Spiderman’s Paris rescue raises questions about Europe’s treatment of migrants

It was a rescue which wowed the world and made Mamoudou Gassama a national hero in France.

The Malian migrant’s death-defying four-storey ascent of a Paris building to save a dangling child won him an invitation to the presidential palace and a personal promise of citizenship from Emmanuel Macron.

But amid the celebrations of this extraordinary feat, the French government has now come in for sharp criticism for its apparent double standards.

British MP David Lammy was among those to ask: Does a person really have to do something so extraordinary to stand a chance of becoming a citizen?

“I don’t think that ‘migrants’ should have to behave like superheroes before they are treated like human beings,” Lammy tweeted. “Being a human being should be the only prerequisite to being treated like a human being. And that applies in the UK just as much as France.”

Fatima Manji, the Channel Four correspondent, suggested the events were “tinged” with sadness. “Man from Mali, an ex-French colony, has to risk his life and prove exceptional to be rewarded with French Citizenship,” she posted.

Others pointed out how, just days before Mr Macron sat smiling with Mr Gassama, France had ordered the forced closure of several migrant camps in Paris.

More than 2,500 people will be left homeless by the mass clearance in the city’s 19th arrondissement, reports the AP news agency.

The growing disquiet came as more details were revealed about the hero’s torrid journey to – and life in – France.

After leaving his home town of Yaguine in south-western Mali in 2013, the 22-year-old – then still a teenager – travelled across the Sahara Desert through Burkina Faso, Niger and Libya before crossing the Mediterranean to Italy in 2014. From there, he moved onto France where his brother lived, the BBC reports.

During his meeting with Mr Macron on Monday, he admitted he had been working cash-in-hand on building sites in Paris and lived in a hostel where he shared a room and mattress with several other men.

He said he did not think of his legal status during the rescue. He told French broadcaster BFMTV afterwards: “I did not think, I saved him.”

The boy’s father – who prosecutors now say was out playing Pokemon Go – is still being questioned by police. The child is currently in care.

TNT News

Photo Credit: Mail & Guardian

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