Jewish 100, 2014: Lassana Bathily – Tomorrow
On the morning of Friday, Jan. 9, Lassana Bathily was just another shop assistant, working, in his case, at the HyperCacher market on the outskirts of Paris. By that same evening, he had become a hero. When Islamist terrorist Amedy Coulibaly seized the store, in the culmination of a week of terror in Paris, four people were rapidly murdered. Had it not been for Bathily, that figure would have been much higher. The Malian national calmly shepherded 15 other customers to safety into a basement storeroom. He then managed to sneak out of the store, where he provided the police with the vital information they needed to break the siege without further loss of life. “We are brothers,” Bathily later explained. “It’s not a question of Jews, of Christians, or of Muslims.” Bathily has since been granted French citizenship by the authorities, in recognition of his selfless and courageous act. But the Legion d’Honneur – France’s highest award – has not been conferred upon him. At least, not yet.