Otto de Voogd is a Netherlander who has considered the ethical dilemma of traveling in Myanmar.
It is impossible to travel to Myanmar without being confronted by the current travel boycott against the country. Specifically the Campaign for Human Rights and Democracy in Burma which recently launched a new campaign, in which they ask people to sign a pledge, that they will not visit Burma.
All the arguments used in support of the travel boycott may be correct, but there are two points of discussion. The first is about the unequal treatment of offenders, why after all would a travel boycott not be applied across the board to all countries that commit human rights violations? For example why is there no travel boycott against China, for its actions in Tibet or its human rights violations at home?
The second point is that it is unfortunately the people of Myanmar who bear the brunt of this boycott. Already living in difficult circumstances they may now also be starved of the revenues that foreigners could bring them. Rest assured that the generals, with their support from Beijing, will remain in power and live a life of luxury at the expense of their citizens, regardless of the boycott.
I would strongly urge any person who chooses to visit Myanmar, to think very carefully about where they spend their money. Do not go through official travel agents, but visit the country independently.
To read about his visit (and lots of other places – his travel journal is both eclectic and amazingly detailed) go to my new and improved website and follow the link to otto.
And while you’re there you might like to read emails from Suzy in India; I’ve also smartened up the South American pages and posted some photos of our trip last year.