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
Yes, Myanmar is a beautiful country. But who are these political activists? Where are they getting their funding from? And if you think Myanmar is reeling from this "boycott call", well just talk to travel agencies, such as Hupin Travel! They are happy with the growing number of Western & Japanese tourists!Maybe these political activists should take a second look at themselves.Or are they looking in the wrong direction?
Myanmar is resource rich, has oil, and 40 million people (good market to open up, right?) The young, mostly the poor for rural areas, are travelling to work in countries like Malaysia, Singapore, the Middle East. Here they interact with local people as well as with those from other countries and return when their work permit expires. Changes will come from within, silently.
You cannot "give" someone a Democracy. They have to want one and most likely they must build it for themselves...
I may be wrong. But at least I travel to Myanmar!
When i first read this post i though "definately not, who cares about politics when u r only going for a month?" but then i thought about it a little harder and realised i am very influenced by the politics of a country - for example i will never go to the united states until they have a change of government (or atleast give us back david hicks). Other than politics the main thing that turns me off a country is racism, i have just gotten home from a year in europe and was SHOCKED at how racist some of the countries were (especially the swiss). I will never forget swiss independence day and the hordes of neo-nazis, they passed a bill recently making it extremely difficult for people to claim asylum there (the worlds richest people no longer care to shelter the world's poorest). Australia has a lot of problems as well but we seem to do a good job of hiding our dirty laundry, despite our close alliance ppl who wouldt travel to the states seem to come in floods to australia which makes me think it isnt just the politics it is also the culture that repells or draws u to a country.
this is my first post i hope i havent offened anyyone, by no means am i trying to say that all swiss are racists i am just adding my bit to the pot.
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.
I probably wouldnt shun going to some places- but i certainly would choose a slightly "peaceful" point of time to travel. I love travelling but not enought to unreasonably sacrifice my life [:D]
and as i said before racism is a concern - though , probably one shd really talk to a lot of people instead of taking very generic statements at face value!
and - yea i would love to read this paper of urs... and i will pm u!
Who says travelling is for the sake of leisure and enjoyment only? I don't let politics influence my travel plans by allowing them to prevent me from going anywhere. If anything, the politics of a region make me more interested in finding out what is going on there, what drives the culture there. How can I know what could or should be done if I haven't experienced it first-hand?
It's frankly scary to see how many people would skip out on America based on impressions they have from international news services, and I think the same can be said for any country.
Setting foot in a country that gets a bad rap gives a traveller a better idea of what is really going on there. For example, in Cambodia, one of its best assets is killing the country slowly. The Temples of Angkor are without a doubt the most amazing place I've seen, but tourism is completely uncontrolled, and the economy is based too heavily on it. But I wouldn't know that for myself had I not been there. I travel to learn.
As for Myanmar/Burma, there is a flip side of the coin. I would love to go, as there are people on the inside (non-government) who are begging for visitors with the ability to see through a facade who can come in and witness first-hand what is happening. They feel like their story is not being told or spread, and they are quite right. Myanmar gets so little press, which is shocking. We read books like 1984 in school and relate it to governments of the past, not realizing that it is still going on today. I have an entire shelf of books on Myanmar and would dearly love to go see for myself. I don't feel like I would fully understand the situation without experiencing it. Otherwise, I couldn't possibly know what could or should be done.
My picks on books? Finding George Orwell in Burma, by Emma Larkin; The Lady: Aung San Suu Kyi, by Barbara Victor; and From the Land of Green Ghosts, by Pascal Khoo Thwe.