I will admit that I'm not sure when the last attack on tourists was in Egypt.
But I was thinking of more than Egypt. There have been numerous attacks on
tourists over the last 15-20 years throughout North Africa and the Middle
East. I will admit that, statistically, it is probably safer to go there than
drive a car. But staying alive requires that one make conscious decisions
about safety. Radical Islam has convinced many infidels that now is not a
good time to visit, which was after all their intention. As for feeling safer
in Cairo than NY or London, well we can agree to disagree. I'm taking my
family to NY next month. My oldest daughter is planning on visiting London
later this year, wish I were going.
Another issue is "feeling at home". While this is not an issue for me and my
family (we enjoy the foreigness), it is for many people. They feel
uncomfortable in foreign countries. Don't like the food, don't speak the
language, etc. I can still remember doing guard mount in Herzogenaurach,
Germany. Most of the troops did not like Germany and wanted to go home (which
they did every time they got leave). Of course all of Germany that they had
seen was the local bar that catered to American troops and periodic visits to
the red light district. Both great ways to discover Germany and Europe. They
were there for three years, and many really hated every minute of it. I told
my parents that if they wanted to see me they would have to visit Germany.
During my three years in the US Army in Germany I went to Belgium, England,
France, Italy, Austria, Luxembourg, Greece, and the Netherlands. I also worked
with the Dutch, Belgian, German, and British Army. One of my friends did an
exchange with a French regiment. We looked on being stationed overseas as an
opportunity, not something to be endured.
Richmonders can visit the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, about 15 miles from my
house, and view its collection without any of these problems. The same is true
of Londoners and the BM or people in NY and the Met. This ready access to
world class collections of art and antiquities does lead many to take the
plunge and go off and visit those odd foreign places, eat the odd foreign food,
and at least in some instances meet interesting foreign people and learn about
them. And often find that they really aren't that odd and foreign.
Another issue entirely is where do you draw the line. The argument that
antiquities somehow belong to the descendants of the people who created them,
if taken to the ultimate extreme leaves only local museums. Does this mean
that all Rembrants must be returned to the Netherlands? Here in Richmond, Va we
have a very good collection of Faberge eggs, should these all be returned to
Russia? If true then museums will be left with only those non-local objects
that are too unimportant for anyone to want back. If everyone demands the
repatriation of all of the "good stuff" that doesn't leave much for the rest of
the world. This will only encourage cultural isolation, because the vast
majority of us never leave home. Or if we do it is to go to the beach
somewhere. I suspect that most Northern Europeans who go on vacation to the
beaches of the Mediterranean, don't spend much time visiting museums. I
suspect that for the majority of Americans their only exposure to Greek, Roman,
and Egyptian civilization (outside of text books in the one course on ancient
history they take) is field trips to museums. The text books are unlikely to
encourage them to further explore ancient civilizations, the museums may. But
if the museums do not have the ability to inspire awe, most will never return.
"GRAVES-BROWN C.A." wrote:
> Tourist attack in Egypt? I think the last one was in 1997. Personally I
> would feel much safer walking the streets/ looking at the ancients sites of
> Luxor than New York or London.