I felt frustrated reading your story on Sri Lanka ("A calmer shore", Jan 30). Though it appears to me to be a promotion piece from the Sri Lankan tourism ministry, I do not understand why Gill Charlton ignored the current political ugliness in Sri Lanka, where the opposition candidate of the concluded presidential elections is reportedly fleeing for his life. The country is more divided along ethnic lines than ever before, leaving the future more unpredictable with upcoming parliamentary elections ahead. Sandy Vadi, Ontario, Canada
Unfortunately, there are many countries around the world that we would boycott if we judged them purely on their politics. The job of a travel writer is to offer a different perspective, without ignoring political realities. Gill Charlton travelled to Sri Lanka independently as a journalist interested in seeing areas of the country that have recently opened to tourists. She did not receive assistance from the Sri Lankan tourism ministry. She described Sri Lanka, including the eastern part, as she saw it - in Passikuda and Kalkudah, for example, "Piles of crushed bricks and concrete, plastic piping and ceramic tiles scattered across the coconut groves are all that remains of its heyday." She also referred to the "ongoing controversy over the internment camps for Tamil civilians" on the Jaffna Peninsula, which is still off-limits to tourists. Other articles by us on this subject have, we believe, been similarly balanced. Gill Charlton's piece was written before the elections of last week, but the country's political failings should not, in our view, prevent tourists from visiting the country or be used to deprive Sri Lankan people of much-needed income.
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