Monday, April 24, 2006

Just bombing around in the sun.


"Everyone wants to go to Egypt. Everyone wants to return to Italy."
Tourist Expression.
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Ahmed Mustafa, a waiter at a coffee shop near the first blast, said a fireball tore through a shopping mall car park in Sharm el-Sheikh town at about 1:15am.

The blast turned cars into twisted metal, blew down masonry on nearby buildings and shattered windows for hundreds of metres around.

"I saw a car flying up in the air, people running," restaurant owner Yehya Mohammed said by telephone. "This is a horrible setback for tourism here."
www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200507/s1420973.htm

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Tourists and terrorists have in comon a love of travel, meeting new people, living new and exciting experiences not to be found in the old hometown. Both groups bring new ideas, new business opportunities, and new experiences to the locals. We have such a lot in common.

The two groups just can't get along! Tourists tend to romanticise the locals in the hope of heightening the experience of their vacations, of bringing back to the drudgeries of mundanity some stellar memories of exotica, days of living that shine brightly in the life of the harried and bored. No one wishes to go to a boring and unmemorable place on ones limitied vacation. No, one goes to a place where people are special, where things are greater than great, making the expences worth the expences. Terrorists take the same tack, in a sense, going to foreign and exotic places to kill and wreck and exterminate the worst people on Earth, to have the greatest experiences they can in their limited time and at the limited expence they can afford. No more drudgeries for the terrorist who manages in a couple of weeks off from the toil of peasnatry to have a lovely break in the name of a great vacation for the sake of Allah. Paradise.

Boom goes Dahab, Boom Paree.

For the third time in a year and a half Muslims have attacked tourists in Egypt on a large scale. There is some method to the madness. It's not simply an attack on the tourists and infidels themselves: it's an attack on the Egyptian economy, and more directly on the ability of the Egyptian government to control the lives of the Egyptian people. If, as so many Egyptians do, they rely on tourist money to survive in the style to which they are accustomed, then to withdraw that money from the hands of locals is throw them into even greater poverty than they exist in at present; the result being a further hatred of the government. The plan, of course, is to destroy the credibility of the government, or actually to destroy the willingness of the Egyptian people to tolerate the misrule of said government any longer. Destroy the tourist-based economy, ruin the lives and livelihoods of the people, and end the government's rule. It works.
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The Economics of Tourism

[....]

On November 17, 1997, a terrorist attack targeting visitors to the Temple of Hatshepsut in Luxor, threw Egypt's tourism industry into turmoil. The negative effect of the Luxor tragedy is clearly reflected by the data. Visitor arrivals to Egypt declined by 13.8 per cent from 1997 to 1998. Egypt's international tourism receipts decreased by 45.4 per cent in1998 compared to 1997. Egypt is one of those countries in the world in which tourism is a substantial share of overall economic activity. Tourism is Egypt's second largest foreign exchange earner, [foreign aid being number one] and Egypt accounts for 50 per cent of all tourist arrivals to Africa and the Middle East.

[....]

The tourism industry generates substantial economic benefits to both host countries and tourists' home countries. It is an especially important industry to developing countries. The main benefits of tourism to a country are foreign exchange earnings, tax revenues, business opportunities for budding entrepreneurs, and employment for workers in the industry.

According to the WTO, "Tourism is one of the top five export categories for as many as 83% of countries and is the main source of foreign exchange earnings for at least 38% of countries." Foreign exchange earnings from exports are used to purchase imports and augment reserves. They generate income in the host country and can stimulate consumer spending and investment in other sectors of the economy.

Tax receipts from tourism are both direct and indirect. Direct tax receipts are generated from the incomes earned by businesses and workers. Indirect taxes are duties levied on goods and services purchased by tourists. The World Travel and Tourism Council estimates that tax contributions related to tourism worldwide were US $800 billion in 1998.

Tourism is a monopolistically competitive industry. It has many relatively small enterprises producing slightly differentiated products and services. Barriers to entry and exit are relatively low. For these reasons, the tourism industry provides tremendous opportunity for relatively small businesses to thrive and is a leading generator of jobs. The hotel accommodation sector alone provided around 11.3 million jobs worldwide in 1995, according to the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP). Tourism generates jobs directly through hotels, restaurants, nightclubs, taxis, and souvenir sales. Indirectly, jobs are generated through the supply of goods and services required by tourism-related suppliers. The WTO estimates that tourism represents 7% of jobs worldwide.

International Tourism Receipts: % of Export Earnings (1998)
Egypt 19.0
http://www.sonic.net/~schuelke/TerrorismVsTourism.html
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This is the Politics of Confrontation that we have written about so often here. The local social conditions made delibverately so unbearable by direct and planned chaos leads the state into disproportionate reaction agianst the general populace to the point the people rebel and do the work of the terrorists for them. Wreck the tourist industry, destroy the economy, impoverish poor people even further, and bring about a repressive police response to that as well, and The Revolution is on the march.

The following article was written less than nine months ago.
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All is not lost


28 July - 3 August 2005

In recent years, tourism has advanced in its position as one of Egypt's top hard currency earners. Two years ago, tourism trailed Suez Canal revenues as Egypt's second largest source of revenue, bringing in roughly four billion dollars annually. Today however, it is Egypt's greatest source of income, generating $6.6 billion just last year. Moreover, Egypt hopes to increase tourism by 50 per cent to 12 million visitors a year by 2015.

[T]he listed companies related to tourism were delivered a heavy blow with Orascom Hotels and Development, the largest builder of hotels and leisure facilities in the Middle East, losing 13 per cent on Sunday only to lose another 3.8 per cent on Monday to end at LE32.1.
It is estimated that after the Luxor attack, Egyptian tourism fell by over 20 per cent. Consequently, the Egyptian economy continued to suffer for years as a result of the incident, particularly since it was augmented by the Asian financial crisis. The Luxor incident is often cited as one of the reasons for the hard currency crunch which eventually lead to the devaluation and later the floatation of the pound in January 2003.

The Standard Chartered Bank report illustrates that following the Luxor attacks, tourist arrivals dropped by seven per cent and it took two years of stability before numbers recovered to their 1996 level. In the wake of 9/11, tourist numbers dropped by 16 per cent after already being depressed by the outbreak of the Palestinian Intifada in 2000.

Only in the last two years has the tourism industry begun to show strong signs of recovery. Numbers rose by 16 per cent in 2003 and by 34 per cent in 2004, the latter case representing an increase of two million visitors -- the largest ever annual increase.

[....]
http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2005/753/fo6.htm
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The following list of terrorist attacks in Egypt will certainly bring a wry smile to the lips of our jihadi readers. We'll passover the attacks of April 7, '05, April 30, '05, and July 22, '05 to include just one from April 24, 2006. The rest are available at the link at bottom.


April 24, '06 -- Three powerful bomb blasts thundered through Egypt's Red Sea resort town of Dahab today, killing 30 people & seriously injuring more than 100 more victims, rescue officials reported to Reuters. An outraged Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak condemned the blasts as a terrorist act, the state-run Egyptian news MENA said. Local residents told reporters they saw body parts & debris littering the street outside one restaurant. Several eye-witnesses said the explosions were centered at the tourist bazaar in Dahab, a Sinai peninsula beach & scuba diving center that is popular with foreign vacationers, including Israelis. Terrorist attacks have killed about 100 people at several tourist resorts of Egypt's Sinai region in the past two years. Bombings in the resorts of Taba & Ras Shitan, near the Israel border, killed 34 people in October '04. In July '05, suicide attackers in the resort of Sharm el-Sheik killed at least 88 tourists & hotel workers. The Egyptian government has said the militants who carried out the bombings were locals without international connections. However, other security agencies contend they suspect Al Qaeda is behind this latest attack. Dahab is a popular, low-cost getaway for young Western backpackers including Israelis, who are lured in by exotic scuba diving sites and low-cost resorts, mainly huts nestled alongside the beach. In recent years, a number of more upscale hotels have sprouted on these beaches, including a luxurious 5-star Hilton property. Dahab is located on the Gulf of Aqaba, over on the eastern side of the Sinai Peninsula -- roughly 65 miles south of Taba -- near the border at the southern tip of Israel.
http://www.usdivetravel.com/T-EgyptTerrorism.html
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This is the time to go to Dahab. The room rates will be dirt cheap, the cafes nearly empty, and the dive schools will be begging you to sign up for your next ticket. Even the sea snakes will likely find another place to feast for a while. There's a window of opportunity here that the sensible tourist will take advantage of. As for me? I'm not risking it. I'm off to Bali or Moscow or London or Madrid or New York.

10 comments:

Pastorius said...

Dag,
You said:

"Tourists tend to romanticise the locals in the hope of heightening the experience of their vacations, of bringing back to the drudgeries of mundanity some stellar memories of exotica, days of living that shine brightly in the life of the harried and bored."

Very well put. This is what I saw in France; that Paris is simply another big city where people live, mostly, lives of drudgery.

It is hardly "the City of Lights."

There is little hope in Paris. There are few smiles. There is mostly bitternes, nostalgia, and "sophistication", which generally means having a disdain for enthusiasm and earnestness.

Point is, people everywhere work and struggle through their lives. The only difference is the philosophy by which they live. Ask them what that is. They will tell you.

In France, they are about tradition, sophistication, and respecting culture.

In America, we are about living free, and having a good time (life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness).

The worst thing you can do is romanticize the locals.

It makes you stupid.

Pastorius said...

By the way, I know that is a digression from the subject of you post, but one of the cities that people most romanticize is Paris, so I thought I would post my thoughts on that place.

Sorry for the digression.

P.S. I fucking hated Paris.

;-)

dag said...

Pastoriusw, I'll kill ten innocent by-standers for that insult!

Anonymous said...

Dag,
I'm glad you reminded me that tourists romanticize locals in tourist spots all over the world, not just in Vancouver's Gastown.
A native guy named Eddie Eagle (he made up the name Eagle for himself) hired me to paint a picture of an eagle he had drawn. I painted it, like you'd do a paint-by-number, but he didn't pay me. He got extremely aggressive when I reminded him of that fact and I was afraid of getting my skull cracked so I shut up.
A tourist browsing in a native art shop bought that artwork signed by this noble savage.
Mo

Charles Henry said...

Speaking as someone who rarely goes on vacation, can anybody explain to me why I constantly see tourists have photos taken of themselves facing **away** from the beautiful sights they have supposedly traveled to see??
Seems to me, that for these photos to have true long-lasting significance, someone would want a photo of themselves looking at the sight in the background, in order to capture their reaction to it.

Instead, everybody has pictures taken of themselves with their backs to beauty.

Maybe I'm too romantic? or not romantic enough? I don't know, but it's always been a mystery to me.

I ask in all sincerity: why go somewhere special and have yourself immortalized not looking at it?

Anonymous said...

“Tourists tend to romanticise the locals...”

I found it hard to romanticise the locals of Dahab. There were a few truly ironic figures though. My friendly drug dealer, a local Bedu, was the strangest. We’d get high and shoot the shit. He liked western things and western clothes. He also told me he liked bin Laden “too much”, a sexually suggestive admission that I wrote off to poor English skills. I picked up his message though: he was an al-Qaeda fan. Now his small tourist town has been bombed. His drug revenues will undoubtedly decline. I wonder if he’ll still be a bin-Laden fan? Oddly, I think the answer will be yes.

na

dag said...

I've been composing a reply since you wrote, anon. Very funny and insightful.

dag said...

Anon. NA asked for a working definition of Left dhimmi fascism. This is a hurried response to that in the context of the bombings at Dahab last day.

I'm not the right person to be commenting on tourists, I think, but here I am.

Tourism raises the cackles of the average would-be snob even faster than does admission of dining at McDonald's, of raising small dogs, and of gardening nasturtiums. All of these activities are "inauthentic."

In the 18th century the "Grand Tour" caught on as a central component of the education of the classically minded bourgeoisie. Ruling elite Europeans saw themselves as inheritors of the Empires of antiquity, and because so many, especially the British, had and empire, they set out to imitate their predecessors in learning those dead languages, Greek and Latin, and in rediscovering the very ruins of antiquity to gaze upon them and become superior to them. They stood on the shoulders of the past-- not quite giants. Among many, pan-Hellenism became a fetish. And so on.

That, today, is tourism for the masses, though it more likely means in practice a bank holiday at Brighton or a sub-let in Spain or the Isle of Man. Yes, some even go so far as Egypt. It's the proletarian version of the grand tour, and it is very much a middle class pass-time. There are two kinds of snobbery involved in disliking it: the rich jet-set snobs who never see the people as they are. Those who see the tourist hordes as the Masses, whom they avoid quite successfully. The worst snobs are those who are poor, backpackers who despise the tourist as superficial trinket-snatchers.

The working class tourist is family oriented and time-bound. They have, unless they're French unionists, a few weeks to see something of the world outside their familiar routines, and often that difference is the return to last year's vacation place. They go, for example, to Club Med tourist bubble resorts in Jamaica where they see locals employed as waiters and maids, all very safe, and rightly so.

The locals, on the other hand, see an endless stream of tourists coming with an unending source of money, people who do nothing but lay around in the sun, drink, and have sex. The locals do not see the 50 weeks of effort that goes into the two in the sun. The local view of the tourist is that he or she is always lazy and drunk and promiscuous even at home, the land of endless easy money and sex. Those who criticise the tourist are those Westerners who actually meet them, the backpackers and the outcast hustlers. The backpackers have a class snobbery that attaches itself to the locals in an attempt to distinguish the backpacker from his more affluent compatriot. The backpacker finds his identity in not being a tourist but in being a traveller, somewhat like a very poor aristocrat of the 18th century, the grand tour on the dirt cheap. And like the aristocrat of the 18th century, the backpacking hippie reduces the peasant to a picaresque. It is here that we see the first elements of philobarbarism emerging clearly.

In reaction to the un-heroic and unadventurous tourist, the hippie is "in solidarity" with The! People! of whatever place takes his or her fancy, most dangerously in the Muslim world, and specifically in so-called Palestine. This becomes a mindless sentimentalisation of the barbarian. In the Raj era it was known as "going native." Today it is known as "being at one with the people." One who is not elite in terms of accomplishment is elite in moral terms, in terms of gnostic insight. Those who haven't got much money over-compensate by having an over-abundance of cultural sensitivity. They don't just buy trinkets from The! People!, the identity with The! People!. They actually live with The! People!. Vicariously they become one of The! People! through solidarity. Having little or nothing, the hippie becomes a moral aristocrat on a grand tour.

There are numerous posts here on the topic of infantalisation, which I'll leave for now. I'll touch briefly on McDonald's.

Food at McD. is not natural. It's packaged, therefore industrialised and commodified. This is a sin in the eyes of the snob because it violates solidarity with the peasants who lives with and as part of The! Land!. To live isolated from and against The! Land! is to be an inauthentic being, cut off from ones natural state of right being.

I've written and commented at great length and in detail on this topic under heading of ecology fascism, neofeudalism, and modern agriculture. One may also refer to Herder, Fichte, Heidegger, Darre and numerous other posts for details.

I haven't touched at all on dogs, a middle class version of landed aristocratic value, that of breeding farm animals. The average middle class person in the suburbs of America or the inner cities of Europe can't really breed horses in the flat. One might find space enough to have a dog or a cat instead. And a lawn is surplus agricultural holding. These things are condemned as inauthentic in the life of the middle class person. It's not aristocratic, manorial, or monastic, and it has nothing to do with man's long-tenured existence as a peasant. It's seen as the life of a philistine, a person without taste or education.

The whole of it reduces to counter-Enlightenment fascism, into Romance fascism, into philobarbarism, into cheer-leader dhimmitude.

This blog has been over the course of the past eleven months an examination of the relationship we have with ourselves as divided between the Modernist progressives and the neo-feudalist reactionaries.

Last day a commentator asked rightly for a working definition of Left dhimmi fascism.

We can see Left dhimmi fascism briefly at Dahab.

The Hilton Hotel is walled off and surrounded by armed guards. Those inside are totally isolated from events outside. In the midst of the Sinai there are concrete reflecting pools in the sand so one may gaze down from ones window to see--oneself.

Dabab itself caters to divers, middle class people who have a few weeks off time to see a world unlike any other, an underwater world of amazing beauty and exotica.

As well, it's cheap like sand and pot smokers can lie on carpets under date-thatch huts and zone out for ages.

The locals make a lot of money, and in all everyone should be fairly happy with living.

The Bedouin are different. And the Muslims are something else again.

The Bedouin are the dumpster-divers of the desert. To live among them one must be nearly physically indestructible, which, sorry to report, my partner was not. The Bedouin are vile and filthy and repulsive people, and those who romanticise them commit a crime against Humanity-- the humanity of Bedouin. They live in conditions of such extreme deprivation that no animal rights activist would tolerate it in a dog kennel. And yet, same activists fight for the continuation of same conditions for Bedouin, a matter of sentimentalised philobarbarism at the expense of people. No, hippies do not live with them because Bedouin die like flies, and those hippies who go to stay with them die too. The intelligent or even crafty Bedu goes to Dahab and makes a commercial living off of tourists. The rest die like the feral things they are. Worse, they raise their babies in the same environment to perpetuate the cycle. Hippies and idiots support it from outside, from conference rooms at the Hilton.

What do we have then? An ever flowing wave of rich tourists who lay in the sun, spend money, have sex, smoke pot, do nothing, and are loaded with money. We have those who come to tell the local they are exploited by same tourists. Admiration and awe turns to confusion and bewilderment and then to rage and suicidal violence. We can thank Presbyterian missionaries and U.N. slackers for such.

Daemonising the West and romanticising the barbarians leads to murder. And there are many who are willing to capitalise on both sides of this tarnished coin: there are those who have power, status and a meaningful existence in the old order, values they do not wish to abandon. The sheiks have the luxury of money from the West and the entitlements of local privilege. The people suffer. The Left dhimmi fascists wallow in sentimentalised guilt and moral superiority, and the locals die in squalor.

The cynics unite with the idiots to perpetuate a cycle of hatred and violence and phantasies of the Golden Age.

People are dead in Dahab today. They died because of a bad joke. Humanism is not sentimentality writ larger each day. Humanism is not romance of grand-gesture death and suicide in the public community-eye. Humanism is not heroic, not exotic, not very interesting. Humanism is about Humans. Fascism is a phantasy about something that never is but that always must be later. It is a game in which boys play dress-up and rule in a dream. It's endless playing at "cowboys and indians" with real death. It's a perpetual childhood game of irresponsibility.

Muslims play this childish phantasy game for children, and the Left dhimmi fascists tell them it's a good game.

I'm passing through, like everyone else, and stopping on the way here and there to ask about Vanity Fair. I get off track. I go away and wonder. I'm not a tourist, not even a back-packing hippie. What do I do?

Count the dead.

Anonymous said...

The philobarbarism you complain about may run counter to enlightenment ideals, it may be influenced by anti-rationalist romanticism, but it isn’t fascism. When Mussolini marched on Abyssinia he didn’t do it to marvel at the primitive authenticity of Haile Selassie's court. He did it for the glory of the Italian Empire. Fascists were more likely to celebrate the slaughter of primitives than they were to identify themselves with their plight in the face of creeping modernity.

dag said...

"Fascists were more likely to celebrate the slaughter of primitives than they were to identify themselves with their plight in the face of creeping modernity."

The commentator above claims that philobarbarism is not fascism. I'll go that far. I'll even state tautologically, to keep it available to the minds of some, that only fascism is fascism. Happy now?

"He did it for the glory of the Italian Empire."

No, the Italian fascists did not identify with the Ethiopians. Who did they identify with? The Romans. The Imperial Romans, not a barbarian lot by any stretch. But what does that mean? They identified their essence, found their athenticity in Romulus and Reemus. The Italian fascists didn't wallow in sentimentalisation of Ethiopeans, they found the barbarism in their own imaginary past. For the fascist, the future is the past, and an imaginary heroic past. For the sake of returning to a Golden Age of great warriors and barbarians.

To confuse Left dhimmi fascism with Italian fascism is to either not understand any of the arguments I've presented here or it is to decide to pretend one doesn't see them.

For the Left dhimmi fascist to romanticise the barbarian past is not to say that one romanticises ones own ethnic past. One can, and on the Left, does
romanticise the barbarian as essence even without and likely because of a lack of ethnic ties.

Mussolini indvaded Ethiopia because it was one of the few places he felt he could win a war against. He did so to inflate the myth of the Italian fascist warrior. He did so to create a nativist philobarbarism in Italy.

The Left dhimmi philobarbarist, if one looks at the term dhimmi, shows clearly that the Left is creating a phantasy barbarian from outside the left and the West to attack Modernity from within. European Leftists do not have an agenda of reviving, as yet, a native superman myth of Europeans, they have instead a myth of the Palestinians, for example.

Who are the pure and heroic barbarians? Not us but the others. We are the imperialists, the racists, the bad guys, and they are the pure, the heroic, the great. Hence, anon, dhimmi fascism.

If there are more questions or if I haven't made this plain enough or if I've missed something important, please ask for further clarification. If I can I'll address this again until we have some clarity.