Paris ‘Spiderman’ Mamoundou Gassama offered citizenship after saving dangling child

By @chelean on
French President Emmanuel Macron (L) meets with Mamoudou Gassama
French President Emmanuel Macron (L) meets with Mamoudou Gassama, 22, from Mali, at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, 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. Thibault Camus/Pool via Reuters

Mamoundou Gassama has been offered citizenship by French President Emmanuel Macron after a video of him rescuing a 4-year-old boy dangling from a balcony emerged online. The 22-year-old Malian migrant became an instant Internet sensation after scaling three storeys up a building to rescue the small boy, with the French dubbing him “Le Spiderman” for his bravery.

His act of courage took place around 8 p.m. on Saturday in Paris. A child was seen dangling from a fourth floor balcony with a neighbour from an adjacent room trying to hold the boy up but to no avail. Gassama can be seen in the video climbing the building with his bare hands in less than 30 seconds and then rescuing the small child.

When asked by French broadcaster BFMTV what he was thinking when he saw the child dangling from the balcony, he said, “I did not think, I saved him.”

The boy’s parents were not home at the time, and his father has been questioned by police after it was claimed he left his child unattended at home.

Gassama was praised for his heroic act, with Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo calling him as the “Spiderman of the 18th,” referring to the Paris district where the building is located. A petition was quickly set up on Sunday to call for his right to stay in France. He was an undocumented immigrant, and French authorities had the power to grant him citizenship in exceptional cases.

Mamoudou Gassama Mamoudou Gassama, 22, from Mali, leaves the Elysee Palace after his meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron, in Paris, France, 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.  Thibault Camus/Pool via Reuters

On Monday, Macron made that possible. He met with Gassama at the Ely sé e Palace, promising him a French citizenship as soon as possible. The president added that the Paris fire brigade was also ready to welcome him in service.

Lassana Bathily

Lassana Bathily Honoree Lassana Bathily poses as he is honored by the Simon Wiesenthal Center with a Medal of Honor in Beverly Hills, California March 24, 2015.  Reuters/Kevork Djansezian

Gassama’s bravery is reminiscent of another migrant who was also granted citizenship after saving  lives during an anti-Semitic attack in Paris. Lassana Bathily, who was also from Malia, hid customers from an Islamist gunman at a Paris kosher supermarket in January 2015. The 24-year-old Muslim was in a stockroom when Amedy Coulibaly burst inside and gunned down four people. Bathily told the hostages, which included a baby, to hide inside a cold store room during the assault. He turned off the temperature and shut the door before calling for help.

Bathily, who had lived in France for the past nine years, was honoured with a medal and a French passport by then-President Francois Hollande.

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