Terrorism and Tribalism
"What do you think about
Terrorism?" asked my host, Alexandre (pictured right.) I met him on my trip to Manaus, Brazil, located on the Amazon River. (Brazilians like to spice up conversations with direct questions.)
I said that acts of terror are terrible for the victims, of course. But as a traveler, I always thought it made things easier.
After any terrorist incident, everything becomes less expensive, available, and everyone is so nice.
These radicals never singled out the single traveler. They instead try to frighten off the less seasoned vacationer. Thus it reduced air travel prices, hotel occupancies and restaurant customers.
The real victims are the host countries and the travel industry itself.
Alexandre laughed loudly through his nose. He was very surprised at my answer.
I continued by saying that the biggest loser after 9-11 was someone totally unexpected, Saddam Hussein. He lost everything. Before 9-11 he was very close to being a legitimate ruler. But all that changed. I believe Bush attacked Iraq because he believed he was a wartime president and needed a war. So he made a war happen and now we're trapped. No way out.
But similarly, in Vietnam, the real losers after the Vietnam War were the Vietnamese, themselves. For 20 years, thereafter, Vietnam was left with nothing. No money, no supporters, and no friends. Nobody cared about them until they discovered capitalism.
At the same time, the American military won the Cold War, which it wanted to do all along. Our strategy in Vietnam was to stop communism, and that is what we did. Communism never spread beyond Vietnam's borders. In fact the Communists in power there now are Communist in name only and not in ideology. They are fighting a desperate struggle to keep power in a world that wants nothing to do with them anymore.
Similarly, the real losers in the Middle East are the people who are trapped in societies with no rights and no hope of change. No one seems to want the Palestinians in their countries, especially the Arabs. I feel sorry for them.
Terrorists are not the real problem. It's the lack of fairness among countries, and between countries and their people that seems to be the real problem.
What I see in China, Brazil, and Europe is a new breed of young managers who want to change this culture of unfairness. These managers have learned to work together with their counter-parts of other nations. Making the new world work.
There it is… the future.
And the Communists, George W. Bush, the terrorists, the Saudis, the press, the Right, and the Left can't stop them. Each of the new managers knows that one has to be worthwhile, fair, and a person of one's word.
Alexandre strongly agreed.
All this goes to show that any single, narrowly focused and tribalistic viewpoint is wrong. This is the thing that Conservatives, Liberals, Terrorists and Fundamentalists seem to want to ignore.
The ash heap of history is full of people who didn't cooperate with others. Their very lifestyle and beliefs don't work. These are people who think they are the only ones who are right. They are people who don't know how to listen to others.
Alexandre added that he sees more and more people in Brazil looking outside themselves and their beliefs. They're willing to listen to other people's viewpoints. The world is becoming better place.
All in all, it was a very interesting discussion with my dear friend.
One must be very brave in the wilds of the Amazon River basin...
Here is a quick list of Travel Secrets I found out about on my trips. I hope it helps you in your search for better travel:
Go to the Page on My Way to Travel
Nervous about travel?
Travel is Scary
Learn to Like Yourself as You Are
Time Slows Down when Traveling
KISS - Keep It Simple Stupid
The Power of the Open Question
Ask the Unbusy Police Officer
Ask the Locals - They know
Listening - An Important Skill in Travel
Contrast the Old and the New
Some Unusual Travel Insights
Be a Good Guest
Take a Walk - Relax - Enjoy Good Travel
Get Lost on a Bus - I Dare You
Change Course - Follow Someone Else's Idea of a Good Trip
Good Exercise is a Travel Bonus
Interacting with Children in a Foreign Land
Treatment of Americans Abroad
After All - It's Your Vacation