“When people go on these vacations, they need to understand that this is not like going to Disneyland.”
France is both celebrating and mourning after a recent raid launched against an encampment of Islamic extremists in the West African nation of Burkina Faso. The aim of the raid was to free four tourists (one American, one South Korean, and two French) who were kidnapped while on safari in the nearby nation of Benin, and then smuggled into Burkina Faso. Though all the hostages were saved, two French soldiers, Cédric de Pierrepont and Alain Bertoncello, did not make it out of the raid alive. This story brings up the important question of smart and ethical tourism in areas like Benin and Burkina Faso, a former French territory now overrun with violent religious extremists. Safaris, many of which are run in remote and often dangerous locations, have been a breeding ground for kidnappings in recent years, and French authorities have warned against such excursions.
In the meantime, an official statement from French president Emmanuel Macron reads that he, “bows with emotion and solemnity before the sacrifice of [the] two soldiers who gave their lives to save those of our citizens.” And it is no doubt that the rest of France feels the same.