ECOCLUB

ISSN 1108-8931

INTERNATIONAL ECOTOURISM MONTHLY

Year 6 - Issue 67

Sponsored by: Zante Feast Discovery Holidays, Purple Valley Yoga Centre, Hana Maui Botanical Gardens, Jorth Consult Limited, Pacuare Lodge

ISSUE HIGHLIGHTS

Interview
Louis D'Amore, Founder, International Institute of Peace through Tourism

Member News
Thailand: Golden Buddha Reconstruction starts
Sri Lanka: ECOCLUB/Ranweli Project completed

Eco Focus
Evaluating Consumer demand for Ecotourism Certification, A Case Study

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EDITORIAL:  Peace Through Tourism (not through War)

In the last decade, already a century ago in more ways than one, most would joke when beauty queens would invariably end their acceptance speech laundry list with "and world peace". I am not sure how many dare laugh about world peace these days (or if beauty queens are still at it). In the aftermath of the tsunami disaster which showed once more how small, globalised and interdependent the world really is, also thanks to tourism, and what global cooperation can achieve compared to global domination, in this issue we hear from Louis D'Amore, founder of the International Institute of Peace through Tourism, to learn why and how tourism facilitates peace and reasonable discourse on the international scene. It seems that the obvious must be stated these days, as the Orwellian mantras about new world orders, bringing peace through war and force-feeding freedom, which are resounding in the corridors of power, should not also dominate the media or the minds.

In an increasingly complex and sometimes surreal world, some leaders would like us believe they know what's best for us, as they have been blessed with special abilities to distinguish right from wrong, ethical from unethical, democratic from tyrannic. I am still not clear if these people are first-rate actors (although even b-rate actors have been successful politicians) or if, by the time they have sampled power (sweet power) they have already come to believe themselves. Not to mention that in an unfortunate way, all leaders, elected or unelected, are by definition tyrants for a certain period of time. Contrary to popular belief, many elected tyrants tend to survive longer than unelected ones.

Then again, what is the alternative? Most leaders have been groomed from early age to decide for the rest of us, while joining them are a few others who have been accepted to the top echelons, simply by doing away with any scruples, or affinities, assumed that they ever had any. But can all of us really and practically decide for all of us? Was there ever a direct democracy, beyond "primitive" tribal society, or say beyond idealised, classical Athens? And look what happened to "primitive" societies, or classical Athens, they were powerless in front of the advancing, (freedom / civilisation spreading?) war machines of Sparta, Alexander, the Romans and later imperial powers, which would be so un pc to mention by name.

And what about our own medium, one may say, the Internet. Is the Internet a glimmering hope for direct, leaderless, devolved, peer to peer, true democracy? A case of instant e-government miraculously combining anonymity and participation? Or is that gratification that of a dream (aka virtual), an illusion? And indeed an increasingly monitored and controlled dream? Pessimists would argue that it has already evolved into a mass monitoring device with the consent of uninformed and untrained users, who miss the forest (of control) for the tree (tree = hackers, bugs, worms, trojans and other nuisances).

Who knows? It is perhaps "too early to say" as Chou En Lai, famously replied when asked "What do you think the outcome of the French revolution was?". Progress is slow, and sometimes negative. Nevertheless, humans are still on this planet, still (hopefully) evolving (evolution sadly still being a taboo subject even where it was not), if only by cosmic accident, rather than our leader's efforts or any divine providence.

As Henry Miller, the much censored and badmouthed, wrote, "the world is not to be put in order, the world is order incarnate. It is for us to put ourselves in unison with this order". I bet, if he were still around today, he would have been very inspired, and very badmouthed.

Antonis B. Petropoulos
ECOCLUB Editor

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Disclaimer:  Any views expressed in this newspaper belong to their respective authors and are not necessarily those of ECOCLUB S.A. Although we try to check all facts, we accept no liability for inaccuracies - which means you should not take any travel or other decisions based only on what you read here... Use of this newspaper is covered by the Terms & Conditions of the ECOCLUB.com Website and by your uncommon sense and good humour.

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