Shades of Darkness

Silence, Risk and Fear among Tourists and Nepalis during Nepal's Civil War

in Journeys
Author: Sharon Hepburn
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The conflict between the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and the Nepalese state, from 1996 until 2006, resulted in thousands of "disappeared" and dead Nepalis, and, especially after 9/11, a sharp decline in tourism in Nepal. Yet the tourists who came had good journeys. Based on ethnographic research, this article explores how these two worlds—of tourism, and the darkness of war, variously experienced—coexisted in the winter of 2002 in the lakeside resort of Pokhara. The article describes how the culture of silence that emerged during the war permeated interactions between Nepalis and visitors, and that there are shades of darkness as well as shades of fear. Situations are not black and white and people's experiences are contingent on contexts and backgrounds that are diverse and complex. Complementing studies of dark tourism, that is tourism about darkness, this is a study of tourism in darkness.

Journeys

The International Journal of Travel and Travel Writing

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