Rethinking Everywhere

Rethinking Everywhere

Here’s a question I’m struggling with lately: Is everywhere really worthy of our tourism?

That question preoccupied me this weekend after reading about Marte Deborah Dalelv’s ordeal in Dubai. The short account of her tragedy is that the Norwegian expat was sentenced to sixteen months in prison for the crime of being raped. Officially Ms. Dalelv was charged with “having sexual relations outside of marriage.” That she never consented to those sexual relations is of small consequence.

In a show of evenhandedness the state did levy similar charges against the perpetrator. His lesser thirteen month prison sentence, however, leaves little doubt about where Dubai’s criminal justice system places primary blame for sexual assault; squarely on the victim, or more precisely, on the woman.

This isn’t necessarily unique to Dubai or the Middle East. In India, for example, a man was sentenced earlier this year to 5 whacks with a shoe for raping his niece. It’s hard not to think that such permissiveness played a role in the country’s recent rash of high-profile gang rapes. Or that the ensuing international backlash and fears about its impact on tourism didn’t encourage a much different legal outcome in that instance.

And fears of dwindling tourism were justified. The question we heard most often on travel message boards following these events was whether it is safe to travel there. Our question is whether we really want to.

One of the reasons we travel is to experience new cultures. To meet people whose world view is different from our own. But what happens when you find elements of a culture abhorrent? Do we look the other way and pretend customs of oppression and discrimination don’t exist? Excuse them because that’s the way it has been for thousands of years? Do we close our eyes and travel there anyway? Or should we withhold our tourism dollars in protest?

Increasingly we’re thinking along the lines of protest.

We know the issues are more complex than a single news report can illuminate. For its part, Dubai has made strides toward liberalization and leads its region in advancing religious, ethnic, and women’s rights. We should encourage such progress. But Ms. Dalelv’s story isn’t a new one, which just goes to show how far Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, and the wider region still have to go.

One way to encourage positive change is to link our commerce to it. If places like Dubai want our tourism dollars they need to offer us more than just the world’s tallest building. They also need to assure us that we’re not supporting a country that condones systematic oppression.

 

Update: This morning the ruler of Dubai, bending to international outrage, pardoned Marte Deborah Dalelv. Welcome news. But what of other women who don’t receive Ms. Dalelv’s media attention?

Tags: ,

64 Comments on “Rethinking Everywhere”

  1. Mjollnir July 22, 2013 at 8:36 am #

    Protest! Withold your dollars (or Kroner) and don’t go there. There are a million places to visit where this kind of outrage doesn’t occur. Go there instead I say :-D

  2. Steven July 22, 2013 at 8:44 am #

    Great post, and I have asked myself the same questions often. I lived in South Korea for 3 years, and as an avid traveller, the easy temptation was to visit the noisy neighbours up north. But I chose not to, as to do so was to put money into a corrupt and dictatorial economy where people starve and believe its normal to do so. North Korea, and large parts of the Middle East and Africa are intriguing places I will one day visit. But until I believe in their commitment to ethical progress, my visit can wait. Cheers.

    • Brian July 22, 2013 at 10:59 am #

      North Korea is an obvious example of a place we wouldn’t go for ethical reasons. We have more difficulty drawing lines elsewhere. How to draw those lines is part of what we’re struggling with.

  3. B July 22, 2013 at 8:51 am #

    This is a tricky issue. Look at the example of Myanmar – the tourism boycott there wasn’t clearly the right thing, in hindsight. On the other hard, it’s hard to say what the answer is. No doubt progress will come in little pieces, from many angles. I don’t think we should accept things just because “this is the way it has always been done”, and I don’t believe it shutting your eyes and travelling regardless, but somewhere in between is a way to edge things forwards.

    This reminds me of the time we went to Monaco and my husband refused to spend any money there because he opposed the political system. We spent a full day but didn’t open our wallets til we crossed the border again that night.

    • Brian July 22, 2013 at 11:09 am #

      Myanmar actually seems like a budding success story for how international pressure can aid domestic reformers. Cuba, on the other hand, demonstrates the limits of that approach.

      That, of course, just goes to show how tricky an issue it really is – like you say. My meager travel dollars won’t change the minds of dictators and racists. The question we’re struggling with is whether my travel dollars help those kinds of folks.

      • B July 22, 2013 at 1:05 pm #

        International pressure is one thing; foreign tourism is only a small subunit of international pressure, and deciding whether and how foreign tourists should spend their money in a country in order to exert the right kind of pressure is another argument again. Whether the tourism boycott (specifically) contributed to the budding success story is something I’ve heard a lot of debate over.

        It’s the fact that the benefits of your presence (and money) as a tourist aren’t wholly confined to one sphere that make the arguments tricky – it’s about the overall balance of effects.This balance will differ according to environment, so what works for Burma (assuming we can get everyone to agree on that) doesn’t necessarily work for Cuba or Dubai.

        Does your presence spur change? Do your dollars empower the little guy? Does your boycott empower the big guy? Etc. It’s not really an area for rhetorical debate in my mind – I’ve heard perfectly plausible arguments in either direction. The only way to convince me is to dig out good economic studies designed to target the question in the context of interest.

        • Brian July 22, 2013 at 1:42 pm #

          We agree and posted similar thoughts in our conversation with Nigel above.

  4. Tony July 22, 2013 at 9:17 am #

    I really respect that you are “visiting” places like Dubai by postings like this one! At the end of the day your mission, more or less, is to expose the rest of us to different places and cultures…whether through actual visits or informative postings! Thank you!

    • Brian July 22, 2013 at 11:12 am #

      This is an outrage that spoke to us and we felt like we wanted to contribute to the conversation. It’s interesting that we haven’t seen it picked up on any of the other travel blogs we follow, which is a shame.

      • Tony July 22, 2013 at 11:49 am #

        I think it needs a headline like “Rape Victim Jailed” to be noticed by the broader community. Maybe through twitter.

        • Brian July 22, 2013 at 11:58 am #

          It’s true that we fall-down on writing highly “clickable” and attention grabbing headlines like that. Maybe we need to hire you as editor. :-)

          What I meant to say, though, is that we haven’t seen the Dubai story commented on by other travel bloggers. Certainly the weekend was full of “Rape Victim Jailed” type headlines. Surely someone other than us noticed. But I think much of the travel blog universe is fully invested in a cheer-leading model that avoids anything negative (or commentary that might impact relations with tourism boards).

          • Tony July 22, 2013 at 12:00 pm #

            Ah, yes. Sorry I misunderstood. It doesn’t surprise me that travel bloggers in general would avoid the negative and the political but this deserves outrage from all corners, I quite agree!

  5. customtripplanning July 22, 2013 at 9:20 am #

    I have long believed that there will be some places on this earth that will never get any of my money because I do not agree with the policies of the country. It is easy to use Moslem nations as an example and their treatment of women in particular and the underclasses as a whole. I wrote an article in my travel blog why I would never go to Dubai. While I can appreciate the engineering expertise that went into building the islands offshore there, I am aware of how the workers were treated and do not think that the rich need any of my hard earned money. I will opt for ethical travel (different choices for other people than for me) to visit areas of the world where I will not contribute to inequities.

    • Brian July 22, 2013 at 11:16 am #

      We agree. But if I may ask, how do you draw the lines? We can exclude most of the Middle East for its treatment of women. Russia, China, and many other places for political oppression. Much of Asia for human trafficking and the sex trade . . .

      • Reza July 22, 2013 at 12:17 pm #

        I really like this blog and have traveled to quite a few of the ‘favorite places’ you listed. But as a muslim I find your generalizations a little extreme. Muslim countries like Bangladesh and Pakistan have elected female Prime Ministers far more times than the US.

        If I had decided not to visit any US state that had a racist person living there or had enacted racist legislation some time during its history (Arizona/New Mexico), I probably would not have had the chance to visit most of the US!

        Lets face it, no country is perfect but most are striving to improve. The ‘arab springs’ are a sign that the people of the Middle East are trying to improve so I hope you don’t decide to “exclude most of the Middle East” so quickly

        • Brian July 22, 2013 at 12:45 pm #

          Hi Reza, thanks for your comment.

          But first I’d like to draw your attention to the fact that the word Muslim never appeared in this article until you introduced it in your comment. It seems to me that you might be reading in to the text something that doesn’t exist. You’ll also note that India is mentioned as having some similar problems. Last I checked India isn’t a Muslim nation. Clearly this article isn’t, nor was it intended to be, a broadside against Muslims.

          Your broader point is valid, though. Nowhere is perfect, including the U.S. ( http://everywhereonce.com/2011/05/18/civil-rights-memorial/ )

          If you read today’s post carefully you’ll see that it is really just us thinking out loud about these tough issues. That’s the reason it starts with a question – one we don’t quite have an answer to. We don’t know quite where, or how, to draw the line but believe that one does need to be drawn somewhere. It seems to us that a completely uncontroversial place to start is with the practice of jailing rape victims for reporting the crime.

      • customtripplanning July 23, 2013 at 5:29 pm #

        Political oppression is a harder nut to crack because I think we (the US) has been imposing its concept of what is a democratic government on people who are not at all used to that to ill effect. I have friends in Russia and China so would go visit THEM and where they would want to share with me. I tend to avoid all the main “tourist” sites anyway and love to get out in areas with the regular people.

  6. digger666 July 22, 2013 at 10:36 am #

    Reblogged this on digger666.

  7. Animalcouriers July 22, 2013 at 11:01 am #

    We have a friend about to start a teaching post in Dubai and wonder whether it’s a good move for her. I would most certainly protest but then I wouldn’t travel anywhere that treats women as badly as most Middle Eastern countries do.

  8. John July 22, 2013 at 11:02 am #

    There are places on this planet that should be avoided by outsiders at all costs. That’s too simple a way to put it I suppose but with the example you mentioned why would anyone give their money to these wealthy tyrants anyway? So much more I would say but enough is enough. There are tons of great places to see, your travels and website are great!

    • Brian July 22, 2013 at 11:17 am #

      Thank you, John.

  9. Laura Hilger July 22, 2013 at 11:12 am #

    Thanks for writing about this as I struggle with this as well, knowing that there is something to learn everywhere.The key is that the way we spend our dollars on ALL things matters-from where we get our milk to what businesses we support, because it all goes back to somewhere and we should always try to spend our money ethically. Many companies make incredible amounts of money off of Americans that never travel and their business practices when it comes to human and environmental rights are unacceptable. In this way, we also support unethical cultures because our dollars support the businesses that are not held accountable for their treatment of others. This is something we should think about regardless of where our feet stand. Safe travels!

  10. Timur July 22, 2013 at 11:29 am #

    Dubai, as I understand, was build to show to the world what money and human’s creativity can do. Well, it is not a secret that Dubai, in great desire to show off, invited people from … outside of Dubai. Obviously, guests possess what the host apparently lacks. Dubai brought to their desert country artistry and inspiration, innovation and technologies never seen there before. And one would hoped that such remodeling would changed not only external scene, but also, inadvertently, rebuild internal structure.

    Yet, essence of the place was kept intact and I doubt it will ever change.

    I’m not saying that western culture is a perfect model of human relationships. Must admit that we are far from perfection. But, at least, we stepped away from dense ignorance.

    I don’t think we should “boycott” with our dollars, I’m 100% sure that it is the only way for us to demonstrate our disgust towards similar behavior. We must do all in our power NOT to fuel their economy, so to speak.

    • Brian July 22, 2013 at 11:44 am #

      I’m more hopeful. In trying to preserve ancient traditions in one sphere while simultaneously embracing full modernity in another Dubai faces an untenable contradiction. Its egregiously applied laws against extra-marital sex, and recent international-outrage-induced pardon, are just the latest examples of how the city can’t have it both ways. Increasingly it will need to choose. My guess is they’ll eventually choose modernity more fully. I just wish they’d hurry up and do it.

      And I’ll just add that it is places like Dubai, where making gobs and gobs of money is a key motivating factor, where threats of diminished commerce are likely to have the most impact.

      • Timur July 22, 2013 at 12:33 pm #

        Briаn, I’d truly hope you were right. But I also think, that looking at our culture through the glasses of the ancient traditions only strengthens their believe of self-righteous. You see, they are convicted that we are who’s got it wrong. They are mistaken, but they think we’ve got nothing but problems treating our women as we do. You think it will ever change?

        • Brian July 22, 2013 at 12:49 pm #

          One of my favorite quotes of all time: “The Arc of the Moral Universe Is Long, but It Bends Toward Justice”

          I believe that is true, for all people, everywhere.

          • Timur July 22, 2013 at 1:16 pm #

            I’m with you, man, that is great … estimate! The only question left to be answered by all – what is justice? Can you see one answer?

  11. Rajiv July 22, 2013 at 12:11 pm #

    I like this post. However, traveling for the sake of protest is not something that i would do. I could include “protest” in my agenda when I travel. There is a lot of negativity in the world. Newspapers love sensation.
    Travel for the sake of the beauty of the earth. Introduce protest subtly into your trips. Don’t let is overshadow you

    • Brian July 22, 2013 at 12:18 pm #

      I don’t think we’re suggesting “traveling for the sake of protest.” What we’re saying is that “beauty of the earth” isn’t the only, or even always the most important, factor to consider when evaluating travel destinations.

  12. Nigel Smith (@nigemate) July 22, 2013 at 12:37 pm #

    I’d like to support Laura Hilger’s comments. “How” you spend can be as important as “where” you spend. Pick the local option, that provides local jobs, to local businesses (often the smaller the better). Even when at home.

    Drawing the line for travel is really tough. I currently live and work in Namibia and in some job related research was horrified at the level of criminalisation and discrimination of some groups across most of sub-saharan Africa (those engaging in same sex relations, and sex workers of all persuasions) . Add to that some shocking attitudes to women (sometimes “traditional’. sometimes not) and on paper, these places would fail on many liberal assessments of human rights. But do you scrub most of Africa off your wish list? Not automatically, especially where the levels of inequality are high, as an independent traveller you can bring real benefits to individuals as you go.

    So if you do go, be a conscientious traveller; try to avoid the up market accommodation and seek out community run places. As an example, Namibia is full of camping and bush lodges run by and for the local communities. Even the cities will have community run craft shops and markets, way better than the hotel run shops selling imported tat.

    Spending just a few bucks at these places can have a tremendous financial and social benefit, bringing income to families decimated by the enduring impact of HIV; maybe providing an independent income for women who, otherwise, are totally dependant on men; around the corner from the office you can buy a reconditioned bike from the King’s Daughters, former sex workers now with new skills, a safe job, and independence. be super conscientious and cycle yourself around for a few days, then sell (or donate) the bike back to them so they can make more money from it.

    We all have our own lines. When considering where to draw yours, give some thought to the change you can effect not by withdrawing your dollars totally, but by directing them carefully.

    • Brian July 22, 2013 at 1:25 pm #

      Excellent comment Nigel and excellent suggestions.

      I’m coming around to the idea that one size does not fit all here and that we need to be thoughtful about how and where we travel. What may be appropriate in one place may not be for another. Some thoughts:

      I think it would be impossible to travel in North Korea without supporting its murderous regime. Even exchanging money, regardless of how eventually spent, gives the regime desperately needed hard currency that helps sustain it.

      Somewhere like Namibia, marked by intense poverty and poor governance, the best approach may very well be to interact locally. There’s hope that our cultural interaction will help change hearts and eventually laws. Meanwhile, our carefully spent travel dollars can support local communities striving for better lives. That sounds good to me.

      But in places of good governance with a strong desire for international recognition, like Dubai, maybe the best approach is a loud, foot stomping, boycott that gets the attention of the ruling elite.

      It’s all good food for thought. Thanks Nigel

      • B July 23, 2013 at 4:25 am #

        One of the things about North Korea is it’s pretty much set up so you pay for your stuff via the government. The money goes through them first, and they choose how/whether to let it trickle down. They are even in the habit of appointing foreigners official full-time watchdogs to steer their non-financial interactions with the country. Whereas in most other places at least you’re paying the person on the street and the government has to come and get the money from them later.

        So one question is how much control do you have over how your money is spent in a particular country? How much control does the ordinary person on the street have over how their money is spent?

  13. travelwithkevinandruth.com July 22, 2013 at 12:52 pm #

    I have a different opinion than most here.

    I absolutely believe that it is worthwhile to explore countries who’s politics and laws I may not agree with. People in North America and other “western” countries forget that theirs is not the only culture in the world, and while you may not agree with it, most of the people in those countries do. Personally, I want to experience all cultures, not just the ones I agree with.

    With the news example you gave, the woman broke the laws of the country she was visiting. She also didn’t use good judgement, but of course it’s the laws that she broke that put her in jail. If you’re going to travel to a different country, you have to follow their laws whether you agree with them or not.

    Kevin

    • Brian July 22, 2013 at 1:05 pm #

      Um, did you actually read her account? The law she “broke,” and for which she was convicted, was having sex outside of marriage. She was raped! So no, she did not willingly break a local law. And she was raped by a coworker at a business meeting. I’m not exactly sure where you think her judgement plays any role. Or why a women’s “judgement” is ever a factor in whether or not she should be raped.

      But I will say that your opinion, that somehow the victim (always a female victim, btw) is responsible for her victimization, is exactly why this kind of thing continues to happen in the world.

      • B July 22, 2013 at 1:21 pm #

        Yes, I agree with Brian on that one. If someone picked my pocket in the streets of Sydney, I wouldn’t expect anyone to say I’d broken the law against robbery.

        Cultural relativism is another tricky concept. I’m against it – but we’d be up all night if we had that debate, so instead I’ll focus on the bit where you assert that most of the people in the countries we’re talking about agree with the way things are being run. Certainly the most powerful do, but most?

        • travelwithkevinandruth.com July 22, 2013 at 3:35 pm #

          I guess we didn’t read the same version of the stories. Yes, I read her account. And if that’s the only side of the story you’re going to take in to consideration, then OBVIOUSLY she shouldn’t be going through what’s she’s going through. But apparently the officials believed a different side of the story, and when she changed her tune and admitted that she lied, she was also charged with falsifying her accusations. So maybe there is more to the story that you haven’t read.

          Breaking news not long ago say that the woman and the man she accused have both been pardoned and are free to go.

          • Brian July 22, 2013 at 3:57 pm #

            Kevin, she retracted her original account of the incident on the advice of her manager. That advice was given, and taken, for obvious reasons and form the basis of the perjury charge against her.

            But lets assume, for a minute, that she did lie about what happened. The fact remains that she reported a rape and was prosecuted for having sex. Regardless of the specifics of this case, that a woman can be prosecuted in such a way creates an environment hospitable to sexual assault. Sexual predators can operate freely knowing that women who report an attack face legal jeopardy of their own. If that isn’t a form of oppression, let alone outright terrorism, I don’t know what is.

            Moreover, your he-said she-said defense might stand up better if things like this didn’t happen in the UAE before. From a June 2010 Human Rights Watch article: “the criminal court in Abu Dhabi has sentenced an 18-year-old Emirati woman to a year in prison for illicit sex after she reported that six men had gang-raped her.”

            Maybe she lied too. But I’d understand if the next woman raped in the UAE decided it was better to just shut up and take it, which I think is both the point of the law and the outrageousness of it.

            http://www.hrw.org/news/2010/06/29/how-uae-condones-sexual-violence

            Oh, and here are some more stories. And while each and every one has “two sides” there is also a pretty obvious pattern:

            http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-06-06/woman-to-sue-government-over-alleged-dubai-rape/2747876

            http://www.migrant-rights.org/2011/04/30/uae-maid-jailed-for-being-raped-another-is-repeatedly-raped-by-a-policeman/

            http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2243958/British-woman-kidnapped-gang-raped-Dubai-charged-drinking-alcohol-licence.html

            http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jan/08/british-woman-arrested-dubai

            • karead7 July 22, 2013 at 5:33 pm #

              Exactly. So knowing that, would it not be wise to exercise extreme caution when you visit a place where everyday actions in your own country may have extreme and far reaching consequences in a different country? And that’s where I came up with her poor judgement. Does it excuse what happened to her? Of course not! But that’s my point. These countries have different laws than our own.

            • B July 23, 2013 at 4:35 am #

              @kevinandruth

              “But that’s my point. These countries have different laws than our own.”

              I think that’s actually Brian’s point. Should we be travelling to countries with horrendous laws which cause women to live their lives in a state of “extreme caution”, and if they are attacked, stay silent? And importantly, would refusing to travel to these countries be a good way to make a stand against such laws?

            • Brian July 23, 2013 at 10:59 am #

              That sounds right to me.

    • Steven July 22, 2013 at 1:08 pm #

      Kevinandruth…you’re a disgrace to this site.

      • karead7 July 22, 2013 at 3:36 pm #

        Pretty strong words from someone who apparently judges without hearing all the details first.

  14. Gunta July 22, 2013 at 1:59 pm #

    Very much agree with Nigel’s thoughtful response, but then I suspect you two pretty much follow that line already by not staying at all the posh resorts and such.Your So. American travels were certainly not on the luxurious scale. It seems you ought to go to the places that intrigue you rather than ticking off some list of “everywhere.” Avoiding places for political reasons may or may not further your goals. As Nigel noted, many folks living on the edge might very well depend on your tourist dollars (pennies?) It happens in our area (OR coast), though certainly not on the scale of many developing countries.

  15. katiewanderlust July 22, 2013 at 3:38 pm #

    Oh this is such a controversial subject! I don’t believe (kevinandruth) that the girl broke any laws as she was the victim of RAPE – not her fault! But I accept that when travelling you have to abide by the laws of the place/culture you are visiting. However I do believe (and hope) that by travelling to places where the cultures have different views and laws than ours we can help educate and inform others and together we can all become more accepting!

  16. andytallman101 July 22, 2013 at 10:05 pm #

    Great post. It’s obviously something that has been weighing on your mind, and you’ve approached it in a thoughtful way (personally, I’m very happy you didn’t go with “Rape Victim Jailed” as your headline).

    For me, I’m not sure I would let news like this hold me back from visiting a country. Travel can have such an awesome power for getting behind the headlines and discovering what’s good about a place rather than focusing on the negative. Perhaps you could guage the reaction of the everyday person on the street to this story – I wouldn’t be surprised if many of them were just as appalled as the international community.

    But your reaction is totally understandable and you’ve made me think twice about it. Well done.

    • Brian July 23, 2013 at 11:06 am #

      I’m not sure it will hold us back either. The world is a complicated place. Nowhere is all good or all bad. Even understanding our impact as travelers isn’t straightforward (as is made clear from some of the comments above.) It’s just something we’re thinking about, and are happy that others are too.

  17. Taylor Hearts Travel July 23, 2013 at 7:51 am #

    Very thought provoking

  18. ajwiatr July 23, 2013 at 1:00 pm #

    This situation definitely sucks and I agree with your opinion! But at the same time, I think that choosing not to travel to a certain country based on political or ethical opinion could be a little bit of a double edged sword. The people that live in that country could suffer more if the tourism industry fell.. No?

    • Brian July 23, 2013 at 1:18 pm #

      Yes that’s true. Boycotts have the potential for adverse impacts so you’d have to weigh those against the potential benefits and the probability of success. It seems to me that a place like Dubai is tremendously sensitive to international opinion and pressure (notice the quick pardon of the woman who inspired this post). It’s just the kind of place where a well organized boycott could bring about real change in a hurry.

  19. kattrinna July 23, 2013 at 1:13 pm #

    I’ve read about this news earlier, and having lived there (UAE) for more than 3 years, it is unfortunate that things such as this happen and could be read in the news almost on a daily basis. What’s worse is that it is usually the complainant–the women who get punished for the rape cases. To add to that, you are almost helpless if you don’t speak the Arabic language. You will definitely have difficulty defending yourself if you can barely talk to them and if they don’t hear you out. They want to open their doors to the world, but up until now, they’re having difficulties adjusting their laws appropriately. It’s sort of “automatic” for them that regardless if it was forced or consensual, once it is known by the local authorities, the woman is at fault if she is unmarried to that person. For men, however, is a different story and I guess they don’t have a problem with that. It seems like it is taboo.
    As a woman, it makes you feel unprotected and torn between coming forward and possibly facing charges which are inappropriate, or just hide from the humiliation and face the terrible past and let it haunt you.

    • Brian July 23, 2013 at 1:23 pm #

      Thanks Kattrinna for your inside account. One of the things I worry about in commenting on situations like this is I’m mostly reliant on western media accounts of places I don’t really know. I’m usually hesitant to take often sensationalized news stories at face value. But the preponderance of similar stories over multiple years suggested to me that this is a real problem. It sounds like your first-hand knowledge of the UAE bears this out.

      • kattrinna July 24, 2013 at 12:10 am #

        I think she’s even luckier that her case has international media attention/intervention and help from the UN, For others coming from other countries, it could be more difficult. I’ve just read today that the charges have been dropped.

  20. sweetsound July 23, 2013 at 1:26 pm #

    You raised some very thought provoking questions. Even with all of the above in mind, I think safety is still my number one concern. I don’t think I could knowingly go someplace where I’d be treated that way if something happened that were out of my control. I think rape culture exists in America too, but definitely not to that extreme. Thanks for sharing.

    • Brian July 23, 2013 at 1:39 pm #

      Good point. One commenter raised the issue of “judgment” earlier. And while his intended point was far off the mark, I can’t help but think that exercising good judgment means avoiding places where you have reason to believe that you will not be treated fairly because of your gender, ethnicity, or whatever.

      • sweetsound July 23, 2013 at 1:44 pm #

        Thanks. :) As far as this poor woman’s experience goes, I wouldn’t have said she exercised bad judgement, either. If it were me, I probably would have originally felt safer travelling for business – with people I knew. What an unfortunate situation.

  21. B July 23, 2013 at 1:44 pm #

    Duly referenced on my blog just now.

  22. Betty Londergan July 24, 2013 at 9:12 am #

    Unreal … but then, actually, kind of to be expected. The one trip I made to the Emirates made me want to never, ever go back. That the Norwegian woman wasn’t a tourist — but a working person in the Emirates, only makes it more grotesque. I’m glad she was “pardoned.”

    • Brian July 24, 2013 at 10:10 am #

      Wow Betty. You’ve been some places and seen some things with your work for Heifer that many of us ordinary travelers don’t get to see. So what did you encounter in the Emirates that turned you off like that?

  23. mneset July 24, 2013 at 11:41 am #

    Great blog and interesting posts…I haven’t been reading it a long time but do enjoy it. I do NOT agree with you concerning the issue of staying away from places that have certain abhorrent practices since in my eyes that would mean moving out of the U.S. where we have a gun fetish that is nothing short of abhorrent and crazy. And the leeway we give gun-murderers in this country is astounding to the rest of the world! I am in the process of trying to get to every country in the world and turns out every place has the good guys and the bad guys…some, like our former good buddies, the Taliban, are worse than others of course. But I am pretty embarrassed by Wayne Lapierre (sp?) who does as much damage.

  24. dmtrobi July 26, 2013 at 12:44 am #

    Reblogged this on Visual Musings and More.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The Conscious Traveller | Journeys of the Fabulist - July 23, 2013

    […] Various countries have been the dubious recipients of actual or suggested tourism boycotts, as Brian recently discussed on Everywhere Once in the wake of Marte Deborah Dalelv’s conviction for being […]

  2. Why we won’t travel to North Korea | Everywhere Once - September 3, 2013

    […] weeks ago we wondered aloud whether ethical considerations should factor into our travel decisions. That post prompted a lively debate that helped us refine our thinking on the subject. Since then, fellow […]

  3. Best of the Blog: 2013’s Top 5 | Everywhere Once - December 23, 2013

    […] wondering whether everywhere on earth was really worthy of our tourist dollars in a post titled Rethinking Everywhere. That article received enough of a response to earn a place of its own on this year’s Best of […]

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 8,407 other followers

%d bloggers like this: