Thursday, May 31, 2012

Why is the Middle East still a tourist destination?

It's less frequent now than it was a couple of years ago; or, at least, we hear about it less.  Those aren't the same thing.  But it seems that two American men traveling Egypt got themselves kidnapped.

Now, the Bedouins aren't quite as bad as Al Qeida or other terrorist groups, but one cannot overstate the danger to these two men.  We pray for their safe return.

We also pray that American tourists, in general, grow a brain stem.  Seriously, is it news that it's dangerous to go to the Middle East?  Has that not been reported?  I'm pretty sure I've heard of several cases of kidnappings.  Was that just me?

I understand that there are some cool things to see in the Middle East.  I, personally, would love to go see the pyramids at Giza, for instance, and other ancient sites.  I'd love to go to Israel and do one of those "walking the Bible" tours.  Many others do as well, and, I'm sure, many actually go even today.

So what sets apart those who get in trouble?  I not-so-humbly submit: stupidity.

Let me define that, so that people don't get unnecessarily offended (I have no problem with people getting offended necessarily).  Ignorance is not knowing something.  Being "dumb" or unintelligent is when you can't make the correct decisions on what you know.  Both of these are excusable.  If you don't know something, you don't know it.  If you're mentally incapable of making good decisions, that's sad, but understandable.  Stupidity, however, is when you know something and actively choose to ignore it or not to act on it.

People know that the Middle East is unsafe.  They know there are terrorists, Bedouins, and corrupt governments.  Even in the relatively safe Israel, there are occasional rocket attacks from Palestine and (sometimes) Egypt.  Add to that the general unrest in the wake of the so-called "Arab Spring" and the Middle East is just not some place that you want to go gallivanting on your own.

Had these men been part of a larger group, they probably would have been fine.  Had they stayed in the cities, they probably would have been fine.  Instead, they were alone, and out in the desert.  Given the situation in Egypt: that's stupid.

So here's hoping they get home safely; my prayers go to them and their families.  Here's also hoping that others take the hint, and act smart if they're going to the Middle East.

1 comment:

  1. The pyramids are a huge quickly realize that if not for French, American and German archaeologists, Egypt would have no antiquities to speak of...they would have been looted and sold. When I was there in 2006, I felt safe walking around Cairo by myself. Now? Probably wouldn't. Back then, there was a pretty burly security apparatus to protect their #1 source of income. I don't know if that is still in place, or if they now view tourists as prey as they likely wouln't be dissuaded by the islamists for whatever they do to the infidel.