Dark Tourism: Tragedy when the travel destination

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2 years ago

Shoulder bag, map on mobile phone, then cut the ticket and go out to the unknown - who doesn't want to see the world like this? Imagine the destination of the trip, maybe you will see Niagara Falls, the Eiffel Tower or the Pyramids of Egypt. You may want to go inside the country to St. Martin's Island or Sajak Valley. From the serenity of the quiet mountains to the vast sea, the alleys of exile from the ancient city - the field of tourism is vast. Pleasure, curiosity and hobbies - tourism combined.

But what if that tourist destination is a place whose history is filled only with sorrow and misery?

But among the various types of tourism, there is a kind of tourism industry, which is based on the chapter of grief and suffering of history. His name is Dark Tourism.

No, it's not black magic or anything like that. It is a much larger and different matter

The concept of dark tourism was introduced in 1996 by John Lennon and Malcolm Foley, two faculty members at Glasgow Caledonian University. According to their definition, traveling to places related to disasters and tragedies is called dark tourism. If a place has witnessed the horrors of the past, the curiosity of the people towards it and visiting it is part of Dark Tourism.

  • This horror could be a natural disaster or a man-made event. There are countless places of dark tourism all over the world.

  • This place can be a tsunami, tidal wave, an area devastated by an earthquake. For example, Japan, which was devastated by the 2011 tsunami, or Indonesia, which was hit by a recent tsunami. Many dark tourists help in relief work at this time.

  • Dark tourism can happen at a major accident site in the past, such as the Chernobyl nuclear disaster or the Aberfan disaster.

  • But dark tourism is most prevalent where signs of human cruelty are found. Where there is evidence of another class of human beings on the history of the ultimate inhumanity, there is a strong possibility of dark tourism.

A-bomb dome, Hiroshima

Witness the Nazi atrocities at the Auschwitz camp in Poland, the Aokigahara Suicide Forest in Japan, the Rwandan Genocide Memorial, the wreckage of the atomic bomb of Hiroshima, and the Nagasaki ruins.

Dark tourism can be the one-time residence of a serial killer or terrorist. Interestingly, various types of museums or exhibitions are organized in different countries to attract dark tourism. The Museum of Death in Los Angeles has been established to attract dark tourists. Many visitors visit this museum to know about the notoriety of different criminals of different times. There are many associations and online websites in the interest of spreading Dark Tourism.

In many cases, museums that have been established to preserve history, not in the interests of dark tourism, have also become the subject of dark tourism. Again, many times, during normal travel, maybe some people come to the Dark Tourist Spot. For example, someone may have visited Japan, but in time he returned to Hiroshima or Nagasaki!

Pompeii, Italy;

There is controversy over the timing of the Dark Tourism spot. According to Lennon and Foley, the Dark Tourist site is limited to recent events. And they have set this period since 1900. In other words, no event before the twentieth century will fall under Dark Tourism. However, many theorists have opposed it, as there have been many tragedies before, the consequences of which can still affect people today. An example of this is the Pompeii tragedy. In 69, Vesuvius volcano erupted in the Italian city, leaving thousands dead.

  • According to Lennon-Foley's definition, Pompeii does not fall under Dark Tourism, but it is no less so in terms of horror. Vesuvius is not dead yet, this sleeping volcano can wake up again at any time. So Pompeii can be included in Dark Tourism.

  • Does Dark Tourism seem to be a very strange and unfamiliar subject? Interestingly, we have several spots of dark tourism in Bangladesh.

  • The ‘Liberation War Museum’ in Segunbagicha, built to preserve the history of the bloody liberation war, is but a spot of dark tourism.

Besides, there are Rayerbazar massacre ground, Mirpur massacre ground, Mirpur martyred intellectual graveyard etc. The tomb of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the house in Dhanmondi No. 32 where he was brutally murdered along with his family - all these places belong to Dark Tourism.

  • The site of the tragic Rana Plaza collapse of 2013 is also a place of dark tourism.

  • Knowingly or unknowingly, we have all more or less taken part in Dark Tourism.

  • However, the question of morality has been debated at various times over dark tourism.

  • According to some, promoting the tourism industry by capitalizing on human suffering is morally inappropriate. They think that dark tourism is based on attraction on many forbidden objects.

According to another quarter, dark tourism is not something to blame, but it is very important to know in the interest of dark tourism. According to the researchers, if a person does not know his history, he will never be able to correct his past mistakes. Dark tourism, in their view, is not simply influenced by curiosity or fascination with death. Rather, Dark Tourism is interested in knowing the place behind the tragedy or the history behind the event.

Many may still think, how reasonable is it to turn the history of other people's misery into a hobby?

No matter how much time has passed, the history of pain is the history of pain, isn't it?

Birkenue Gate, Auschwitz Camp;

But the characteristic that sets us apart from all other creatures as human beings is our curiosity. And not only if we are busy with the present, we have to look back to understand the right path of the future. The future can never be built by forgetting the past. If we as a nation do not know the history of our liberation war, we will never understand the meaning of freedom. And this is not just a matter of knowing, it is a matter of feeling from within. Thousands of people breathed their last in the gas chambers of the Auschwitz camp during World War II - today, standing in front of the camp gates, people can realize how horrible communalism is, how toxic it is.

Once again, standing at the Murambi Memorial, witnessing the 1994 Tutsi genocide in Rwanda, people will see how abhorrent hatred is and how their Hutu neighbors killed millions just for the sake of Tutsi identity!

Signs of the Chernobyl disaster;

To learn from past mistakes, grievances or pain, you must go to all these places, to know. However, visiting these places is not limited to ticking your own checklist, the sensitivity of the tourist is also important.

Dark tourism spots are different from other tourist spots. These places contain the pain of the past, so tourists must behave in such an elegant way. It would be very indecent if someone sat in front of a row of graves to take their best profile picture with a selfie stick.

That's why when you travel to these places, you have to pay attention to your own behavior, so that your behavior does not hurt the local people or their history in any way.

Many people do not have the opportunity or ability to travel to different parts of the world, so those who have it, should be sympathetic when traveling.

During Dark Tourism or any other type of travel, a kind of spiritual connection is established between the place of travel, the people and the history of the place as well as the tourist. Tourists get a chance to think by putting themselves in the place of the town, thus people come out of the mindset of understanding others out of a hostile attitude. People are generous, compassionate.

At the end of the day, the main thing is what is your purpose behind traveling to these places. Is it curiosity about death and sadness? Interested in history? Or the desire to be an 'exception' among friends?

Are you a dark tourist?

Whatever your motives, there is no reason to argue that your conduct during the trip should be treated with due respect and sensitivity.

See these places with your own heart, not just with the camera, but witness the history of sadness. Bring a message of peace, empathy and secularism when you return home, remember. Then little by little the world will become more beautiful, more tolerant.

So start with yourself.

Recently Netflix has produced a series of documentaries called 'Dark Tourist' about Dark Tourism. You can watch the trailer of the series presented by journalist David Farrier below.

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Avatar for ilias
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2 years ago


Impressive article

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2 years ago

Tourism exposes one to new places.

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2 years ago