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A Parallelism between Terrorism and COVID-19

Maximiliano E. Korstanje, is the Editor in Chief of International Journal of Safety and Security in Tourism and an Associate Professor at Palermo University, Argentina. He was awarded as outstanding reviewer by Emerald Publishing Group by his participation in disaster-related journals. As a result of his almost 700 published apers and 20 books worldwide Korstanje was nominated to 5 honorary doctorates by his contribution to the study tourism and terrorism.

The superposition of terrorism and COVID-19 poses double challenges for the international community. In this context, the center conducted an exclusive interview with Maximiliano E. Korstanje, hoping to understand his views on the impact of COVID-19 on the international community and the parallel relationship between COVID-19 and terrorism.

Maximiliano E. Korstanje: A Parallelism between Terrorism and COVID-19

The consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic remain uncertain even for experts and colleagues. One of the aspects that perplexed the net of experts is the long-lasting and uncertain effects of COVID-19 on the global industry and daily lifestyle. Having said this, COVID-19 affects negatively and primarily the sub-service sectors which include tourism, leisure spots, shop malls, cruises and the industry of hospitality. Those countries which are dependent on the tourism industry and international fluxes will experience further impacts than those economies which developed a mix-balanced form of production. This is the case of China, which in comparison with Spain, will relatively face few damages. This does not mean that China will not be harmed by COVID19, in which case, the global world has been fractured into pieces. We live now in a feudalized world where nations compete with each other or simply are prone to ally basis on ethnic affiliation, language, or culture. It's also mentioned in my books, not only terrorism but also COVID-19 is accelerating a crisis in Western civilization. The signs of this crisis encompass acts of xenophobia and racism, separatist movements, internal or neighboring past countries` wars and so forth. Ukraine`s war is not a coincidence it is the first step of a feudalizing process that marks the end of globalization. To what extent, globalization is dead is almost impossible to know.

At a closer look, some industries such as electronic, digital technologies and the food industry have certainly experienced a burgeoning growth because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the same does not apply to sub-service sectors such as tourism or hospitality. The question is why? A tentative answer says that COVID-19 created a climate of political instability based on the fear of the “Other” who can be a carrier of a lethal disease. The restrictive measures disposed of by governments to stop the pandemic led us to undermine the position of the Other in daily life. This trend ushered the Western countries into what I dubbed “the end of hospitality” as least as we know it. It is the first time we witness strange acts of hostility against tourists in the most consolidated destinations (i.e Barcelona, Bari, Paris only to name a few). Cities which historically were financially supported by international tourism are not hostile to receiving tourists because of the pollution and negative effects the industry generates. To these acts, we can add an expression of separatism, racism or xenophobia against foreigners. Globalization sets the pace for a new fractured world I explain in my books: Terrorism, tourism and the end of hospitality in the West (Palgrave Macmillan), The Challenge of Democracy in the war on Terror (Routledge) , and Mobility and Globalization in the Aftermath of COVID-19 (Palgrave Macmillan).In this trilogy, I draw a parallelism between terrorism and COVID-19. In both cases, terrorism opens the doors to a new climate of fear where the “Other”, the neighbor, the classmate, or a colleague can be a potential terrorist. In times of COVID-19, all we are potential terrorists who silently act as carriers of a lethal virus.

Basically, there is a double dynamic operating -at the same time- in the world. On one hand, the tendency of some nations to enhance their cost in security and safety. Some specialists are alerting to the hypothesis of potential conflicts and warfare in the years to come. These studies emphasize the lack of an international ethos to regulate the inter-nation conflict. Without any doubt, this climate of fragmentation alludes to an unparalleled crisis in the global system. On another, technological corporations are amassing considerable profits and wealth whilst situating as leading companies that escape nation-state control. Consumers, citizens and peoples are today subject to the over-flow of constant information, advertising carefully designed and tailored to each consumer. A political event in Argentina or Egypt is now consumed by a wider audience globally. This suggests a clear philosophical quandary, the sentiment of fear ignited firstly by terrorism and now by COVID-19 is moulding the culture closing us physically to the “Other” -which means avoiding direct contact- but stimulating a multicultural landscape certainly open to virtuality. Hence, the Other is seen as a construction, as a product we can design to our discretion and per our prerogatives. We are open but at the same time close to the “alterity”.


Contact: Wang Qi

Questioner: Zhang Ran

Translator: Li Yuhan

Correcteor: Xu houkun



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