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The Disneyfication of war tourism in Sri Lanka wrongly represents one region’s unpleasant reality

Excerpt from The Jakarta Globe

Nov 26, 2012 12:30 am

Skift Take

Too often war tourism mitigates the horrors of conflict rather than educate travelers on the reality of a location and its people’s history.

— Samantha Shankman

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Ronald Saunders  / Flickr.com

Negombo is a town of about 65,000, approximately 37 km north of Colombo, in Sri Lanka. Ronald Saunders / Flickr.com


The tourists have travelled hundreds of kilometers to see this underground bunker, once home to the most feared man in Sri Lanka: the leader of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Velupillai Prabhakaran…

But while these guided tours offer locals a rare glance into the inner workings of the Tigers’ de facto state and the extent of its former military capacity, rights activists fear that many tourists are missing the “bigger picture” — the horrors of the aftermath of the war and the suffering that has become an everyday experience for tens of thousands who were displaced during the last bouts of fighting.

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