This is a personal comment piece and not designed to offend. However, if it offends I offer up no apology.
The world has much in amazingness to offer, there are simply so so many places that I would truly love to visit. Many however I will never manage to enjoy.
This is not due to cost. This is not due to difficulties of travel or permits or language. This is absolutely because I have ethics.
For those of you who have holidayed, for example, in the UAE or in China or in Indonesia… Think about how your spend supported the regimes, how those regimes have and continue to treat their own and their migrant workforces, how for example the UAE have kidnapping and disappearing of citizens on their list of crimes, China has ‘re-education camps for the Uighurs and forced organ harvesting from the Falun Gong and Indonesia’s war against the Tamil’s is regarded as a genocide.
This tourism built upon suffering was brought to my attention some 38 years ago when I suggested that I fancied a trip to Israel and a few months in a Kibbutz. It was argued at the time, and appallingly is still an issue now, that supporting the Kibbutzim was supporting an illegal occupation and a state that for generations had flouted international law.
And so to Saudi – I read this article in in The Smithsonian and was wowed by the images. Like Petra in Jordan, I really want to go and have a look at what remains of the Nabataean civilisation. Just look at these images from Hegra…
But the extra judicial killings, the public executions, the medieval political system, the brutal oppression of women and by far not the least the exporting of Wahhabism and the damage that has done to our society including the attacks of 9/11 and the reaction to that in the form of the ‘War on Terror’…
I just can’t go to a country that does all of this and turn a blind eye while being wowed by the treasures on display. It’s a difficult place to park oneself though as all countries seem to have darkness at the heart of government. The UK leaves much to be desired but I suppose that this drawing a line has to be done somewhere.
The line I have been drawing for almost forty years is one that I will continue to draw. Genocide, mass oppression, slavery, terrorism and widespread dismissal of human rights… That’s my line…