"We have come here to remember Laurent Barthélémy and to gather around him and his father, with the good fragrance of our compassion, our affection, and our prayer, as a balm spread over the life and death of Laurent Barthélémy and all his family, over the sadness of all his friends in the Yopougon neighborhood.

It was with these words full of tenderness that, on Thursday, Feb. 20, Valérie Régnier of the Community of Sant'Egidio introduced the prayer around the body of Laurent Barthélémy. He was a 14-year-old young Ivorian who "died of hope" while attempting to reach Europe and was found lifeless in the landing gear of a plane in Roissy on Jan. 8.

Laurent Barthélémy's dream of going to France, to Europe, was a dream of peace, unity, and a future, as it is for many African children. During these three days in Paris - which were organized with the support of the City of Paris and the Embassy of the Ivory Coast in France - Laurent’s father, Marius Ani, understood the dream that animated his son because he was able to contemplate the beauty of the city for the first time. He asked for forgiveness for not being able to understand his son, for not living up to his responsibilities as a father, and for not being able to do everything for him.

Valérie Regnier urged "We must not be afraid of this dream." This was said during the prayer that took place at the Paris Forensic Medical Institute, in the presence of Laurent’s father, Youth for Peace, and many friends of the Community of Sant'Egidio. She also added "On the contrary, we must treasure it and try to realize it every day, patiently, everywhere. In Europe and Africa. Everywhere, in all the peripheries, where we can build bridges of solidarity, humanity, and brotherhood and break down the walls of selfishness, indifference, and nationalism. "

Marius, who left Friday for Côte d'Ivoire with the body of his son, will be welcomed by the Community of Sant'Egidio in Abidjan, which continues its work to promote and spread among young people a new culture of solidarity for a possible future in Africa. This has been occurring thanks to the conferences in schools, particularly in the Yopougon neighborhood, where Laurent lived. Specifically, the main theme of these meetings is "Do not waste your life!"