Mamoudou Gassama, this name, many are these Africans, French and even inhabitants of the world who discovered it after his heroic gesture to save a child suspended in the void, from the top of a building.
The man, since this act, is taken as a hero and continues to arouse admiration. This time, he seduces a Pakistani journalist, Mashaal Gauhar founding editor of Blue Chip magazine. She is inspired by it to write an article to pay tribute to migrants.
In extenso, the journalist's article.
Migrants, these unsung heroes
In a context of growing intolerance towards migrants and refugees, the heroism of Mamoudou Gassama who scaled a building in Paris to save a four-year-old boy perched on a fourth-floor balcony leads us to wonder why for which the stigmatization of migrants is allowed.
For his exceptional bravery – the kind you only see in superhero movies – 22-year-old Mamoudou Gassama, an illegal immigrant from Mali, was granted French citizenship by President Macron.
In an interview granted to French television, he seemed reserved while his brother, a French citizen, answered in his place. Anxious to join his brother, he said he crossed the Sahara, Burkina Faso, Niger and Libya to arrive in France. The affinity between the two brothers was apparent, showing how loved ones are all too often separated by poverty and conflict. Although the odds are stacked against them, millions are risking their lives to flee their homelands in search of safety and family.
Praised during the interview for his courage, his brother graciously indicated that the rescued child deserves applause as well. Despite her reluctance to appear on television and her obvious discomfort with the public attention, what stood out was her humility, integrity and the depth of her courage where saving the child's life was almost a reflex. He later said he acted without thinking. When asked what he wanted to do in France, he replied that he wanted to become a firefighter, serving his new community.
He spoke briefly about how he had been mistreated by traffickers in Libya. Instead of being hardened by a life of unimaginable adversity, he emerges as a man of remarkable compassion trapped in a cruel system of poverty and displacement, “I climbed…. Thank God I saved him,” was his simple description of what happened.
Like many others, he had made the perilous sea voyage from Libya to Europe. He only briefly explained the terrible conditions aboard the craft. Just days before, the growing stubbornness towards migrants arriving by sea was illustrated when Italy turned back a boat of 600 migrants stuck at sea.
The heightened antipathy towards migrants who have suffered the worst hardships is largely due to stereotypes, which routinely portray these migrants as dangerous criminals, degenerates and profiteers who seek to usurp employment opportunities. . The story of Mamoudou's superhuman feat captured media attention for a while with the video making the rounds on the internet but soon gave way to more migrant horror stories. Perhaps because such stories don't fit neatly into the news agenda: reinforcing reductive stereotypes about migrants is a powerful political tool to divert concerns to suitable scapegoats. This in turn lends legitimacy to the treatment reserved for them.
Mamoudou's bravery is a stark reminder to society to question who we value and why. As he demonstrated so well, the best among us are often those who are forgotten, voiceless and despised. His beautiful country, Mali, is home to a great Sufi heritage and it is the Sufis who claim that the best people are often the ones the world ignores, because this world is too crude to recognize their value.