Why I Write About Topics Such as the Orlando Massacre and Rape Victims

“W hat does this have to do with traveling?” Mike — a reader of The Gateasked in the comments of this recent article I wrote about a woman from the Netherlands who alleged that she was raped and was jailed for almost three months in Qatar before she was convicted of committing adultery.

Why I Write About Topics Such as the Orlando Massacre and Rape Victims

To answer your question, Mike — that story has everything to do with traveling. That story was about a woman who traveled from the Netherlands to Qatar on vacation, which turned from a joyous to a horrible experience.

Travel is supposed to be about experiencing other cultures in a new place or enjoying a temporary escape from everyday life. It is not just about reviewing the champagne in the business class cabin of an airplane for the umpteenth time; seeing that same bed, television, desk and window configuration in a hotel room; or getting a complimentary double upgrade on that rental car. Just as there are pleasures and joy which are typically inherent in travel; so are there dangers.

“What’s been hard for a lot of people the last few days is realizing how many people don’t get it — don’t get how this attack isn’t just a news story — but how it gets at our sense of self and safety.” That is what FlyerTalk member Adam1222 posted about the massacre which occurred recently in Orlando, costing the lives of at least 49 people and injuring dozens more. It is not about gay Latino men who were killed. It is about people who were killed. “I’m not talking about social justice here; i’m talking about humanity.” Amen, Adam1222.

Yes, gay people have more of a possibility of being unfairly persecuted — and unfairly prosecuted — in countries such as Russia which purport to have strict values under the guise of religion or simple hatred…

…but no one on this planet is immune to discrimination — whether the person is a straight Asian male; a homosexual black female; or a white transsexual who is simply trying to figure out which bathroom or which dressing room in a department store to use. Everybody has the possibility of being a target of prejudice somewhere in this world — especially when they travel.


Travel is supposed to be about understanding each other better to promote a safer world for all — not to encourage injustice and perpetuate hatred and intolerance against fellow human beings…

…and if posting articles pertaining to these controversial issues — which do affect travel — helps in even the slightest way to bring about awareness to promote that understanding amongst people towards our planet becoming a better world, then I will continue to do so.

I hope that answers your question, Mike.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

23 thoughts on “Why I Write About Topics Such as the Orlando Massacre and Rape Victims”

  1. lopere says:

    Just. Stop.


    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Why, lopere?

      Could you at least please give a constructive reason?

  2. It’s your blog, please keep posting as you do. These issues do relate to travel. People should know about the dangers of going to Qatar, and they should know about the dangers of going to the United States. Quite frankly, given the level of gun violence in this country, more countries should issue travel warnings for here, as we do for them.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Thank you, Everybody Hates A Tourist; but I do care about what readers think.

      The comment about how more countries should issue travel warnings pertaining to the United States due to the level of gun violence is an interesting one…

  3. tommyx says:

    Continue. Please.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Thank you, tommyx.

      This seems to be quite a divided topic…

  4. CMA says:

    Thank you. I get that some people would rather look away, focus elsewhere or use travel blogs as an entertaining diversion. But Orlando has not moved on yet, this woman will be permanently affected by what happened to her and as a woman, a frequent traveler, and a resident of Orlando I’m grateful you’ve chosen to write about these things. There is much more to experiencing a place than just consuming it and leaving.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Orlando — as with Paris, Brussels and other places — needs to know that there are people who care, CMA.

      I have been to all three places more than once — Orlando numerous times — so I am personally affected in a tangential way.

      I realize that is my opinion and not everyone agrees with it; but I appreciate your thoughts as a resident of Orlando. Thank you.

  5. Phoenix says:

    Adam1222 is bang on point, and so are you Brian. Please keep doing what you do. At minimum you add a unique perspective on the news, and at maximum you affect someone’s travelling decisions and/or how they act while abroad.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Thank you, Phoenix; but I am also careful to strive to not overdo it…

      …and as important to me is the perspective from you and other readers on the issues as well.

  6. Eric says:

    Looks like the FT thread post you reference was mainly in the context of complaining that your BoardingArea compatriot, One Mile at a Time, didn’t comment on the terrorist attack (and in the poster’s opinion, should have because Ben is gay).

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Perhaps, Eric — but in my opinion, what I quoted from FlyerTalk member Adam1222 were thoughts in general upon which could not be improved and worthy of repeating.

      My thoughts on this topic have nothing to do with Ben Schlappig or One Mile at a Time; or vice versa.

      1. Eric says:

        I thought perhaps your highlighting that poster was meant to indicate you share Adam1222’s opinion on One Mile at a Time.

  7. Sarah Elizabeth says:


    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Thank you, Sarah Elizabeth!

  8. Doug says:

    So now you throw out another gratuitous, soapboxing post to defend your other preachy and tangential posts. There’s a huge thread called “Boarding Area’s Fall” on Flyertalk for really, really, good reason. This place used to be useful on some level.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I have read that discussion in its entirety, Doug; and I would say that I look forward to your worthy contributions there regarding The Gate


      …but I do not want to sound too “preachy and tangential” — you know — similar to the tone of your comment…

  9. Deez says:

    Thank you. If you hadn’t posted about it I would have missed it on CNN, Business Insider, AP, Reuters, Daily Mail, etc. Also, can you please just say Doha instead of the greater metropolitan area of Doha? We’re not talking about Los Angeles here.

    1. Brian Cohen says:


      Thank you, Deez. If you hadn’t commented about the story the way you did, I would have missed similar “constructive” comments posted on CNN, Business Insider, AP, Reuters, Daily Mail, etc.

  10. Erick says:

    I appreciate your posts. They are 100% relevant to ANY traveler. I’m actually surprised at how little attention Boarding Area blogs have given the events in Orlando. While I am feeling fatigued at the coverage in the news and social media, I had hoped to find a unique perspective on the events from members of the Boarding Area community, but there has been surprisingly little discussion–especially compared to recent events in Brussels and Paris. While I don’t really want to dwell on such tragedies, I somehow feel like many travel blogs have simply ignored the Orlando shooting.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Please allow me to impart to you the “surprisingly little discussion” there has been pertaining to Orlando which I have not publicly posted, Erick.

      In a retail store not far from where I am based, a person who was working at the cash register was amazed that not one customer even mentioned about what happened in Orlando, as they usually discuss other major events which occur.

      I have no idea why that is the case; but I believe the people of Orlando deserve a little better than that…

      …but I agree with you: dwelling on tragedy serves little purpose. My goal is simply to bring about awareness and not to dwell.

      I appreciate your comments and thoughts, Erick. Thank you.

  11. Captain Kirk says:

    Keep up the good work Brian, many people enjoy your blog so don’t let a few @$$clowns try to stop you. Some people just keep a large bottle of Haterade near them at all times. They see something they don’t like and they have to speak out no matter how simple minded or childish they sound. Forget the haters, and keep doing your thing.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I laughed when I read “Haterade”.

      Thank you, Captain Kirk!

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