Already notorious for complaining about loud rooms, annoying insects and stale breakfast buns, some 44 million Germans who travel overseas each and every year have now been asked by their government to also occasionally consider maybe moaning about human rights violations, as well.
In what many-myself-included first thought to be just a hilarious practical joke but actually wasnâ€™t, the human rights envoy at Berlinâ€™s foreign ministry (honest, they really have one here) has, in all seriousness, called for German tourists to â€œlook beyond the palm treesâ€ in countries like Cuba, Turkey, Egypt, Thailand, China, Myanmar, North Korea (they do go there too, right?), place-next-country-HERE, and to understand that â€œhuman rights are being trampled under footâ€ at top destinations like these.
But here comes the punch line: When not hoarding the beach chairsÂ or hanging out at Thai sex bars, the concerned Germans have actually been asked to organise “private meetings” with local citizen groups and to pester staff in foreign airports and hotels about human rights concerns. This guy even called for package holiday deals to be expanded to include meetings with human rights activists who arenâ€™t in jail yet. Like I said, hilarious.
Please note that at no point was or ever will be mentioned that maybe these travelers ought not to travel to these places in the first place or gar (even) be â€œencouragedâ€ by the German government not to do so (think boycott or travel ban).
I am convinced that this suggestion will find deep resonance among the German tourist community and travel industry. But, then again, I am also convinced that our world is secretly being ruled by a race of subterranean space apes that came here from the planet Zardon and landed in a cornfield near Omaha in or around 1867. Before going underground, I mean.
Come visit me at Observing Hermann…