Venezuelan tribe unhappy with ‘sacred stone’ in Berlin park

Wolfgang von Schwarzenfeld – the famous German sculptor had World peace in mind, when he sculpted a pink stone, which is currently in a Berlin park. However, a Venezuelan tribe doesn’t seem to quite share the same feeling, accusing him of stealing a sacred pink stone that they refer to as ‘Grandmother’.

The Venezuelan government is backing the Pemon Indians of the “Gran Sabana” by asking the German government to return the polished stone.

With Caracas calling it robbery, and the sculptor arguing that the stone was a legal gift, the monolith is emitting more negative energy than its esoteric fans in Berlin are used to.

Blissfully unaware of the diplomatic tug-of-war, Robert, a Berlin gardener, got off his bicycle to light joss sticks among the stones from five continents that form the “Global Stone Project”, awaiting friends for an afternoon shamanic ritual. But newly arrived Venezuelan tourists Grecia Melendez and Juan Carlos Brozoski knew all about the war of the stone and suspected there were political motives behind the protests.

“(President Hugo) Chavez always wants a conflict with someone,” said 32-year-old Melendez, taking photos of the 12 cubic meter stone, which is engraved with the word “love” in different languages – and graffiti with couples’ names and hearts.

Von Schwarzenfeld, a frail figure with whispy white hair and scuffed brown shoes, waved a sheaf of documents authorizing the removal of the stone from the Canaima National Park in 1998. After Pemon tribes people demonstrated outside Germany’s embassy last week with spears, feather headdresses and banners saying “The Pemon People Want Our Wise Grandmother Back”, the German envoy promised to relay their feelings to Berlin, while telling them it would be no easy task to return the stone.

German Foreign ministry spokesman Andreas Peschke said Berlin wanted a solution “agreed by all sides – Venezuela, the indigenous groups, the artist and the city of Berlin”. Von Schwarzenfeld was not convinced, saying the stone’s removal would sacrifice “the 15 years of my life and all the money I spent. If it is taken away, it ruins the whole project.”

He rubbished stories about the stone’s removal bringing misfortune on the tribe, like drought and the disappearance of the ants they eat in spicy sauce, saying he had eaten plenty of ants on three visits to the region, as recently as last year.

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