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.