Real-life Spider-man wins French citizenship for heroism

World Today

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. Mamoudou Gassama living illegally in France is being honored by Macron for scaling an apartment building over the weekend to save a 4-year-old child dangling from a fifth-floor balcony. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, Pool)

Mamadou Gassama, a migrant from Mali, will receive French citizenship for his heroic acts of rescuing a child from a four-floor balcony in Paris.

CGTN’s Elena Casas reports.

In September, Gassama arrived in France from Mali with no legal papers. By Monday morning, he was being received by Emmanuel Macron at the presidential palace as a hero.

He told reporters that when he saw the child, he didn’t think twice.

“He’s very happy about what he did,” his brother translated. “When he heard people honking and yelling, he went outside, looked up and saw the child. What did he think? He immediately thought about saving the child.

Gassama was greeted by cheering crowds on Monday afternoon in the Parisian suburb of Montreuil, where he is been living in a hostel for migrants.

More significantly, President Macron announced that Gassana will be rewarded with his legal papers to remain in France, and will have a quick path to citizenship, which normally takes at least five years.

“He told me what he’d achieved, what many of you have seen,” President Macron said. “So we have decided not just to give him legal status, but to start a naturalization procedure, and offer him a placement with the Paris fire service, so he can show the same heroism every day.”

Yet migrant support groups pointed out that the public’s celebration of Gassama’s bravery is not a progress made by the entire undocumented community. It contrasted sharply with government policy, which aims to deport as many as people as possible, who like Gassama, are living in France without papers.