Our View: Middle Eastern travel shouldn’t be scary

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It seems like any time you hear of someone traveling to any Middle Eastern country, the person traveling is given advice to be careful. Middle Eastern countries are stereotyped as threats to safety when it comes to foreigners traveling there. 

Basically, any destination that isn’t a predominantly white, European country is deemed dangerous. But, in today’s society, it doesn’t matter if you go to England, Jordan, or, Israel, the threat to your safety Is virtually the same anywhere. 

It is understandable why many people are afraid of travel. News outlets cover the violence and attacks in the Middle East so often that it almost seems like everyday news. But only having basic knowledge of these countries all based on Western news outlets, will create a biased opinion. Without investing time to research the reality of the state of the country at hand, your view is going to only be of the violence every day on TV. 

While it is smart to be cautious no matter where you travel, you should never let your fears keep you from seeing the world. There is always at least a mild risk of danger during any travel, but the fear of danger shouldn’t be directed at one specific country or area just because it’s an easy target. 

Every country you visit is going to have some risk. We live in a world today which is filled with violence and hate. However, just because we only see a glimpse of the Middle Eastern world, a glimpse that is more often only of the violence which takes place, doesn’t mean it is the same for every individual country in that part of the world. There are beautiful Middle Eastern countries which offer the same amount of culture and experiences as Western and European countries do but they are overlooked because of their neighbors. 

Yes, it is undeniable that countries in the Middle East have much higher terror attacks. As the Washington Post says, the Middle East and Northern Africa have accounted for over two-thirds of terrorism deaths in the world since Jan. 2015. The difference is that the Middle East is not a dangerous place as a whole, but certain countries are at times. CNN has reported over 20 terrorist attacks in North America and Europe since 2015, but the reactions have been seemingly different than those in the Middle East. There is not a stigma thrown onto North America and Europe because of these attacks, instead they bring about sympathy and a sense of community to rally around victims. The Middle East and the Western world are cast in completely different lights when it comes to terrorist attacks, causing this stereotype of danger and preventing people from experiencing the culture Middle Eastern countries. 

So much of our world is overlooked because of this Western bias, and we are only hurting ourselves. We could benefit from the understanding that the Middle East is not the only area of the world threatened by terrorism. For the rest of the world, the threat is still there, just not as publicized. We need to open our eyes to the reality of our world and see that the Middle East has more to it than the war-torn towns we often see on the nightly news. 

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