On my flight from Minneapolis to Paris, I was sitting next to an older man who told me that his final destination overseas was not Paris, but Algeria. His daughter worked at the American consulate in the capital city, Algiers, and he was going out there to spend five weeks with her. At first it sounded like he was going to be having an interesting trip, but he soon explained that it would likely not be an overly enjoyable stay. As American citizens, both he and his daughter would be at high risk for kidnapping and extortion. The compound where his daughter lives, and he would be staying, is surrounded by high walls and razor wire. Any time they leave the compound they cannot just walk around or drive a regular car – they must request an armored vehicle with a security detachment. “I’m about to spend five weeks in jail” was the way the man described his stay in Algeria.

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