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In Pictures: Sri Lanka war tourism
Tourists are flocking into the island's northeast following the defeat of the Tamil Tigers, worrying some residents.
Last updated: 16 Jun 2014 08:05
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Is Sri Lanka’s government using tourism to whitewash its alleged war crimes? While the island has become a top destination for foreign visitors, a very different - and far more macabre - tourism industry has flourished in silence. 

After decades of civil war, Sinhalese tourists are finally free to visit the previously inaccessible northeast. Since the Tamil Tiger (LTTE) separatist rebels were crushed in 2009, visitors have been coming in busloads to explore the former warzone with a morbid curiosity in the defeated enemy. 

Traveling on new six-lane highways along a trail of triumphalist war monuments and LTTE landmarks, hailing the heroes of the 2009 "humanitarian operation", who "liberated Sri Lanka from terrorism", the pilgrims marvel over the region's rapid development but don’t see refugee camps and bombed-out ruins off the road. 

The new boom may be victors’ justice at its most bizarre. In the process, the government has seized the opportunity to write its own version of history of what happened in the controversial final stage of the war where an estimated 40-70 000 civilians were killed. 

Observers warn that the northeast remains under military occupation and that the army is increasingly taking over traditionally civilian functions. The government has also increasingly been pressured to investigate its alleged human rights abuses and war crimes - including torture, enforced disappearances and rape. 

In Sri Lanka, remembering the war is reserved for those who won.


/Kim Wall/Al Jazeera

Since the war ended four years ago, Sri Lanka's tourism industry has flourished. With over a dozen hotels operated and staffed by soldiers , as well as safaris, whale watching and restaurants , the army has not been late to capitalise on the boom.



/Kim Wall/Al Jazeera

'The government has given all of the country's best beaches to the army, because they trust us to take good care of them,' said an employee of the Marble Beach Air Force Resort. Off the shore, ships search for oil but the hotel employee hoped they wouldn't find anything. 'If they find oil, there might be another war,' he said.



/Kim Wall/Al Jazeera

In 2013, Sri Lanka was selected as Lonely Planet's top destination and last year the island welcomed over a million foreign tourists. Few, if any, of them visited what has become one the most popular tourism trails, which is primarily frequented by Sinhalese tourists from the rural southwest.



/Kim Wall/Al Jazeera

Across the previous war zone, numerous triumphalist monuments have sprung up in what used to be the stronghold of the now defeated separatist guerrilla the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, LTTE. With an AK47 in one hand and the Sri Lankan flag in the other, the statue's soldier looks towards the site where Tamil Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran's body was found in May 2009. Four stone lions, the country's national animal, surround the base and a dove sits on the muzzle of the machine gun.



/Kim Wall/Al Jazeera

A mortar launcher, allegedly used by the Tamil Tigers in the civil war, displayed to domestic tourists at the LTTE museum. This is a rare sign featuring Tamil, the predominant language in the northeast of Sri Lanka, as most are in Sinhalese only.



/Kim Wall/Al Jazeera
Tourists given a guided tour by an army member at the LTTE museum in Puthukkudiyiruppu. The history of the war remains deeply contested and despite mounting international pressure, an independent investigation into alleged war crimes has not yet been allowed. Many Tamils living in the area were skeptical that the peace could last.


/Kim Wall/Al Jazeera
A tourist from Tangalle, a popular southern beach resort, has his photo taken in front of a Sea Tiger battleship at the LTTE museum. According to a local human rights activist, the army tries to illustrate to the public how sophisticated and brutal the LTTE were. In return, the government will appear all the stronger for having defeated them.


/Kim Wall/Al Jazeera

The 'terrorist swimming pool', 83 ft long and 22 ft deep, where the LTTE allegedly trained their Sea Tiger divers ahead of deep sea operations and suicide attacks. "While the nation was swarming with pools of blood with the spate of LTTE's heinous crimes elsewhere, the terrorist had constructed this huge swimming pool in 2001 for exclusive use of the cream of terrorists" said a sign.



/Kim Wall/Al Jazeera

One of the most popular attractions on the war tourism trail was reclusive LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran's three floor bunker home in the jungle. This photo is taken few days before the military detonated a bomb inside, citing "safety concerns". Others have speculated that the destruction intended to prevent the site from becoming a shrine for former Tamil Tigers.



/Kim Wall/Al Jazeera

A tour bus arrives at the Iranamadu tank outside Kilinochchi, now a military air strip and tourist attraction, and an armed soldier guides the pilgrims around the site. 



/Kim Wall/Al Jazeera

A stray dog at the ruins of another LTTE bunker bombed by the government's air force, which has become another popular tourist site since the war ended. Still, extensive reconstruction remains to be done in the previous war zone and the government has been accused of neglecting civilian development in favor of infrastructure and tourism. An estimated 93,482 civilians remain internally displaced and even the war tourism sites remain surrounded by land mines. In March, the UNHCR will decide whether Sri Lanka will be independently investigated for its alleged war crimes.



/Kim Wall/Al Jazeera

Other landmarks are kept to illustrate the 'terror' of the Tamil Tigers. A Sinhalese tour group photographs the remains of a vehicle reportedly blown up by the LTTE, near Jaffna. 



/Kim Wall/Al Jazeera

Next to a destroyed water tower kept as a reminder of the war's violence stands a military run souvenir shop in Kilinochchi, the former de facto LTTE capital. With a multitude of shops and stalls throughout the region, the army has been criticised for undermining local business and civil society. Meanwhile, the government hails the military's involvement in development as a new model for post conflict reconstruction.




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images:
/mritems/images/2013/12/21/20131221121637308575_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2013/12/21/20131221121637523416_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2013/12/21/20131221121637739827_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2013/12/21/20131221121637923102_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2013/12/21/2013122112163899967_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2013/12/21/20131221121638282626_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2013/12/21/20131221121638529122_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2013/12/21/20131221121638923866_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2013/12/21/20131221121639294290_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2013/12/21/20131221121639536988_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2013/12/21/20131221121640165690_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2013/12/21/20131221121640556225_8.jpg;*;/mritems/images/2013/12/21/2013122112164148518_8.jpg
captions:

Since the war ended four years ago, Sri Lanka(***)s tourism industry has flourished. With over a dozen hotels operated and staffed by soldiers , as well as safaris, whale watching and restaurants , the army has not been late to capitalise on the boom.

;*;

(***)The government has given all of the country(***)s best beaches to the army, because they trust us to take good care of them,(***) said an employee of the Marble Beach Air Force Resort. Off the shore, ships search for oil but the hotel employee hoped they wouldn(***)t find anything. (***)If they find oil, there might be another war,(***) he said.

;*;

In 2013, Sri Lanka was selected as Lonely Planet(***)s top destination and last year the island welcomed over a million foreign tourists. Few, if any, of them visited what has become one the most popular tourism trails, which is primarily frequented by Sinhalese tourists from the rural southwest.

;*;

Across the previous war zone, numerous triumphalist monuments have sprung up in what used to be the stronghold of the now defeated separatist guerrilla the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, LTTE. With an AK47 in one hand and the Sri Lankan flag in the other, the statue(***)s soldier looks towards the site where Tamil Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran(***)s body was found in May 2009. Four stone lions, the country(***)s national animal, surround the base and a dove sits on the muzzle of the machine gun.

;*;

A mortar launcher, allegedly used by the Tamil Tigers in the civil war, displayed to domestic tourists at the LTTE museum. This is a rare sign featuring Tamil, the predominant language in the northeast of Sri Lanka, as most are in Sinhalese only.

;*;Tourists given a guided tour by an army member at the LTTE museum in Puthukkudiyiruppu. The history of the war remains deeply contested and despite mounting international pressure, an independent investigation into alleged war crimes has not yet been allowed. Many Tamils living in the area were skeptical that the peace could last.;*;A tourist from Tangalle, a popular southern beach resort, has his photo taken in front of a Sea Tiger battleship at the LTTE museum. According to a local human rights activist, the army tries to illustrate to the public how sophisticated and brutal the LTTE were. In return, the government will appear all the stronger for having defeated them.;*;

The (***)terrorist swimming pool(***), 83 ft long and 22 ft deep, where the LTTE allegedly trained their Sea Tiger divers ahead of deep sea operations and suicide attacks. "While the nation was swarming with pools of blood with the spate of LTTE(***)s heinous crimes elsewhere, the terrorist had constructed this huge swimming pool in 2001 for exclusive use of the cream of terrorists" said a sign.

;*;

One of the most popular attractions on the war tourism trail was reclusive LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran(***)s three floor bunker home in the jungle. This photo is taken few days before the military detonated a bomb inside, citing "safety concerns". Others have speculated that the destruction intended to prevent the site from becoming a shrine for former Tamil Tigers.

;*;

A tour bus arrives at the Iranamadu tank outside Kilinochchi, now a military air strip and tourist attraction, and an armed soldier guides the pilgrims around the site. 

;*;

A stray dog at the ruins of another LTTE bunker bombed by the government(***)s air force, which has become another popular tourist site since the war ended. Still, extensive reconstruction remains to be done in the previous war zone and the government has been accused of neglecting civilian development in favor of infrastructure and tourism. An estimated 93,482 civilians remain internally displaced and even the war tourism sites remain surrounded by land mines. In March, the UNHCR will decide whether Sri Lanka will be independently investigated for its alleged war crimes.

;*;

Other landmarks are kept to illustrate the (***)terror(***) of the Tamil Tigers. A Sinhalese tour group photographs the remains of a vehicle reportedly blown up by the LTTE, near Jaffna. 

;*;

Next to a destroyed water tower kept as a reminder of the war\(***)s violence stands a military run souvenir shop in Kilinochchi, the former de facto LTTE capital. With a multitude of shops and stalls throughout the region, the army has been criticised for undermining local business and civil society. Meanwhile, the government hails the military(***)s involvement in development as a new model for post conflict reconstruction.

Daylife ID:
8abbca6e791342d771905f1d34849e9b
Photographer:
;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;
Image Source:
Kim Wall/Al Jazeera;*;Kim Wall/Al Jazeera;*;Kim Wall/Al Jazeera;*;Kim Wall/Al Jazeera;*;Kim Wall/Al Jazeera;*;Kim Wall/Al Jazeera;*;Kim Wall/Al Jazeera;*;Kim Wall/Al Jazeera;*;Kim Wall/Al Jazeera;*;Kim Wall/Al Jazeera;*;Kim Wall/Al Jazeera;*;Kim Wall/Al Jazeera;*;Kim Wall/Al Jazeera
Gallery Source:
Daylife
Daylife Raw Data:
Sri Lanka war tourismhttp://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sri_Lanka_war_tourismen-ussupport@newscred.comUntitled Site10Sat, 21 Dec 2013 12:12:03 GMT http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sri_Lanka_war_tourism/slideshow/no-caption/c1fff7fc27f458bbb03c41f65f24154e

Since the war ended four years ago, Sri Lanka's tourism industry has flourished. With over a dozen hotels operated and staffed by soldiers , as well as safaris, whale watching and restaurants , the army has not been late to capitalize on the boom.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sri_Lanka_war_tourism/slideshow/no-caption/c1fff7fc27f458bbb03c41f65f24154eKim Wall/Al Jazeera

Since the war ended four years ago, Sri Lanka's tourism industry has flourished. With over a dozen hotels operated and staffed by soldiers , as well as safaris, whale watching and restaurants , the army has not been late to capitalize on the boom.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sri_Lanka_war_tourism/slideshow/no-caption/b1d070a6c68088613f8a0f0d23424de5

'The government has given all of the country's best beaches to the army, because they trust us to take good care of them,' said an employee of the Marble Beach Air Force Resort. Off the shore, ships test drilled looking for oil but he hoped they wouldn't find anything. 'If they find oil, there might be another war,' he added.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sri_Lanka_war_tourism/slideshow/no-caption/b1d070a6c68088613f8a0f0d23424de5Kim Wall/Al Jazeera

'The government has given all of the country's best beaches to the army, because they trust us to take good care of them,' said an employee of the Marble Beach Air Force Resort. Off the shore, ships test drilled looking for oil but he hoped they wouldn't find anything. 'If they find oil, there might be another war,' he added.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sri_Lanka_war_tourism/slideshow/no-caption/c8ed84b8fb5c7495b90755349ef3a49cIn 2013, Sri Lanka was selected Lonely Planet's top destination and last year the island welcomed over a million foreign tourists. Few, if any, of them visited what has become one the most popular tourism trails, which is primarily frequented by Sinhalese tourists from the rural southwest.http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sri_Lanka_war_tourism/slideshow/no-caption/c8ed84b8fb5c7495b90755349ef3a49cKim Wall/Al Jazeera In 2013, Sri Lanka was selected Lonely Planet's top destination and last year the island welcomed over a million foreign tourists. Few, if any, of them visited what has become one the most popular tourism trails, which is primarily frequented by Sinhalese tourists from the rural southwest. http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sri_Lanka_war_tourism/slideshow/no-caption/c3e5ce525d3e4d426fab9c6060356773

Across the previous war zone, numerous triumphalist monuments have sprung up in what used to be the stronghold of the now defeated separatist guerrilla the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam,LTTE. With an AK47 in one hand and the Sri Lankan flag in the other, the statue's soldier looks towards the site where Tamil Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran's body was found in May 2009. Four stone lions, the country's national animal, surround the base and a dove sits on the muzzle of the machine gun.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sri_Lanka_war_tourism/slideshow/no-caption/c3e5ce525d3e4d426fab9c6060356773Kim Wall/Al Jazeera

Across the previous war zone, numerous triumphalist monuments have sprung up in what used to be the stronghold of the now defeated separatist guerrilla the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam,LTTE. With an AK47 in one hand and the Sri Lankan flag in the other, the statue's soldier looks towards the site where Tamil Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran's body was found in May 2009. Four stone lions, the country's national animal, surround the base and a dove sits on the muzzle of the machine gun.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sri_Lanka_war_tourism/slideshow/no-caption/06133550347c853f17693abfe0e1cb72

Mortar launcher, allegedly used by the Tamil Tigers in the civil war, displayed to domestic tourists at the LTTE museum. This is a rare sign featuring Tamil, the predominant language in the northeast of Sri Lanka, as most are in Sinhalese only.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sri_Lanka_war_tourism/slideshow/no-caption/06133550347c853f17693abfe0e1cb72Kim Wall/Al Jazeera

Mortar launcher, allegedly used by the Tamil Tigers in the civil war, displayed to domestic tourists at the LTTE museum. This is a rare sign featuring Tamil, the predominant language in the northeast of Sri Lanka, as most are in Sinhalese only.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sri_Lanka_war_tourism/slideshow/no-caption/4a14f8f448e575e88bad2044652a6866Tourists given a guided tour by an army member at the LTTE museum in Puthukkudiyiruppu. The history of the war remains deeply contested and despite mounting international pressure, an independent investigation into alleged war crimes has not yet been allowed. Many Tamils living in the area were skeptical that the peace could last.http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sri_Lanka_war_tourism/slideshow/no-caption/4a14f8f448e575e88bad2044652a6866Kim Wall/Al Jazeera Tourists given a guided tour by an army member at the LTTE museum in Puthukkudiyiruppu. The history of the war remains deeply contested and despite mounting international pressure, an independent investigation into alleged war crimes has not yet been allowed. Many Tamils living in the area were skeptical that the peace could last. http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sri_Lanka_war_tourism/slideshow/no-caption/1e21505d63c79bab54072ed781265db2A tourist from Tangalle, a popular southern beach resort, has his photo taken in front of a Sea Tiger battleship at the LTTE museum. According to a local human rights activist, the army tries to illustrate to the public how sophisticated and brutal the LTTE were. In return, the government will appear all the stronger for having defeated them.http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sri_Lanka_war_tourism/slideshow/no-caption/1e21505d63c79bab54072ed781265db2Kim Wall/Al Jazeera A tourist from Tangalle, a popular southern beach resort, has his photo taken in front of a Sea Tiger battleship at the LTTE museum. According to a local human rights activist, the army tries to illustrate to the public how sophisticated and brutal the LTTE were. In return, the government will appear all the stronger for having defeated them. http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sri_Lanka_war_tourism/slideshow/no-caption/bc9c7a2ee7dcebeda5ba57fdd2d36f7f

The 'terrorist swimming pool, 83 ft. long and 22 ft. deep, where the LTTE allegedly trained their Sea Tiger divers ahead of deep sea operations and suicide attacks.'While the nation was swarming with pools of blood with the spate of LTTE's heinous crimes elsewhere, the terrorist had constructed this huge swimming pool in 2001 for exclusive use of the cream of terrorists'? said a sign.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sri_Lanka_war_tourism/slideshow/no-caption/bc9c7a2ee7dcebeda5ba57fdd2d36f7fKim Wall/Al Jazeera

The 'terrorist swimming pool, 83 ft. long and 22 ft. deep, where the LTTE allegedly trained their Sea Tiger divers ahead of deep sea operations and suicide attacks.'While the nation was swarming with pools of blood with the spate of LTTE's heinous crimes elsewhere, the terrorist had constructed this huge swimming pool in 2001 for exclusive use of the cream of terrorists'? said a sign.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sri_Lanka_war_tourism/slideshow/no-caption/00a194b08e09eed13aae17ec7da16aeb

One of the most popular attractions on the war tourism trail was reclusive LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran's three floor bunker home in the jungle. This photo is taken few days before the military detonated a bomb inside, citing 'safety concerns'. Others have speculated that the destruction intended to prevent the site from becoming a shrine for former Tamil Tigers.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sri_Lanka_war_tourism/slideshow/no-caption/00a194b08e09eed13aae17ec7da16aebKim Wall/Al Jazeera

One of the most popular attractions on the war tourism trail was reclusive LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran's three floor bunker home in the jungle. This photo is taken few days before the military detonated a bomb inside, citing 'safety concerns'. Others have speculated that the destruction intended to prevent the site from becoming a shrine for former Tamil Tigers.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sri_Lanka_war_tourism/slideshow/no-caption/e87be9046bc9bce795cba6f2beb9e94f

A tour bus arrives at the Iranamadu tank outside Kilinochchi, now a military air strip and tourist attraction, and an armed soldier guides the pilgrims around the site. The new cantonments is one of the largest in the northeast and human rights groups report that its establishment displaced numerous families to temporary shelters and tents.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sri_Lanka_war_tourism/slideshow/no-caption/e87be9046bc9bce795cba6f2beb9e94fKim Wall/Al Jazeera

A tour bus arrives at the Iranamadu tank outside Kilinochchi, now a military air strip and tourist attraction, and an armed soldier guides the pilgrims around the site. The new cantonments is one of the largest in the northeast and human rights groups report that its establishment displaced numerous families to temporary shelters and tents.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sri_Lanka_war_tourism/slideshow/no-caption/7f3b773b5ef6de9f91926499d165c8aeA stray dog at the ruins of another LTTE bunker bombed by the regime's air force, which has become another popular tourist site since the war ended. Still, extensive reconstruction remains to be done in the previous war zone and the regime has been accused of neglecting civilian development in favor of infrastructure and tourism. An estimated 93 482 civilians remain internally displaced and even the war tourism sites remain surrounded by land mines. In March, the UNHCR will decide whether Sri Lanka will be independently investigated for its alleged war crimes.http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sri_Lanka_war_tourism/slideshow/no-caption/7f3b773b5ef6de9f91926499d165c8aeKim Wall/Al Jazeera A stray dog at the ruins of another LTTE bunker bombed by the regime's air force, which has become another popular tourist site since the war ended. Still, extensive reconstruction remains to be done in the previous war zone and the regime has been accused of neglecting civilian development in favor of infrastructure and tourism. An estimated 93 482 civilians remain internally displaced and even the war tourism sites remain surrounded by land mines. In March, the UNHCR will decide whether Sri Lanka will be independently investigated for its alleged war crimes. http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sri_Lanka_war_tourism/slideshow/no-caption/d83532328b649779295d2d4cc5c518ceOther landmarks are kept to illustrate the terror of the Tamil Tigers. A Sinhalese tour group photographs the remains of a vehicle reportedly blown up by the LTTE, near Jaffna. In March, the UNHCR is set to discuss whether Sri Lanka should be investigated for war crimes allegedly committed by both sides.http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sri_Lanka_war_tourism/slideshow/no-caption/d83532328b649779295d2d4cc5c518ceKim Wall/Al Jazeera Other landmarks are kept to illustrate the terror of the Tamil Tigers. A Sinhalese tour group photographs the remains of a vehicle reportedly blown up by the LTTE, near Jaffna. In March, the UNHCR is set to discuss whether Sri Lanka should be investigated for war crimes allegedly committed by both sides. http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sri_Lanka_war_tourism/slideshow/no-caption/eaa5d7d202a7f53439468c93cd611a87

Next to a destroyed water tower kept as a reminder of the war's destruction stands a military run souvenir shop in Kilinochchi, the former de facto LTTE capital. With a multitude of shops and stalls throughout the region, the army has been criticized for undermining local business and civil society. Meanwhile, the government hails the military involvement in development as a new model for post conflict reconstruction.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sri_Lanka_war_tourism/slideshow/no-caption/eaa5d7d202a7f53439468c93cd611a87Kim Wall/Al Jazeera

Next to a destroyed water tower kept as a reminder of the war's destruction stands a military run souvenir shop in Kilinochchi, the former de facto LTTE capital. With a multitude of shops and stalls throughout the region, the army has been criticized for undermining local business and civil society. Meanwhile, the government hails the military involvement in development as a new model for post conflict reconstruction.



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