In one of the rare happy moments of the news, France has gone bananas this week over a man they are calling the “Spider-Man of Paris.”
This unlikely hero by the name of Mamoudou Gassama was an undocumented immigrant from Mali who scaled the treacherous facade of a Paris building Saturday night in order to save a child who dangling off a 4th-floor balcony. Cell phone videos of the act quickly went viral, making the young Gassama a local hero. An online petition went out following his discovery prompting the government to offer the immigrant French papers and a promise of citizenship.
Gassama was invited to the Élysée Palace this week to meet with French president Emmanuel Macron, who thanked him for his heroism and broke the news that the 22-year-old Malian would leave the palace a legally documented French resident. Gassama has also been offered a position working for the Paris fire brigade, where he could have the chance to perform many more great acts of bravery.
The event has sparked a national conversation about France’s ever-constricting immigration policies, and though Macron claims that this was “an exceptional act” that will have no impact on his policy, it still stands as a factor that could sway public opinion in France in the favor of immigrants and asylum-seekers.