Have a nice vacation!
Germany has been one of the five largest arms exporters in the world for years. For a long time, bogus democrats and dictators have also been armed with German weapons of war.
The sale of death and oppression makes the coffers ring and secures German prosperity and jobs.
This year, too, our consumer society will go on a relaxing annual holiday without a guilty conscience.
In addition to classic holiday destinations such as Spain, Italy, Portugal and Greece, cheap trips to Egypt and Turkey are especially popular.
Countries – that will not be visited by millions of Russians and Ukrainians this year, which means that the German bargain hunter may speculate on generous price reductions due to canceled bookings – unless the increased energy prices thwart his plans.
In cooperation with the photographer Heiko Heinen, the artist Dennis Josef Meseg would like to encourage the public to pause and reflect with his socio-critical poster campaign “Have a nice vacation!”.
Because the basis for wealth and power is violence, is war in all its ugly forms. Whether economic wars, hostile takeovers or military campaigns – the winner takes what he wants. And the people go on vacation.
The posters will be displayed in highly frequented places such as train stations and airports showing different persons and figures. Meseg and Heinen do not want to lecture with a raised index finger, but rather include themselves self-critically as members of an affluent society.
The room installation contains of 15 tons of ammunition, poured out in waves, breaking up against the walls like a dune landscape. A beach scenery is reconstructed on an open area in the centre, with a paddling pool, a canvas chair, some mannequins and some sand moulds.
The scenery resembles a postcard image; a peaceful, lighthearted picture, raising splendid emotions, showing things one can afford in an affluent society.
„Paradise Circus“ however presents the overall picture. For the basis of wealth and power is violence, the war, in all its awful facets. Be it economic wars, hostile acquisitions or crusades – the winner takes what he wants. And the nation goes on holiday.
Sunshine, beach and the sea – holiday trips have a high status in society. How high, could be observed after just one year into the Corona pandemic. Whilst countless people in India died, due to a lack of oxygen flasks, and only one per cent of the African population had received the life saving vaccine, citizens of the Western European industrial nations lamented in front of a live camera that they had not been allowed to go on holiday abroad for a whole year.
Every single weapon that is being fired to conquer, hits a second target as well: humanity. Every single bullet that strengthens the ground on which our wealth keeps growing, drains it with other peoples‘ blood and tears. We believe to be in paradise, when in fact we stand on quicksand. Just above an abyss.
Because morality also takes a vacation…
Working for a pittance
With around 100 million jobs worldwide, the tourism industry is one of the largest employers. But the work is often poorly paid, the working conditions unacceptable. In many cases, seasonal contracts stipulate a high workload, including sometimes unpaid overtime Many workers do not dare to demand better conditions, especially if they have a migration background and are social outsiders.
Migrant workers from Bangladesh, the Philippines or Nepal, who are often treated like slaves during the construction of hotels and airports, are just a few examples. In some countries, migrant workers have to hand in their papers to their supervisors and are then at their mercy without protection. All for a dream holiday of the demanding tourist!
Since Qatar has won the bid to host the 2022 World Cup, more than 6,500 migrant workers are said to have died or been injured there under unexplained circumstances, had to pay recruitment fees or were completely deprived of their wages, according to Amnesty International. Working 84 hours a week under threat of penalties is not uncommon – and all for King Soccer!
Human trafficking and child prostitution
One of the darkest abysses in the modern tourism business is child prostitution. Although sexual exploitation of children is prohibited worldwide, many young people in poor countries like Kenya are forced into prostitution by their parents. The main beneficiaries of this cruel practice there are Tanzanian fishermen and international tourists.
In addition, sex tourism in Asia and other parts of the Third World has expanded child prostitution. It is mainly Japanese, US-Americans and Europeans – among the latter especially the Germans, who are particularly fond of travelling, who order minors to their rooms in Thailand. After all, they are on vacation and want to have fun.
According to a study by the civic organization Participación Ciudadana, the Covid 19 pandemic has also led to an increase in human trafficking in tourist resorts in the Dominican Republic. The report, “Human Trafficking in the Dominican Republic,” indicates that tourist resorts such as Higüey, La Romana, Boca Chica, and Puerto Plata are experiencing the worst forms of commercial sexual exploitation.
Large segments of the migrant population there are victims of human trafficking involving sexual exploitation and forced labor. Enslavement and domestic bondage are often commonplace.
Nevertheless, millions of tourists travel to the Dominican Republic every year (3 million in 2020), to the white beaches, the exotic flair of expensive resorts, the twinkling stars on warm nights. Protected around the clock by armed security. To enjoy all this, you only have to do one thing: block out the hardships of the poor. A small price to pay for great fun. Here and at all the other resorts in the world.
Tourism revenues support despot regime
(In Turkey, about $29.8 billion in 2019)
Like, for instance, in Saudi Arabia, Egypt or Turkey, where human rights are trampled underfoot and people still like to go there. Because of the sights. And the beautiful weather. Whippings, executions or questionable arrests also take place only far from the vacation strongholds. And in Antalya, on top of that, there are very cheap hotel rooms, because the regulars can’t travel there for the time being. So even the Ukraine war still has something positive. Just not for the those involved.
As a rule of thumb, where despots rule, human rights violations are the order of the day. Whether in the Congo, where 3,500 young boys have already been torn from their families and trained as child soldiers; in Russia, where even holding up a blank page can lead to jail time or in China, where people were evicted from their homes in the run-up to the Winter Olympics without receiving adequate compensation, and others ate their pets out of desperation because they were prevented from leaving their homes at gunpoint because of Corona. Whether they wanted to go shopping or to the doctor. Of course, not every person who likes to go on vacation in distant countries is selfish, ignorant or even a pedophile.
Vacation to the detriment of the environment
But every single person is complicit in the ongoing environmental pollution and climate change with all its catastrophes! Because everyone knows. A single long-haul flight causes the emission of several tons of greenhouse gases – per passenger! Roughly the same amount of CO2 is produced for each passenger on the ship. But there is something else unforgivable about cruises: the dumping of a huge amount of rubbish. Sea creatures die from it in droves; Microplastics deprive kelp forests of light, this important carbon sinking ecosystem, and suffocate coral reefs. Not to mention littered coastal areas.
So much is lost in this world because people forget everything when planning their vacation that would be important for the time afterwards – for a good life. Flora, fauna, jobs. Clean environment. Stable climate. Peace. With this in mind: have a nice holiday!
Dennis Josef Meseg (Künstler)
Heiko Heinen (Fotograf; https://www.pixelfaenger.com)
Inga Stück (Schauspielerin)
Zaza Doksanovi (Schauspieler)
Christopher Goebel (Organisation)
Julia Koslovski (Fotografin)
Daniela Lauffs (Ströer CORE GmbH & Co. KG)