Sad news from Rapa Nui / Easter Island: a fire has burned Rano Raraku, the crater and source of the Moai stone. Authorities suspect the fire was deliberately set by someone and that it was not an accident.
Rapa Nui has had a long and complex history involving the Moai. At times the island has been divided by civil war, and historians conclude that at different periods of time the Moai were deliberately toppled and vandalized by rivals.
While we don’t assume to know the motive behind the arson, we wonder if internal conflict on the island resulted in a group setting the blaze. While we were on the island, we saw evidence that some residents of the island did not appreciate the tourism industry centered around the Moai. We saw signs in protest of the exploitation of Rapa Nui’s cultural heritage, and we saw vandalized exhibits.
It will be interesting to learn what fire investigators find.
Here’s Wilson’s tour of Rona Raraku in September 2022, about five weeks before the crater burned.