By Hajer Naili

As of today, France has updated its criteria of eligibility to French citizenship. The applicant must possess ‘spider-man’ agility and have a superhero profile.

Jokes aside, what happened today in France is a political instrumentalisation by the French President who is sending a wrong message. As much as I want France to grant migrants legal documentation, it shouldn’t be because they are ready to scale balconies to save children while all of it is recorded and shared on social media before going viral.

Mamoudou Gassama, a migrant from Mali, had already risked his life by journeying through Burkina Faso, Niger and Libya before making the dangerous Mediterranean Sea crossing to Italy and arriving in France in September. But these were not enough risks taken for Mamoudou to be part of the French society.

What we have witnessed today is the result of the work of the politicians, media and so-called intellectuals who have been demonizing migrants to the point that when one does a good action, he/she is viewed as the exception. If we only took the time to listen to the stories of these men and women who left all they had behind because they thought we would listen to them, we would realize that they all had some superpowers to survive the ordeal they had gone through along their journey to Europe. But we are not listening. We are only talking. We are telling them who they are without knowing who they are. We are blaming them and condemning them for the only crime of wishing for a better life among us.

However, I’m afraid that today the thousands of asylum seekers in France will need to wait for a child to be suspended from a balcony. Then you know what you need to do.

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