The French government has hit out at Black Panther: Wakanda Forever for a scene in the recent Marvel movie.
Its defence minister, Sebastian Lecornu, took to Twitter to retweet a post which called the scene American propaganda.
Lecornu added in his own words (translated from French), “I strongly condemn this deceitful and misleading representation of our armed forces. I think [about] and pay tribute to the 58 French soldiers who died defending Mali at its request against Islamist terrorist groups.”
The scene in question takes place early in the film and features unnamed French military soldiers who are cuffed and marched into the UN in Switzerland. They’re depicted as acting on behalf of the French government to illegally plunder a precious resource from Marvel’s fictional African country, Wakanda.
The inclusion of the French forces is a small part of Wakanda Forever, but plays into an underlying theme of the film which comments on the European history of territorial and cultural colonialism and how aspects of it continue to exist in the fight for resources and raw materials in the 21st century.
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Wakanda possesses a substance called “vibranium”, an alien metal which has advanced technological properties. In the MCU’s movies and TV shows, Wakanda has hid its technological progress from the rest of the world until recently.
The revelation of vibranium’s existence has led to other nations to search for their own supply, even if it means taking it from the Wakanda’s through duplicitous or violent means.
In Wakanda Forever, that troop of French mercenaries were attacking a Wakandan outpost in Mali to forcefully obtain vibranium but were stopped by Wakandan forces.
According to CBS news, that the outpost was in Mali is a “sensitive” issue in France given the real-life connections between France and Mali.
As referred to by Lecornu, French forces were stationed in Mali as part of Operation Barkhane. It withdrew its troops last year after nine years when tensions arose in the aftermath of a 2021 coup d’etat carried out by military forces. Mali is now ruled by a military junta.
Mali, along with Burkina Faso, Chad, Mauritania and Niger were former French colonies.
Story Credit: news.com.au