Science

The right to be forgotten: who are these voluntarily disappeared?

January 2021 Diary Sow, a brilliant student at a prestigious Parisian science preparatory class, is due to return to school after a holiday in Toulouse. But on the 4th, she does not return to high school and no longer shows signs of life to anyone. The police launched an investigation, his relatives turned heaven and earth to find his trail. This touched even the President of Senegal, where she became famous for writing a book at the age of 20 and being the best student in the country. The young woman surfaced seventeen days later. She was fine and didn’t explain her departure… Like her, thousands of people every year decide to disappear into France. For a few weeks, a few months, or forever. Some leave on a whim; others, on the contrary, carefully plan their evaporation.

Finding commonalities between them is not easy. In her book Disappeared Without an Address (edited by L’Opportun, 2017), journalist Patricia Faguet, who worked for the Perdu de vue program in the 1990s and now helps families, attempts to draw a composite portrait of the voluntarily disappeared. A man in the vast majority of cases – rare women mostly flee from domestic violence – often finds himself in a situation of professional and personal insolvency. She notes that many “didn’t have structured family patterns.” “Leave everything for the night (…)

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