After an uproar from critics, The Daily Beast has removed an article that labeled Lebanon and four other Middle Eastern countries as “The worst places (on earth) to visit.” The link now directs to a blank page with no explanation.

I wrote an extensive criticism of the piece yesterday which clearly singled out  the Middle East, Africa and former Soviet states. So did politics or a bit of Islamophobia play a role in this list?

The worst countries–which are all beautiful places– were as follows:

1. Lebanon
2. Iran
3. Egypt
4. Ukraine
5. Jordan
6. South Africa
7. Russia
8. Georgia
9. Morocco
10. Senegal

We can see that 60 percent of the “worst” countries are Middle Eastern or African and the remainder are largely former Soviet states. Pretty objective, huh?

Of course Islam and communism have been the greatest perceived “boogie men” in the West over the last few decades, but surely this was just a coincidence, right?

Though the piece has been removed, its Facebook advertisement still exists:

We first heard it could be taken down when the Beast’s executive editor tweeted that the piece was “messed up” last night. But it wasn’t removed for several more hours.

@tomgara @acarvin @borzou Yeah, this piece is messed up. We’re pulling it.
— Noah Shachtman (@NoahShachtman) March 13, 2014

Here are some screen shots I took before it was taken down:

How many times has one wall been used to represent an entire country?

Among the winners were South American and Asian countries such as, Brazil, Thailand and Mexico:

I guess the 100,000 people who have been killed in Mexican drug wars did not bother the Beast editors as much as places like Jordan and Iran which have some of the lowest crime rates on earth.

*Unfortunately I missed getting a screenshot of number 6, so if anyone has it, please update me.

Update: Number 6 is South Africa. Thanks to Almaz for the screen shot. 

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