Doing the right thing is seldom easy. Spike Lee made an entire movie about it. So have many other people. It seems—as modernity continues to separate, degrade, and silo human from human, and human from humanity—that doing the right thing grows more difficult by the day.
Yet, what the internet tears apart, the internet brings together. The web carries to us inspirational stories from around the globe. On the internet—from time to time—there are stories of individuals taking righteous action. Stories that bring us all closer and, one hopes, motivating us more than ever before to do the right thing. We have listed eight heroes from these stories below as 8 Heroic Rescuers Throughout History Like Cedric Herrou.
The most recent incarnation is the story of 37-year-old Cedric Herrou. Mr. Herrou is a Frenchman, and an olive farmer who lives in a secluded valley in France near the border with Italy called Roya. Along with two others, Herrou is currently on trial for illegally aiding and guiding migrants through the area. The trial which began Wednesday will conclude with a verdict from the panel of three judges on February 10th.
The migrants Herrou and others assisted are mostly hailing from Eritrea and Sudan—refugees of war and persecution. Many of these migrants are children. As Herrou told the NYTimes, “It’s not right. There are children who are not safe. It is enraging to see children, at 2 in the morning, completely dehydrated.
“I am a Frenchman,” Mr. Herrou declared.
Approximately 10% of Frances population is immigrants—according to a global report from economic think-tank OECD. For comparison, the Migration Policy Institute cites approximately 13.3% of the U.S. population is immigrants. According to an Ipsos poll last August, 60% of French people believe immigration is having ill effects on their country. In the face of anti-immigrant sentiment, spurred both by endless combinations of xenophobia, racism, financial concerns, and several terror attacks in the last year—Mr. Herrou did the right thing. Read our 11 most racist countries in Europe article to have an idea about the recent surge in racism in Europe.
Throughout history there have been many others who have acted similarly. We have rounded up ten historic and modern heroes who have saved the lives off others. These folks acted often in the face of incredible risk to their own lives and livelihood—facing jail time, torture, or death and usually in spite of majority public opinion. So here enjoy 8 people who rescued others like Cedric Herrou.