A French village this week buried an anonymous Cameroonian man who was found dead in the landing gear of an airplane that landed at Paris’s Charles De Gaulle airport. His gravestone reads “Unknown except to God”.
“He’s entitled to a minimum of dignity,” commented Marion Blancard, the mayor of Mauregard, a village of 350 people situated next door to the Roissy/Charles De Gaulle airport’s runways.
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The local council paid for a simple ceremony, attended by the mayor, two council officials and a worker who was repairing the cemetery wall, providing a wreath, an oak coffin and a headstone, Le Monde newspaper reports.
The man’s body was found three weeks ago on a CamAir plane arriving in Paris from Yaoundé.
He had apparently stowed away in the hope of coming to France but died for lack of oxygen when flying at 9,000 meters altitude in temperatures of -50°C.
Planes continually fly over Mauregard and deaths at the airport must be registered there.
The last such case was two years ago, although police told Le Monde that there are usually one or two a year.
In 2007 the body of an Egyptian, Ahled Abou Shady, fell into a garden near the airport, when the Air France plane he was on lowered its wheels.
Inflight births are also registered in Mauregard.
The Cameroonian migrant, known officially as “X masculin N° 13/0824”, has not been identified, despite photographs being sent to his homeland.
The council chose the more poetic “Unknown except to God” for the inscription on his tombstone.
Question for you Cameroonians:
Why did the massive Cameroon Embassy in France and the large Cameroon community in France not provide the “minimum of dignity” to one of their own? What is wrong with us?