Tuesday, October 19, 2004

On the box
‘Lonely Planet/Globe Trekker’ (official site)
A hip, snarky, British-made travel show. Ian Wright is cool* and Justine Shapiro is lovely (and originally from South Africa). Speaking of her, this is her Oscar-nominated documentary about children in Palestine:


... it is very painful to travel to remote areas and find Coca Cola signs and cheesy Hollywood movies in place of local films. American Cultural Imperialism is strong the world over and many people resent us for this. Also many people buy into American Culture and you see these weird hybrids of indigenous peoples co-opting MTV clothing styles. One way to be sensitive is to think carefully about who is going to get your money. Eco-tourism is often a thinly veiled hack job. Eco-tours are supposed to be run by locals but most often they are not.

I think that the current political climate is creating a sense of "us" and "them" which is a picture that I just don't buy into. I want to travel to more Arab speaking countries so that I can export the images of the majority of Arab peoples, their manner and their customs and their incredibly rich culture... they are the most hospitable people on the planet and the vast majority of Arabs condemn violence and acts such as 9/11. The truth is that most people all want the same thing which is a peaceful, safe future for their children.

Just look at our record. The US has covertly or overtly toppled governments around the world for our own economic benefit. Sadly too many Americans get their sole news source from the USA Today or Fox TV News. These are poor sources of real information. US foreign policy has caused suffering the world over. Generally speaking, most Americans are not aware of how our power and policy adversly affects millions of people world wide.
- Justine Shapiro

*Interesting accent. I knew somebody from Ipswich and he didn't sound like that - I understand 'mooseum' and 'moosic' for museum and music are hardcore East Anglian.

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