Against tourism #2

Travel is being, getting, going at great distance, from the comfort of your mother’s womb to the loneliness of remote lands where everything is anew. 

A sailor, a documentarian, a hippy, a photographer, a businessman, an adventurer, a nomad, a passionate lover running away from the banality of a prearranged comfortable life in the suburbs; for them, there is no place called return. 

Home becomes a distant memory, it turns into an abstract past reality to be preserved only by guilt if any loved one left behind. The traveler knows no home, no reassurance, no pampering – only exploration and discovery.

Tourism dislocates; it seduces, it bribes, it coerces violently. It dispossesses ceaselessly as a necessary means for its endless reproduction. 

It automatically transcribes Greece as tzatziki, Italy as Pizza, Paris as Disneyland and Thailand as sex; it once had the arrogance to present Africa as a place where you solely hunt and kill wild beasts. 

Thus, tourism steals and deprives people’s past; it eliminates memory and depth, culture and taste, it falsifies reality once perceived as a collective civilizational effort to an economic transaction between two partners in crime. 

Tourism cannot, and should not, be abolished. It should be delegitimized, ridiculed, discouraged, mocked; it should be unwired from the norms of our imagination. 

False (mass touristic) consciousness must generate guilt in the global north and feelings of shame in the global south.

And that would be the beginning of the end for it. 


Against tourism #1

Tourism might, or might not be a sin, as Werner Herzog famously put it, but it is certainly a virus; a lethal one. It killed our idea of beauty conceived long before it was “discovered,” therefore damaged for good, by mass tourism. 

As for the typology of tourist behavior, nothing to be added that wasn’t rendered already in ‘Dawn of the Dead,’ back in 1978. 

That’s right; zombies storming a mall.

Tourism is a disease meant to obliterate our collective memory for the benefit of the experiential consumerist compulsion of each single individual, an illness with no antidote till now, a rather shortsighted human being.

And yet, the arrival of another deadly virus is attempting to destroy it. Hopefully for good.  


baby, it's cold inside; echoes from a (social) distance #10

The word is now a virus and language has turned into a serial killer…

breaking News! Trump tweets that New York is now a “hot spot”.

Whether I like it or not my mind travels back exactly three years ago. I think of the East Aegean and its European handled conflict zones - they called them “hot spots”.

March 2020, I read about “First Response” medical teams fighting worldwide an invisible enemy.

I instinctively remember the days I had to witness non-medical around that time  “First Response” teams fighting another “enemy” which took the form of men and women – they called them “migrant flows”.

The sun is out today, it is the beginning of spring and we ‘re all waiting for Easter (of the coming year). I see people crossing hectically the street when they see strangers approaching from afar.

Three years ago it wasn’t bellum omnium contra omnes; the hygienic war was rather held between “us” and “them,” employees of various nationalities vs refugees of various failed states -  that was a social distance sponsored by seminars provided by the United Nations: “no handshakes, no touching please between employees and beneficiaries!”

From my balcony I gaze at passers-by fearful of being viciously attacked by virus infected outdoors surfaces.

Back once more, hoping it’s going to be the last time, only to recall the vivid memory of the disgusted disapproving looks of my colleagues every time I touched with my bare hands the 2.4 meter high metal fence of the camp decorated with two layers of razor barbed wire.

Do not enquire, you ‘ll find no causality here, only the bitter taste of the twisted plots of history. 

The words is now a virus and makes me realize that… baby, it might be cold inside, but out there right now is burning hot!

As David Runciman recently put it, 

“for now the war is all there is, and the peace will have to take care of itself.”