In early 2009, after about 28 years of civil war the Sri Lanka Army finally had crushed the resistance of the Tamil Tiger rebels who had fought for ‘Tamil Eelam’ an independent state.
Basically all the territory – that for many years was kept by the separatists had been recaptured by the Sri Lankan Forces. The remaining rebels together with around 300 000 civilians were rounded up into a tiny coastal strip of about 25 square kilometers – cynically called a ‘no fire zone’ – north of the small town of Mullativo in the North-East of the country.
Trapped between the sea in the East and a big lagoon in the West the people were under siege for roughly 4 months and constantly shelled by the Sri Lankan Army. Conservative estimates (by the UN) claim that about 40 000 people died from January to May 2009 and thousands were killed or simply disappeared after the defeat and end of the combat operation.
There have been no independent witnesses. No foreign media was allowed close to the battleground, the UN was forced to leave the area before the final crack down started in January 2009.
Later the area has been sealed off for many years, all evidence has been removed and today there are plans to develop it for future tourism.
The series ‘The Beach’ photographed 6 years after the end of the civil war, wants to remind of the massacre of Tamil civilians and bring the tragedy – that has been hardly noticed – back into the consciousness of the public.