All in all, while the Texas State Land Commissioner and the city believe it would be great to have places like the Alamo listed as a World Heritage Site, like it or not this would give the UN a direct toehold into their state. And despite claims that the UN flag “will never fly over the Alamo”, if they become a part of World Heritage, this will open the door to Agenda 21, ICLEI, and other UN controlled bodies. And by being partnered with these international agencies, they will have say as to what can be built in and around these sites, and what changes must be made “for the good of the international community as a whole”--even if it goes against local Texans’ property rights.
The Missions website quotes Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff as saying, “Most San Antonians know about the Missions, but their historical and cultural significance to Texan and American heritage is not thoroughly understood. We now have an opportunity to shed a very bright light on our Missions and share these irreplaceable works with the world.”
I never needed the UN to teach me about the Alamo, and perhaps if more of the US public schools would stop focusing on Common core agenda and the global community, and start teaching plain old American History again, more people would “Remember the Alamo.