M.I.A.: “Fuck the New York Times” For Saying Sri Lanka is 2010’s #1 Tourist Destination


Pretty sure M.I.A. has a legitimate point here. The New York Times‘s “The 31 Places to Go in 2010” article from the other day leads with an encomium to the possibilities of Sri Lanka as a tourist destination. Perhaps you’d heard something about a civil war going on over there, though? Don’t worry about it! Says the Times:

    For a quarter century, Sri Lanka seems to have been plagued by misfortune, including a brutal civil war between the Sinhalese majority and Tamil minority. But the conflict finally ended last May, ushering in a more peaceful era for this teardrop-shaped island off India’s coast, rich in natural beauty and cultural splendors.

If your item on vacation spots must lead with that paragraph, that may be a sign that your travel piece has a problem. Especially when, as M.I.A. points out, the Times‘s own The Lede blog–whose coverage of the conflict in Sri Lanka has been thorough and pretty responsible throughout–carried an item not four days ago about brutal extrajudicial executions carried out in Sri Lanka about a year ago by the government there. Which is to say, the same government you’d be supporting with your tourist dollars, should you hit, say, “Nilaveli Beach in the Tamil north,” where though “a few military checkpoints remain, vacationers can lounge on poolside hammocks under palm trees or snorkel in its crystal-clear waters.” And it’s perfectly safe, see, since the minority Tamil separatist leaders who used to hold sway in those parts have now been summarily executed by the Sri Lankan military.

The Times, of course, is the same paper who about a year ago accused M.I.A. herself of being a terrorist apologist, on frighteningly thin evidence. Even as the Lede’s Robert Mackey has steadily chronicled the human rights violations and shelling of Tamil minority civilians by a government that finally brutally finished off a 25-year civil war last summer, the paper’s cultural coverage has been basically completely oblivious as to the asymmetrical and bloody nature of the conflict in that country. Except of course when they want to put M.I.A. herself forward as a representative for the losing, “terrorist” side. It’s like “Holiday in Cambodia,” sans the irony. So yeah, basically–fuck the New York Times.

The 31 Places to Go in 2010 [NYT]
Video of Sri Lankan Executions Appears Authentic, U.N. Says [NYT]

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