A Week After Al-Qaida's Attack On An Ivory Coast Beach, Ivorians Return To Show They're Not Afraid : Goats and Soda A mother in Ivory Coast defiantly brings her children to the resort town where al-Qaida terrorists killed 19 people on March 13. A new music video reinforces her stand.
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A Day At The Beach Is A Way Of Saying 'We're Not Afraid' Of Terrorists

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A Day At The Beach Is A Way Of Saying 'We're Not Afraid' Of Terrorists

A Day At The Beach Is A Way Of Saying 'We're Not Afraid' Of Terrorists

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

We've been reporting on how Brussels is trying to get back to normal after this week's bombings. Ivory Coast also suffered a terror attack this month. Al-Qaida militants killed at least 19 people at a seaside resort. Within days, dozens were back on the beach where the gunmen had opened fire on swimmers, sunbathers and diners. NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton went to see them.

OFEIBEA QUIST-ARCTON, BYLINE: Hassane Coulibaly is almost 7, and like a typical child, this bright-eyed little boy is frolicking in the Atlantic Ocean, jumping in the sand and dipping his feet in the waves crashing on the shore in Grand Bassam.

Behind him is Etoile du Sud hotel which along with the beachfront was sprayed with bullets and grenades by al-Qaida militants recently in Ivory Coast. Hassane's mother, Salimata Sylla is holding on tightly to his younger brother, Kader, who's 2. She's brought the boys and their teen sister, Myriam, and other family members to Grand Bassam.

SALIMATA SYLLA: (Speaking French).

QUIST-ARCTON: We're not afraid of these terrorists, says the 40-year-old government worker wearing purple shorts and a big smile. Sylla says to make a point, she's visiting Bassam and the hotel with her family a week after the attacks on the beach in Ivory Coast. We're not afraid of these terrorists and won't stay locked up at home, she insists.

SYLLA: (Speaking French). Never, never, never afraid.

QUIST-ARCTON: Switching back to French, Sylla tells NPR her work colleagues were horrified to hear she was going to the beach a week after the tragedy here.

SYLLA: (Speaking French).

QUIST-ARCTON: Laughing, she says they thought I was crazy and tried to dissuade me. When they realized I was serious, they said, well, if you're determined to go ahead with your beach plans, go by yourself and leave the children at home.

On the beach in front of the Etoile du Sud hotel, a group of popular Ivorian performers gathered a week after the deadly raid on Grand Bassam to sing a song of defiance. It's called "Meme Pas Peur."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MEME PAS PEUR")

UNIDENTIFIED ARTISTS: (Singing in French).

QUIST-ARCTON: Meme pas peur is shorthand for can't scare us. With the ocean waves as a backdrop, the musicians were recording a video surrounded by beachgoers dancing and singing along.

SAFIATOU TRAORE: (Speaking French).

QUIST-ARCTON: Safiatou Traore, a well-known Ivorian celebrity is part of the Can't Scare Us collective, and she was dancing her heart out.

TRAORE: (Speaking French).

QUIST-ARCTON: I love dancing, says Traore. Coming back to the scene of the attacks is the best way to tell the terrorists the people of Ivory Coast are strong and will not be cowed, she says.

It's almost sundown at Grand Bassam beach. Salimata Sylla is gathering her kids together and preparing to head home. In an irrepressible expression of sheer exuberance, she says...

SYLLA: (Speaking French).

QUIST-ARCTON: I'm here, and I'm alive.

SALIMATA SYLLA: (Laughter).

QUIST-ARCTON: That needs no translation. Ofeibea Quist-Arcton, NPR News, Grand Bassam, Ivory Coast.

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