What do you think?
Burma, China, North Korea – should travelers visit oppressive countries with bad human rights records? I read this article this morning while I was waiting at the dentist’s office.
In her April 2008 article, “See Mo’ Evil,” Outside senior editor Stephanie Pearson rebuts Nobel Prize Winner Aung San Suu Kyi’s call for tourists to stop visiting Myanmar. What does Pearson think is the best way to respond to a travel boycott in a human-rights-violating country ruled by an oppressive regime? Go there and check it out.
Every country in the world, including the US, is guilty of human rights abuses to one extent or another, so if I wanted to be totally consistent, then I wouldn’t travel anywhere. With all the photos, video and reports of human rights abuses in Burma, I don’t think it is necessary to go and visit to “see for myself.” I find the whole idea of “disaster tourism” a little bit distasteful. I guess it is ultimately an individual choice. Personally, I would respect the wishes of Aung San Suu Kyi and avoid traveling to Burma until there is real substantive change.
I worked on this video during my Avaaz days. Check it out and vote for us please!
Here is an update direct from Avaaz:
Great news — our video “Stop The Clash of Civilizations” is one of six films nominated for “Best Political Video” at the 2007 YouTube Awards. Dismantling the false clash between Islam and the West, this 2-minute clip shows how global people power can bridge cultures and change things for the better — starting with a real peace process for the Middle East. The video has already been seen by milliions of people, and shown in hundreds of schools.
In the YouTube Awards, unlike the Oscars, the public decides which video wins — but we only have 24 hours to cast our votes, so now’s the time to act. If enough people vote for “Stop the Clash” in the next 24 hours, and we win, we can spread our message of hope like wildfire around the world. Click this link now to watch the video and cast your own vote:
Stop The Clash’s message is that the people of the world don’t buy, and don’t want, the “clash of civilizations” that the extremists are dragging us into. Beyond Bush and bin Laden, the world desperately needs us to join together across divides if we are ever to solve the shared challenges of climate change, poverty, tyranny and conflict. The clash of civilizations lie hides the bigger picture — where there’s far more to unite than divide us.
The winner of the YouTube award will get a lot of media attention, so we could spread the “Stop the Clash” message to many millions more. It’s up to us –- click here to watch the video and vote:
Paul, Ricken, Galit, Esra’a, Ben, Pascal, Graziela and the whole Avaaz team
Avaaz.org is an independent, not-for-profit global campaigning organization that works to ensure that the views and values of the world’s people inform global decision-making. (Avaaz means “voice” in many languages.) Avaaz receives no money from governments or corporations, and is staffed by a global team based in London, Rio de Janeiro, New York, Paris, Washington DC, and Geneva.