The recent sentencing of Australian Peter Greste and his fellow Al Jazeera journalists proves that Egypt’s judiciary has slipped its moral moorings and drifted into infamy.
Many Australians feel that justice has not been done, which raises the bigger question, if a government behaves disgracefully, is it legitimate to patronise that country as a tourist?
Whether it’s a country or your local cake shop, patronage constitutes approval, not just for their product but for the way they do business.
If a neighbour behaves badly yet you maintain normal relations, they can cling to the fiction that all is well.
There is no reason for them to change their behaviour, and the principle applies to countries as well. Nations do not like to be treated as pariah states.
Free trade, cultural exchanges, participation in international sporting competitions and visits from tourists are taken as evidence of normal relations.
It was deep chill of isolation from the rest of the world that helped persuade the governments of South Africa and Myanmar to change their ways.
For anyone who finds a country’s actions deplorable, the decision not to visit sends a message.