Whether Bahia Bakari is 12, 13 or 14 years old - each age having appeared hundreds of times since she alone escaped alive from the crashed Yemenia Airbus 310 - she has a powerful story to tell, one that would be uplifting and harrowing at the same time.
As a journalist, and as the father of daughters, I would be proud and moved if the task of coaxing that story, in conditions acceptable to her family and those professionally in charge of her physical and psychological recovery, fell to me.
I do not believe that is an unrespectable thought. Nor do I think millions, maybe billions of people around the world should feel ashamed if they were to find such an account of tragedy and survival of immense interest. And I certainly would not blame the father of Bahia, a man of decency and dignity if his public utterances since the disaster are any guide, if he secured Bahia's future by insisting on a substantial fee from Paris Match, French TV or whichever of Rupert Murdoch's organs happened to come knocking, cheques at the ready.
Equally, if responsible people feel such an exercise would be wholly undesirable for a young girl who may have survived but also lost her mother in the accident, that should be the end of it and accepted as such by the media. It is by no means certain, in any case, that even the most sensitive and skilled of interviewers would succeed in prompting Bahia to describe the events of June 28 with any clarity or in great detail.
But one thing I am relieved, again as a journalist, to have had no part in is the short but nauseating sequence in which reporters from 20minutes and France 2, the latter part of the state-owned broadcasting service, were permitted to put idiotic questions to a dazed and apparently weak Bahia on the official flight bringing her back to Paris.
How are you? Did you find the flight a little long? Are you feeling upset?
It matters not a jot that the reporters had discussed with medical staff on board what should be asked, and that Bahia herself was asked if she was willing to answer their questions. It aggravates rather than lessens the sense of disgust that the French secretary of state for co-operation, Alain Joyandet, was also on the flight and at the very least acquiesced in what took place.
This poor girl was about to be reunited with her father. I looked in vain through the hundreds of news items this morning for confirmation of whether she already knew then of her mother's fate.
But the interview, short as it was, should never have taken place. France 2 and 20minutes should not have put the least pressure on their reporters to obtain such material. The minister should have intervened, even if that meant overruling well-meaning but misguided medical people, to stop any such thing happening.
The breakdown of human decency on this occasion brings a little shame on all concerned.
My view seems to be shared, incidentally, by whoever runs a French website called de source sure, which talked about the "le trash" following le crash. The reason I offer no link is that the same high-minded piece, which noted that France 2 (unlike 20minutes) had not even blurred Bahia's face, also felt the need to illustrate its item with 11 video clips.