Why I Regret Visiting Myanmar

Here I go again, being all serious about world problems. I am going to be that person who has to bring up the downside of visiting the travel world’s new darling, Myanmar.  I wrestled with the idea of going. It weighed heavily on me knowing I could be supporting a regime that endorses ethnic cleansing. Oh you hadn’t heard that Myanmar was committing genocide? Let me briefly fill you in and tell you why I regret visiting Myanmar.

Brief History

Since Myanmar (Burma) received its independence from Britain in 1948, civil war has been waged continuously in various parts of the country. For decades Myanmar was ruled by a cruel and oppressive military junta that was known for random imprisonments, torture and complete lack of exposure to the outside world. Tourism was only permitted in a very controlled way and for only a day or sometimes up to a week.

In November 2010, President Thein Sein took office in an election that was stage-managed by the military junta. He freed hundreds of political prisoners, eased censorship laws and established a cordial working relationship with Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Prize-winning human rights activist who is the daughter of the beloved freedom fighter, General Aung San. She had been under house arrest for years, oppressed by the same people who assassinated her father.

In November 2015, democratic elections were held and won by Aung San Suu Kyi. Anyone who had followed events in Myanmar, as myself, would have been excited about this. She is educated, articulate and was a hero, the great hope for a democratic and free future in Myanmar. Sadly, this has not been the case.

Who Really Has Power?

Aung San Suu Kyi’s government doesn’t seem to exert real control over the country’s security forces, since private militias are beholden to the junta that controlled Myanmar prior to the election.  These militia members continue to commit war crimes and other serious violations of human rights around the country, particularly against minority groups such as the Rohingya. Since Myanmar’s military launched operations in Rakhine state (a region on the far west, bordering Bangladesh) last October, many sources have described witnessing slaughter of civilians, unexplained disappearances, and the systematic rape of women and girls, as well as entire villages being burned.

Aung San Suu Kyi, has ignored, if not been outright complicit in the atrocities against the Rohingya. It is widely felt that she wields no power over the military and is merely a figure-head who has managed to entice western powers.

Who Are The Rohingya?

The Rohingya are one of Myanmar’s many ethnic minorities and are Muslims. They are likely descendants of Arab traders and other groups who have been in the region for generations, probably since the 15th century. The roughly 1.1 million Rohingya Muslims living in the Burmese state of Rakhine have faced apartheid like conditions since 1942.

To be specific, they have been denied citizenship under The Burmese Nationality Law. Myanmar’s government sees them as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and this is a common attitude among many Burmese. The Rohingya are deprived of the right to free movement and of higher education. They are not allowed to travel without official permission and were previously required to sign a commitment not to have more than two children. They are subjected to routine forced labour where typically a Rohingya man will have to give up one day a week to work on military or government projects and one night for sentry duty. Much of their arable land, has been confiscated by the military to give to Buddhist settlers from elsewhere in Myanmar

Rejected by the country they call home and unwanted by its neighbors, the Rohingya are impoverished, virtually stateless and have been fleeing Myanmar in droves for decades.

Visiting Myanmar

Why Were the Rohingya Persecuted?

During the Second World War. Myanmar, (at the time called Burma), was under British colonial rule. The majority Buddhist population sided with the Japanese invaders, including Aung San Suu Kyi’s father, General Aung San. They wanted the British expelled and believed Japan would be victorious in the war. Conversely, the Rohingya minority stayed loyal to the British. After the war and the British victory, there was significant ill will towards the Rohingya.

In 1948, Myanmar became independent and the British rulers left. In 1962, there was a military coup by the army chief of staff General Ne Win. He implemented a program called “The Burmese Road to Socialism.” This was basically a communist manifesto and was an economic disaster for Myanmar. Scapegoating 101 teaches military dictators how to proceed in this situation…blame a minority.

The military passed a number of laws.  The Emergency Immigration Act of 1974 stripped all the Rohingya of their citizenship. That was followed by the 1982 Citizenship Law, which said all Rohingya are actually foreigners; they’re actually all illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, and they should all go back to Bangladesh.

Recent Events

More recently, roughly 500,000 Rohingya have been driven out of Rakhine state in September and into Bangladesh. Bangladesh does not recognize the Rohingya as refugees and Amnesty International says hundreds of fleeing Rohingya have been detained and forcibly returned to an uncertain fate.

Evidence is difficult to gather. Groups like Amnesty International get much of their information from satellite imagery that usually confirms what interviews with refugees say about mass executions and burning of villages. The Tula Toli Massacre is one such example. Though the total death toll cannot be determined due to the restrictions enforced by Myanmar government on the entry of journalists, aid workers, diplomats and eye-witnesses suggest the number of people killed during the massacre is close to 500.

Read More about recent events:  Desperate Rohingya Flee Myanmar

The UN considers this a Level 3 Emergency and has just this week requested funds for over 700,000 Rohingya children. Read More

Why I Regret Visiting Myanmar

The Burmese Military’s Position

Although as I have written, the violence is not new, the increased violence of the past 2 weeks stems from an attack on the Burmese military.  Militants from Rohingya minority stormed police posts on August 25. The attacks killed at least a dozen members of Burma’s security forces and prompted clashes that have resulted in the deaths of some 400 people. The Burmese military claims most of the dead are Rohingya insurgents, but Rohingya activists counter that civilian casualties are the majority of those killed.

This militant attack was by an organization called ARSA, (Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army). This little-known outfit has very little resources, is relatively new, and made up of foreigners. The Rohingya, historically, have been the most non-violent people in Myanmar. However now, foreigners have tried to radicalize the Rohingya population. The Rohingya at this point have nothing to lose. Not to excuse any kind of violence, but I wonder how many of us in this position could stay completely peaceful. I know I couldn’t.

Some experts consider this attack on the military just a convenient excuse and the reaction completely disproportionate. Kind of like killing a fly with a sledgehammer. The military was already engaging in a buildup. Now they had an excuse to try to kill hundreds of thousands of civilians. In some areas, all the Buddhist residents were evacuated, but the military did not evacuate a single Rohingya civilian prior to bringing in helicopter gunships and soldiers. They burned villages and drove much of the Rohingya into the forests and over the border

Aung San Suu Ky’s Position

It’s hard to imagine why this Nobel Prize winning human rights activists is so silent about this genocide. At first it seemed she was trying to diplomatically walk a thin line between angering the international community and angering the nationalist Buddhist monks who have significant power among the people. Lately it seems that the ethnic cleansing doesn’t really bother her.

The BBC tried to press her to actually use the term Rohingya, and she refused. She was later interviewed by Mishal Husain, a prominent BBC interviewer, and was caught on a hot mic saying “No one told me that I was going to be interviewed by a Muslim.”


Militant Buddhists?

I had always associated Buddhism with peace. Buddhist monks don’t start wars and cause problems, right? Well in Myanmar, the truth is shattering my cozy little image. There are a group of hardline anti-Islamist Buddhist Monks  called Ma Ba Tha that are spreading fear and hate amongst the community.

The Buddhism followed in Myanmar is not the Buddhism most are familiar with. They don’t recognize the Dalai Lama. Theravada Buddhism is actually very militant. They believe all other ideologies and religions have to be suppressed in order for Buddhism to thrive. They believe that Islam is a threat to their country.

Muslims make up only about 4 percent of the country’s 53 million people, and the Rohingya make up part of that minority. It’s hard to imagine that 4 percent of a country is a threat but this is how fear mongering works. I’ve seen this story before. I see it now all over the world. Fear of Islamization is what causes countries to close its borders to Syrian and Iraqi refugees.

Fear is what makes many people turn their backs on humanity.

Read More: Can Anyone Stop Burma’s Hardline Buddhist Monks

The Face of Buddhist Terror (the Buddhist Bin Laden)


Yes, I Went

I visited Myanmar in February of 2016 without knowing as much as I should have. Prior to my trip I knew about the cruel military dictatorship of the past and about the “hero activist” now in charge. After my trip was planned, literally days before I left, I was shown a video by a friend of Rohingya children being thrown into the fires in front of their families. I honestly cannot vouch for the origin of the video. I am not the NSA. However, if there was any shred of truth to this, I wanted to find out. I was naive to think I would learn any of this while there. Absolutely nobody will talk about this subject. I encountered people who spoke English well enough to ask me about Donald Trump but suddenly clam up and feign misunderstanding at my questions.

Rakhine state is completely off-limits to tourists and most locals. The government doesn’t want anyone from the outside to see what’s happening. If it wasn’t for humanitarian aid groups and people on other sides of the borders, nobody would know. These are the tactics of “Old Myanmar”, the Myanmar the existed prior to 2010, when things “changed”.

My Past Visit

I actually visited during this time, back in 2006, as a day trip from Thailand. We had to leave our passports at the border, because we weren’t supposed to be staying there. The tour guide warned us not to ask locals anything about their lives. Do not discuss politics. There are spies everywhere. If anyone even talks to a tourist, they can be accused of giving us information the government doesn’t want us to have and will promptly be tossed in jail and tortured. I could see fear in people’s eyes back then. Many of them had never seen a western tourist. The locals were shy, sweet, and quick to smile.  That one day broke my heart. I will never forget it.

I was thrilled to learn about the elections and changes in Myanmar and very excited to go back, to once again see these sweet fearful people that deserved so much better. By the time I actually went, I had learned of new atrocities in Myanmar and my joy was significantly dampened.

How Can I Actually Help the People?

I researched where to stay and how to support locals, not the government. Any large or expensive resort is either owned by the generals or foreigners. Therefore staying there does little to help local people. I chose small hotels and guest houses. Still, I had to purchase a visa. Visa equals government money. I had to pay $20 to see the archaeological site at Bagan, perhaps the most visited place in the country. Does this money go to conservation of the historical site? Sadly, only a tiny portion of the $4 million per year they make does.

Read More: Entrance Fees

There are educated tourists and tourist groups out there who care about this sort of thing and make an effort. However, many really don’t care where their money goes. Example: One of the best luxury hotels is the Aureum Palace, owned by U Tay Za, reportedly the richest man in the country and a close associate of the former military dictator, Gen. Than Shwe. U Tay Za is also the owner of Air Bagan and Asia Wings (the country’s biggest private airlines), five other luxury hotels and beach resorts in Myanmar, and the Htoo Group, a conglomerate that includes mobile-phone services and timber concessions.  Mr. Tay Za has been described by the United States Department of the Treasury as a “notorious henchman and arms dealer.” His hotel has been criticized by UNESCO for ruining the landscape. It STILL has over 80% occupancy.

(Source  NYT)

What Should International Powers Do

Ok, not the main focus here as a travel blogger, but I will say that arming the people who commit atrocities should be one of the first things to stop. Many western countries sell arms to nations who do bad things with them. Let’s be clear. I’m not singling out these countries as being any worse than my own (the United States). But regarding Myanmar, it is notable that the British, Australian and Israeli governments have recently trained or provided military equipment for the Myanmar military.

Countries need to open their borders to refugees. India, Bangladesh and China have all threatened to send the Rohingya back to what ultimately may lead to their deaths. I’ve heard the Rohingya called the most friendless people in the world and it seems to be a true statement.

What Should Tourists Do?

Let’s get back to us tourists. Should we be going to countries like this?  I foolishly went, hoping to learn more and see for myself what’s going on. No such luck. No tourist will accomplish this. Journalists can barely accomplish this at the moment.  I ended up cutting my trip short after just a few days because it didn’t feel right visiting Myanmar under these circumstances.

I already know some of the counter arguments.

Oh, every country has its issues. You might as well not go anywhere. The USA, isn’t exactly a pillar of ethics either. 

Yes, I get all that. I agree…somewhat. This is a genocide. It is systematic, state sponsored, ethnic cleansing. This is not your average human rights issue. If we don’t as travelers draw some sort of line, then what’s the point of caring about any of it? Some call this Southeast Asia’s Srebenica (the July 1995 massacre of 8000 Bosnian Muslims). The US and NATO went to war in that case! Let that digest for a second.

Why punish the locals? It helps them if we go. 

I typically agree with this line of thinking. Spending our money in thoughtful ways, can really help locals in poor countries. I think that increased tourism in many cases helps countries “open up” to new ideas and ultimately leads to positive things. However, I’m not sure this is the case in Myanmar. Locals that won’t talk about these issues aren’t exactly prime candidates for education about why they should care about racism and ethnic cleansing.

In addition, I don’t see how continuing to spend money here as tourists, money that mostly goes right to the government, actually helps locals. Not to mention, an estimated 40% of money spent here by tourists actually leaves the country. A pedicure at a hotel spa, dinner at a restaurant; these seemingly innocuous activities usually put money in the hands of corporations outside of Myanmar. Furthermore, no matter where you spend money, the taxes go to the government.

I Have Guilt over Going

The more I learn, the more disturbed I am.  The Buddhist monks leading the anti-Muslim charge have tons of grassroots support.  Do I want to spend my money helping these people? Absolutely not! Do I feel sorry for the good people, the ones who don’t support this and desperately need money? Of course! Most of the people I met were incredibly sweet.  Unfortunately in this situation, I think I did more harm than good by visiting Myanmar.

How Will Future Generations Judge Your Actions?

This is a question I think more of us should be asking ourselves with regards to many issues in this world. What did you do when you knew? Many people living in Nazi controlled Europe who survived were asked this question. People to this day are still judged harshly by their actions decades ago. While comparisons to Nazi Germany and Myanmar may be false equivalencies, they do make a point worth making. Imagine traveling to Germany in 1941 because you really wanted to go to Octoberfest and you felt that you were learning the culture and helping locals by doing so. Do you think this would have been an OK excuse?

People are very quick to point out differences when you compare Myanmar to Nazi Germany or other places that commit genocide. Darfur, Bosnia, Myanmar…do we really want to spend energy pointing out how all the ways that this massacre is somehow better or worse than that massacre? It seems that we are just looking for excuses to travel somewhere “new and cool” and get some pretty pictures. I think that people are very skilled at finding excuses to do things they know they shouldn’t.

This needs our concern. This needs our outrage. Often times, our only power is our money.

How to Help

I think the best thing for travel writers to do is spread the word. Let tourism boards or tour companies or hotels know the reason trips are turned down. Word will spread and if the people and powers that be see that they are losing valuable tourist dollars by allowing this atrocity to continue, perhaps change will occur. Perhaps this is a naive rosy view that I hold. I know one thing for certain, throwing my hands in the air and not trying to change anything is NOT an option.

Every dollar spent there lets the government know that they can keep doing what they are doing with impunity. 

To Help The Rohingya:  New York Times: Rohingya Aid

Remember what Aung San Suu Kyi herself said about tourism in 1995. She told an interviewer, “Tourists better stay at home and read some of the many human rights reports.” I say the same thing today.

Tell me in the comments what you think. Are there points I have missed?


Pin it for later and to spread the word

Visiting Myanmar


About The Author

Cherene Saradar

Cherene is a travel expert with 30 years of experience in over 100 countries and 7 continents. She has traveled solo to over 50 countries. She is also a nurse anesthesiologist with over 20 years of healthcare experience. Her passions include wildlife travel and visiting wine regions of the world.


  1. Boarding Call | 2nd Jun 18

    thanks so much for this post. I’ve met so many people at home and while traveling who proudly visited Myanmar and boasted that it is safe for tourists – of course that isn’t the issue though! I so appreciate that you are trying to raise awareness about this and convince others not to visit… this trend truly disturbs me because I really think people are visiting because it is just new and different

    • csaradar | 2nd Jun 18

      Thanks so much for your kind words. I am glad you agree with my position. I will always speak my mind even when it’s not popular.

  2. Paige | 30th Mar 18

    This is very informative but also very reminiscent of a NY magazine article I once read. I would encourage anyone interested to read the question/answer article: http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/09/what-the-hell-is-happening-in-myanmar.html

  3. ellie | 24th Nov 17

    Thank you so much for writing something so nuanced – the world needs more blogs like this! I read one article the other day which was against boycotting Myanmar travel, and agreed with many of its points, but on further research and reflection I think your view is probably right.

    It is so sad that the locals will lose out on tourist dollars but ultimately that is not as important as the lives of the rohingya being persecuted.

    Thanks for sharing! I’ll definitely be sharing this on twitter 🙂

    • csaradar | 25th Nov 17

      Thanks so much Ellie. It is a very tough issue and I have also read the blog post you speak of. They raise some really good points as well. Ultimately thought, I concur with what you said. I guess there is no perfect answer sometimes.

  4. Mariam | 20th Oct 17

    Thank you so much for writing this post and using the word genocide! Rohingyas are the indigenous people of Burma living in their ancestral lands. According to the UN, now 582,000 are forced to flee to Bangladesh since the August 25, 2017, Burmese military attacks. 80% of them are women and children. 52% of women surveyed by the UN were rape victims.

    Rohingyas in Burma are being starved to death systematically.

    Those in Bangladesh have difficulty finding food, shelter, and medicine.

    UNICEF has received just 7% of the $76 million required to provide emergency support to children over the next six months. 60% of all refugees are children.

    Two Critical Reports to Study

    The UN has issued a very important statement noting that the Government of Myanmar and the International community has failed to “protect Rohingya population from atrocity crimes.” It was significant that the statement noted that the “atrocity crimes” …refers “to three crimes under international law: genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.” Here is the text.
    Amnesty International report documents “Crimes against Humanity”, which is just a step below calling it a genocide.

    • csaradar | 20th Oct 17

      Thanks for your comments and for sharing this info! It really is so heartbreaking that humans are treated this way!

  5. Eva | 15th Oct 17

    I actually live in Myanmar and work in tourism, and I don’t agree with you about not visiting. It is actually not true that the government is still heavily involved in tourism, there are tons of hotels and guest houses (like 98%) that are privately run.
    What not visiting indeed does, is hurting the people that live here. They are amongst the poorest people of the world and just recently, with the country opening up, their livelihoods have improved. I honestly have seen so much poverty since I am here, it is heartbreaking.
    The people here have been kept in a bubble for decades and fear is cultivated, most of them don’t know what is going on, they live in rural areas without much access to education. A lot of people ask me why the people don’t say anything. Well: in Germany 13% have recently voted an extreme right party that now has something to say in the Bundestag AND all people in Germany have to go to school and are in general educated… a lot of people here don’t have the privilege to go to school.
    Not visiting might hurt the military, but I don’t think so. Coming here and supporting small businesses and maybe even educating people is the better option, in my opinion.
    I think it always looks different from the outside, but there is not a black and white in this situation. It is rather complex.

    • csaradar | 16th Oct 17

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment. I agree with you that it is a complex situation. I just took the stance that I did because I didn’t see another way to effect change. I totally sympathize with many people in Myanmar who are caught in the middle. I recognize that I do not know everything I should, however most of the research I did lead me to believe that most tourist money spent ends up where we may not want it to. If you have any resources to help me direct tourists to spend money in ways that actually will help people, I would be happy to share it! Also if you have a legitimate reference for your statistic about 98% of hotels being privately run, I’d love to have that information.

  6. Jackie | 8th Oct 17

    Wow Cherene! Just, wow. You’ve put this into such a great format and in such a way that it’s super simple to understand whereas all the prior coverage made this very complicated to comprehend. I love the way you’ve put your educated opinions into the piece, as well.

    I really wanted to travel to Myanmar next year and was teetering on the concept of it given the negative press but now that I truly understand – I won’t be going anytime soon. Thank you for shedding such a light on this topic for me.

    • csaradar | 8th Oct 17

      Thanks so much for saying that Jackie. I’m so glad you found it easy to understand. It was a challenge to write!! Your comments mean a lot:)

  7. Jamie | 8th Oct 17

    Really interesting article! There’s so much information in there that’s not on the Western news!

    • csaradar | 8th Oct 17

      It’s crazy how much we don’t hear about in the west!

  8. ifeelthereforeiamblog | 8th Oct 17

    Oh god, this article was so interesting and heart-breaking. I didn’t even know that it was so bad in Myanmar! And the Buddhist monks?! It all just shows that the interpretation of a particular religion is all that matters. Even Buddhists can be mean and evil if they misunderstand the religion itself.
    Thank you for this article. There are still so many beings to fight for.

    • csaradar | 8th Oct 17

      So true. There’s just no rules out there anymore regarding good and bad. It’s so complicated and each issue needs lots of education and understanding. Thanks for reading and commenting:)

  9. Kareemah | 7th Oct 17

    What an eloquent and well written post. Thank you for shedding light on the atrocities being committed in Myanmmar. It’s important travelers create awareness on these types of issues. And you are right, affecting tourism might be one of the ways we can contribute to stopping what’s going on.

    • csaradar | 8th Oct 17

      Thanks for reading Kareemah! I will always try to share these things when I fully understand what’s going on. In the US, we don’t get the greatest coverage of these types of stories.

  10. Julia Guerra | Travel Lightly | 7th Oct 17

    Super interesting post! As a sustainable travel blogger, I always love reading thoughtful pieces like this. Yes, there are many unethical governments in the world, which is why when I travel, I do my research and try to support organizations that benefit the local people. However, genocide is an entirely different issue. For the average tourist, I think it’s unethical, not to mention unsafe, to travel to a country that is engaged in a war or acts of genocide. There are exceptions, though. For example, when I was a baby and child, I traveled to Guatemala, which was then in a 30 year war and committing genocide against the Mayans, but it was to visit family. I can totally relate to the experience of asking questions about the political situation and getting evasive answers. I still don’t get straight answers from my family and the war ended 20 years ago! I think it’s admirable of you to have left the country, when you realized the situation that you were in.

    • csaradar | 7th Oct 17

      Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment! I’m glad you understood my point of view. It sounds like a difficult situation you were in in Guatemala and can’t fault you for visiting! I don’t know much about that situation and just goes to show how much goes on in the world that we need to learn about!

  11. thecurioussparrow | 7th Oct 17

    What an insightful post. Thanks so much for sharing, I didn’t know much about Myanmar before reading this.

    • csaradar | 7th Oct 17

      I sometimes wish I didn’t know these things!!

  12. Karen | 7th Oct 17

    Thank you for this Cherene. I wish more people would be honest about their expectations given the current situation–and I think this piece is very much needed at the moment.

    • csaradar | 7th Oct 17

      Thanks Karen. That means a lot:) I know this isn’t popular view.

      • Mariam | 20th Oct 17

        Thank you so much for your honesty! It’s hard to fathom that being against genocide and informing people about it could be the un-popular view, right?

  13. Kerstin | 7th Oct 17

    Fantastic article. It change my mind about my Myanmar visit during my worldtrip. I think I’ll delete Myanmar from my bucket list. It really open my eyes. I struggled for a while with my plans to go to Myanmar. But your article helps me to make a final decision. Thanks so much for that. Great job. Greetings from Germany

    • csaradar | 7th Oct 17

      Hey Kerstin. Thanks for reading it. It a heavy topic. I am glad people understand my passion.

  14. nickymacke | 7th Oct 17

    Hugely informative, thank you for writing it. I visited Myanmar in Oct/Nov of 2015 and witnessed the elections. I like you feel totally let down by Aung San Suu Kyi, she used to be one of my hero’s, unfortunately she’s slipped off her pedestal somewhat throughout the international community, but not at home it seems. The more attention that’s drawn to it the better. I was hoping to return this year, but I’ll be staying away, I won’t support genocide

    • csaradar | 7th Oct 17

      Wow must have been crazy to be there at that time. Such hope for her but sadly she doesn’t seem to hold much power.

  15. Caitlin Boylan | 7th Oct 17

    Thank you so much for writing a well informed, thought out and well written article. It’s so refreshing to see a travel blogger who can actually think and write!!

    • csaradar | 7th Oct 17

      wow what a nice compliment. Thanks so much Caitlin.

  16. Sandra Henriques Gajjar | 7th Oct 17

    Absolutely relevant (and tricky) topic. Unfortunately, the majority of tourists/travelers (for me they’re one and the same) don’t care about their impact in the destination but it has been so for years. The difference now is that you have access to online platforms and you can use them to better educate people into responsible tourism (or at least try your best at it).

    • csaradar | 7th Oct 17

      Exactly. That’s all I can do and hope it reaches someone!!

  17. Sally | 7th Oct 17

    Excellent article which enlightened me to many aspects I knew little about. I certainly won’t be going and will help spread the word. It also made me think that I should do much more research about a country before I make the decision to visit it.

  18. Rachel | 7th Oct 17

    Excellent piece. I almost went to Myanmar a few months ago, lured by all the beautiful instagrams of the temples at Bagan. Plus it seemed like everyone was going there from northern Thailand, that was the natural progression right? But then I started hearing about the genocide and all of a sudden I didn’t feel so comfortable going to Myanmar. I’ve been mocked by backpacker/travellers for “falling for mainstream media hype” etc, but you sum up perfectly my own feelings about all those excuses tourists give. I for one will not be visiting Myanmar as long as these atrocities continue.

    • csaradar | 7th Oct 17

      Yes it is just a natural progression on the Asia tourist track. When I only spent a couple days there everyone was like…why didn’t you stay longer. I really couldn’t even put it into words then but I just felt icky about going at all. I can’t believe it’s mainstream hype to care about humanity. What is happening?????

    • Mariam | 20th Oct 17

      I feel like mainstream media doesn’t even mention it, unless on rare occasions!

  19. Kavita Favelle | Kavey Eats | 7th Oct 17

    One of the best articles on understanding the history and current situation in Myanmar that I’ve read. You’ve laid it out so clearly, and without melodrama, and that makes the brutality, and yes genocide, all the more horrific because the world seems to be turning a blind eye. I’m also encouraged to read your clear and straightforward arguments against tourist visits.

    • csaradar | 7th Oct 17

      Thanks for those complimentary words. This was difficult to write so I’m happy it had an impact on you and others:)

  20. Aneesha | 7th Oct 17

    This situation upsets me on so many levels. Though I’d love to go visit, Aung San Suu Kyi’s actions to me are just not enough and shows that she indirectly supports(?) this. Her Nobel price should be taken away, one right doesn’t fade away a person’s wrongdoing. Thank you for putting this so eloquently <3

    • csaradar | 7th Oct 17

      Thanks Aneesha. It’s quite the upsetting topic. It hurt me to write about it even. I agree about her Nobel prize!!

  21. chikonahoka | 7th Oct 17

    “Imagine traveling to Germany in 1941 because you really wanted to go to Octoberfest and you felt that you were learning the culture and helping locals by doing so. Do you think this would have been an OK excuse?”

    This is in a nutshell why I draw the line at genocide. Over a span of years I realised a lot of intractable issues such as war and hegemony are so because they are indeed complex (yes I’ve lived long enough to experience my opinions changing or even flipping). I find I don’t always know which is the right side – or if there is one. Was something justified, or not. I’ve learned to see so many different views.

    But the far end of things has been clear, because firstly, while you can hide war atrocities, it’s harder to hide the attempted erasure of entire nations. At some point things will come to light – hopefully not too late. Secondly, at that end of the spectrum it becomes less about the issue and becomes about the person you are: is extermination of an entire nation always wrong no matter what the nation – or parts of the nation – might have done? Or is it admissible sometimes? And if you are in the first group, would you associate with an exterminating nation while it is still doing it, when they don’t even think what’s happening on their behalf is wrong (i.e. second group)? The answers to these are all about you.

    • csaradar | 7th Oct 17

      You always have such great perspective. I agree with the questions you pose…gives one much to think about!!!

  22. melica | 6th Oct 17

    Fantastic article Cherene! Very informative and well done.

    • csaradar | 6th Oct 17

      Thanks so much Meli!

  23. Diana Granados | 4th Oct 17

    What a great article Cherene. Very informative and very heartbreaking at the same time.

    • csaradar | 5th Oct 17

      thanks so much hon! It is heartbreaking and was hard to write but something I HAD to write.

  24. Andrea Bisconti | 3rd Oct 17

    I just listened to an in-depth podcast about this situation (podcast called Worldly). I think you did an excellent job of presenting the issue. I agree that denying tourist dollars to Myanmar is a great first-step, as is spreading the word. Nice work!

    • csaradar | 4th Oct 17

      Thank you so much. It was tough to write. I need to listen to that podcast!

  25. Alexandra @Itinera Magica | 3rd Oct 17

    Thank you so much, this was a fascinating and worth reading, much needed piece. You did a great job. Thank you!

    • csaradar | 4th Oct 17

      Thanks so much. Glad people appreciate these types of articles

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