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Do politics sometimes influence your travels?

Travel Forums General Talk Do politics sometimes influence your travels?

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11. Posted by james (Travel Guru 4136 posts) 10y

Quoting Gerrit_BE

I am probably not the right person to answer things like that: as a campaigner against death penalty, I am obviously not neutral when debating issues like this. Most reports show it's actually more expensive to execute someone after years on death row, instead of keeping him locked up in a regular prison. However, I believe that money should not even be an issue, we're talking about a human life, money shouldn't even be an issue.

What I dislike about the US politically basically is that, while trying to be the world's moral compass, they are about the ONLY western nation that still executes. The US claims to be a human rights defender, but violates the most essential human right on constant basis.

Also, we have reports and statistics showing that countries with the death penalty have no lower crime rate than countries without, and statistics also show that in the majority of cases the family of the original victim did not feel better after an execution. The death penalty doesn't work to avoid new crimes happening, the death penalty doesn't work to help people deal with an earlier murder, the death penalty doesn't work at all. Full stop. It just creates a new victim. And in a cruel way: letting a person count down the days till death (like counting the days until departing on a travel) is emotionally very cruel, more cruel than most murders can ever be. Countries using the death penalty lock their own HUMAN citizens up in a very small cell until they can be brought to the death chamber, and medical scientific knowledge is used not to save lives but to think of 'more human' ways to kill.

I find it hard to label countries with the death penalty fully civilised. I know the US or Japan are civilised countries in practice, but I cannot travel them until they dropped that last remaining element from before civilisation. If I would now move to New York or travel the Route 66, I'd be spending money on the economy of a government that tries to justify murder. I cannot do that, it goes against my own believes.

Well whoopee for you mate.

So the US and Japan aside, what countries would you travel to, or have you found a reason not to go anywhere? I'm sure you could if you looked hard enough.

12. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 10y

I think, when people dont want to hear about politics, or be politically active, it is because they dont know just how bad some of the things happening, in the world are.
Or else, they feel there is nothing they can do about it. If this is the case, then they do not know the effect of finding out and spreading the word. If we find out what is going on and tell others, i think it will speed up the development of human rights. The more people who are appalled by something, the more pressure there will be, for it to change.
It is even better, of course, if people do something active, which will reduce the problem. But James is right. There is only so much we can do. We cant sacrifice our lives, by limiting ourselves too much. We have to choose what we can comfortably do, to help.

Mel

13. Posted by Cupcake (Travel Guru 8468 posts) 10y

I am all for the death penalty. But you're right,- the system is flawed. They shouldn't be able to apeal for 20 years on death row (at a cost of over 100,000 USD a year) their sentence should be carried out much sooner.

Back to the original question. No, politics does not influence me in the slightest...do I really think that one government isn't doing what another is (just much more quietly)? I don't travel to meet politicians.

[ Edit: Edited at Nov 1, 2006 7:49 PM by Cupcake ]

14. Posted by danalasta (Respected Member 519 posts) 10y

Quoting Mel.

Yes, politics influence my travelling.
Because of politics, i am not going to visit Myanmar, in the near future.
And, there would also be politics which effect visitors, to countries, which i would not think worth putting up with. Egs Russia and Cuba.

Mel

I couldn't resist myself from getting involved in this discussion!Like Cupcake & James, I don't give a damn about politics when I travel.They don't mix. We travel because we want to know the people, their cultures,etc.

Yes, politics will continue to affect our travels as long as politicians "play the political chess game". When I fly into Hawaii, I am body-searched,etc? When I fly into Myanmar, I am let through without a question.

As for those who shun travelling to Myanmar because they are influenced by politics, I have this to say:

Myanmar is a country "where outsiders often give judgements before they understand the true nature of the country. Raked by civil war since its independence, Burma is almost a forgotten country on the world map. A country divided today as Myanmar of Yangon influence and of insurgent's territories; Burma is trying to find a future amongst the debris of the ethnic diversity of South-East Asia. As in many families - rebellion and violence are aspects of intimacy rather than a distance".

Myanmar is one of the 118 members of the Non-Aligned Movement.These are Third World Countries which the media claims, are in violation of human rights - one way or another! Shouldn't we also stop travelling to these countries? Ghana, Cambodia, China, Cuba, India, etc,etc? It all depends how you look at human rights! To quote Erasmus, "What you see depends on where you sit."

Oh, yes, Mel, The Glass Palace was authored by Amitav Gosh. I read it because Malaysia is also a setting for his novel. The novel has a strong dose of the British colonial masters!

His other co-authored book, the Irrawady Tango should also interest some. Is there an Aung San Suu Ky "masked"in the novel? I am tempted to think so!

My two cents worth!

Dana

[ Edit: Edited at Nov 1, 2006 10:51 PM by danalasta ]

15. Posted by aprilsgal (Full Member 161 posts) 10y

hey danalasta - interesting reply..

but what did u mean by NAM countries being in violation of Human rights?

I guess you would take into account the 'political instability' at the moment before u choose to go to a place... And also the extent instability.

But I think more than this, racism is an issue - if you look at travelling as a means of meeting people, then racism does come an obstruct this doesnt it? Also, one needs to feel "safe" - feeling "safe" is more to do with the attitude with which people recieve u and treat u and look at u - it wont have anything to do with actual untoward incidents.

I am not sure if others feel it - but as an Indian, racism is certainly a factor i would consider before travwelling ( especially if i was on my own)

16. Posted by james (Travel Guru 4136 posts) 10y

Quoting danalasta

Quoting Mel.

Yes, politics influence my travelling.
Because of politics, i am not going to visit Myanmar, in the near future.
And, there would also be politics which effect visitors, to countries, which i would not think worth putting up with. Egs Russia and Cuba.

Mel

I couldn't resist myself from getting involved in this discussion!Like Cupcake & James, I don't give a damn about politics when I travel.They don't mix. We travel because we want to know the people, their cultures,etc.

Yes, politics will continue to affect our travels as long as politicians "play the political chess game". When I fly into Hawaii, I am body-searched,etc? When I fly into Myanmar, I am let through without a question.

As for those who shun travelling to Myanmar because they are influenced by politics, I have this to say:

Myanmar is a country "where outsiders often give judgements before they understand the true nature of the country. Raked by civil war since its independence, Burma is almost a forgotten country on the world map. A country divided today as Myanmar of Yangon influence and of insurgent's territories; Burma is trying to find a future amongst the debris of the ethnic diversity of South-East Asia. As in many families - rebellion and violence are aspects of intimacy rather than a distance".

Myanmar is one of the 118 members of the Non-Aligned Movement.These are Third World Countries which the media claims, are in violation of human rights - one way or another! Shouldn't we also stop travelling to these countries? Ghana, Cambodia, China, Cuba, India, etc,etc? It all depends how you look at human rights! To quote Erasmus, "What you see depends on where you sit."

Oh, yes, Mel, The Glass Palace was authored by Amitav Gosh. I read it because Malaysia is also a setting for his novel. The novel has a strong dose of the British colonial masters!

His other co-authored book, the Irrawady Tango should also interest some. Is there an Aung San Suu Ky "masked"in the novel? I am tempted to think so!

My two cents worth!

Dana

Well put Dana.

If we don't travel because of politicans, then the politicans have won!

17. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 10y

The trouble with the death penalty appart from it being barbaric is how unfair it is. People get put to death or not on technicalities.
Some student lawyers in the US did some research. They dug up some old cases of people who were executed and were able to find around half of the people who were put to death, not guilty. Not enough evidence, that they committed the crime. A lot depends on the type of lawyer the accused can afford. Most of those on death row and those who were executed are poor and/or non white. I dont think this is real justice.

Mel

18. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 10y

Hello Danalasta

I would love to go to Myanmar.
It seems like a beatiful and friendly place, from what i have read and pictures i have seen, and people i have spoken with.
The reason i am not going, is because the political activists in Myanmar, have asked tourists to boycott myanmar. They claim it is having an effect on the governments attitude, and causing changes.

And i think The Glas Palace does not portray the 'colonial masters', in a very positive light. And it gave me a good insight into life in Myanmar and India. And showed me the effects of censorship, on those who are effected, in Myanmar.

Mel

19. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 10y

Quoting Mel.

The trouble with the death penalty appart from it being barbaric is how unfair it is. People get put to death or not on technicalities.
Some student lawyers in the US did some research. They dug up some old cases of people who were executed and were able to find around half of the people who were put to death, not guilty. Not enough evidence, that they committed the crime. A lot depends on the type of lawyer the accused can afford. Most of those on death row and those who were executed are poor and/or non white. I dont think this is real justice.

Mel

They were law students at Northwerstern University in Chicago. They chose a particular case and worked through the original investigation and court reports. Ultimately, the prisoner in question was found to be not guilty by the work they performed. The students also had access to evidence which they were able to have tested using methods that were not available at the time of the original investigation/trial. Since then, many other cases have been investigated by this class (different students) and some prisoners have in deed been guilty of their crimes, while a few have not and have also been released. Due to these findings and several other cases these students and their mentors could show were very questionable in nature, Illinois placed a moratorium on the death penalty in 2002 which is still in effect while government officials work on rewriting the law.

Though some of the released persons have been able to integrate back into society and become good citizens, more than 50% have committed further crimes upon their initial release and are now back in prison. The fact that these (previously) ex-inmates are now repeat offenders has given rise to debate. Were these people of a criminal mindset to begin with and would have been repeaters no matter what, or were they victims of the penal system which did very little to integrate them back into society. Most of these type of releases do not require another trial, but rather a pardon by the Governor and a quick release into society.

Isa now returns this thread to it's regularly scheduled topic.

20. Posted by danalasta (Respected Member 519 posts) 10y

Quoting aprilsgal

hey danalasta - interesting reply..

but what did u mean by NAM countries being in violation of Human rights?

I guess you would take into account the 'political instability' at the moment before u choose to go to a place... And also the extent instability.

But I think more than this, racism is an issue - if you look at travelling as a means of meeting people, then racism does come an obstruct this doesnt it? Also, one needs to feel "safe" - feeling "safe" is more to do with the attitude with which people recieve u and treat u and look at u - it wont have anything to do with actual untoward incidents.

I am not sure if others feel it - but as an Indian, racism is certainly a factor i would consider before travwelling ( especially if i was on my own)

Hey aprilsgal,

You make 2 observations but I am not sure if I should go into details as this is a travel-related forum.Let me be brief, and if you wish, you can send me a PM for details.

On NAM countries & violation of human rights.It's the way the media (more specifically the western media) sees, portrays and presents it to the world. Are the Third World Countries (NAM members) solely responsible and guilty of it? Human rights issues are not just about death penalty, minimum wages,the hungry millions,suppressive regimes, etc. There's more to it! Maybe you should read: Michael Maren's The Road to Hell: The Ravaging Effects of Foreign Aid and International Charity

On political instability...would you shun travelling to countries like Nicaragua, Guatemala,Myanmar,Columbia,Cuba,Lebanon,Zimbabwee, the Philippines, Indonesia, to name a few? These are TWCs,mind you!

Your observation on racism & travelling (as an Indian)is interesting.I could, if you wish, share my paper on "Black Magic,Chinese Puzzle, White Lies & the Deep Traveller" which I tabled at a recent NAM News Network Workshop here. I could ruffle a few feathers if I dwelled on this issue in this forum. PM to me, is you want to know more.

Cheers.

Dana