Disaster Tourism

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As this photo taken by canyoumakezeeinternetzbettah illustrates, Sarajevo is still a city that is scarred by war. There are still buildings scattered throughout the city that bear the marks of the bullets and mortars that were launched at the city during the war. The damaged buildings make it impossible to go a day without contemplating the war and how it still effects the city and its citizens.

The citizens of Sarajevo must walk past buildings everyday that will likely trigger traumatic memories of sitting in basements while the city was being bombed or running through the streets trying to avoid sniper fire. The trauma still being suffered by the residents of Sarajevo is worsened when twelve American tourists jump out of tour van at “Sniper Alley” with cameras flashing and snap photos of every bullet-hole and mortar mark that they can see. “Grab your camera if you see a bullet-hole (sung to the tune of the chorus in 2Pac’s “Hit Em’ Up”).” Doing so allows you to forget what actually happened during the war and separates you from where you are. “Snipers Alley” was one of the most dangerous spots in the city where civilians were targeted by snipers while simply walking across the street. The fact that this location has now become a tourist location is appalling. A visitor’s perception of the city will obviously be influenced by the war’s effects on the city, but to allow the scars of war to become a tourist attraction is wholly disrespectful to the suffering of the citizens of Sarajevo during the four year siege and their continued attempts to recover and move forward. Perspective.

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