Malian 'hero' given French citizenship for saving a child
May 31 2018
Mamoudou Gassama, 22, from Mali, is pictured during a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron at the presidential Elysee Palace in Paris, Monday, May, 28, 2018.
Mr Gassama, a paperless migrant from Mali who has been nicknamed "Spiderman" for the impressive speed at which he climbed up the building, was handed a temporary residency permit on Tuesday for his "heroic act".
The father of a young child dramatically rescued from a Paris balcony Saturday was out playing Pokemon Go when the incident happened.
Amateur video footage shows 22-year-old Mamadou Gassama being cheered on by spectators as he, in a stunning display of heroism, pulled himself up from balcony-to-balcony to the building's fourth floor, where the child was dangerously hanging.
It was a jaw-dropping feat captured on video that went viral and also captured the hearts of onlookers who were stunned, but their senses were probably tingling with appreciation. By Monday morning, he was being received by Emmanuel Macron at the presidential palace as a hero. He was also offered a job with the fire department. The mother was out of town, while the child's father was reportedly out shopping.
The father has been charged with "failure to meet parental obligations" and could face up to two years in prison if found guilty at trial, which is now scheduled for September. "I went out, I ran to look at the solutions to save him, I managed to catch the balcony, I climbed like this and thank God I saved him".
Macron urged Gassama to put in his request for nationalization papers, promising he would be naturalized into the country.
"I didn't think about the floors", he said, referring to the building he scaled.
As elsewhere in Europe, immigration from Africa and the Middle East has fixated French public opinion in the last few years, fuelling the rise of far-right parties such as the National Front.
Gassama told Macron that he arrived in Italy in 2014 after more than a year in Libya, where he was arrested and beaten, "but I wasn't discouraged".
In Paris, where the anti-immigration sentiment is bitter enough to rival the US, this story serves as a flawless example that all people have value to offer a place and deserve a chance to call another country home. He said there is no disparity between rewarding Gassama for his act of bravery and holding firm on immigration.