Posing at the crime scene
Lindsey Snell: I was on assignment in Sousse, Tunisia for Vocativ, primarily to film a story about a recent terror attack on the beach. Tunisia has become quite the recruitment hot spot for ISIS (here’s a video I made about this).
I’d been to Sousse twice before, both times to interview teenage boys who planned to join ISIS (Tunisia sent more fighters to Syria and Iraq than any other country on the planet). It hadn’t been easy to get Jihadi youth to trust an American journalist, but I’d succeeded with a few.
What I hadn’t expected was that getting hotel staff to talk about a widely-covered terror attack would be so difficult. Every witness to the attack who’d agreed to be interviewed backed out in the end, justifiably scared of losing their jobs. We were finally making headway, shooting on the beach, when police began to interfere. We had authorization to film on the beach, but that didn’t prevent the authorities from stopping us every fifteen minutes. My fixer was fielding their complaints about prior reports portraying them as lazy and ineffective (“I think she was filming me while I drank coffee!” one officer said, gesturing towards me).
It was while they were discussing that I turned around and captured something exquisite: Algerian tourists posing for pictures near the site where the Sousse gunman that killed 38 tourists was gunned down by police.
Yesterday’s tragedy is today’s tourist attraction. I think that’s universal.
Lindsey Snell is a shooter/producer/editor, based in Istanbul. She covers conflict and humanitarian crises in the Middle East and North Africa.