Lonely Planet’s Sri Lanka page describes Sri Lankans of all ethnic origins as proud people — proud of their cuisine, their wildlife and landscape, their long history of Buddhism, their two thousand years of independence before colonization, their eventual separation from their colonial rulers, and especially of their national cricket team.
Since the Sri Lankan government declared the end of the war with the Tamil Tigers in 2009, Sri Lanka has promoted itself as a safe, welcoming, European-friendly tourist destination. In January, 2010 the New York Times, placed Sri Lanka at the top of its “The 31 Places to go in 2010” list. This outraged Sri Lankan-raised international rap star and Tamil activist, M.I.A., whose rant against the Times for declaring Sri Lanka a tourist gem while almost simultaneously reporting on its government’s human rights abuses inspired fiery debate between Sinhalese, Tamils and many others with a stake in Sri Lanka’s future. (M.I.A.’s choice of language condemning the Times is far from kid-friendly so there won’t be a direct link here; you can easily ride Google to more information about the controversy.)