Notre Dame Burning Has Taught Us Something Very Real About Society

So Notre Dame burned and it has got various corners of the internet asking the same question: Why is so much money being thrown at a church and not other things.

Shaky ground

I realise now that I am in dangerous territory here so let me preface this by saying that Notre Dame is an iconic landmark, or rather was. It is a tragedy that such an important part of Paris’s history has been destroyed. It is sad for Parisians as it would be any nation losing such a significant landmark and attraction.

Should it be saved?

Again because I know that the building is historically significant and plays a part in Paris’s tourist appeal. People go to Paris and they want to see the Eifel Tower, The Louvre, and of course Notre Dame. In the same way, people who visit London want to see Westminster Abbey. It is a wonderful building, or was, with some classic gothic architecture. Therefore I would say it should probably be rebuilt and is worth investing in.

However…

The bourgeoisie has donated figures ranging between 650 million and a billion pounds to the rebuilding project. An impressive amount for sure. It is great to see that people are investing so heavily but it draws to mind another tragedy still fresh in our minds: Grenfell Tower. The donations to that fund were mostly from aid organisation and to the tune of about 20 million. There were no wealthy billionaires pledging to try and make a difference in that case.

Global issues

It also brings to light the struggle for poverty. If a couple of billionaires can come together and effectively pay for this landmark why can’t the richest people in the world do anything about the global poverty crisis? Perhaps it seems like that isn’t achievable. However, if the top 1% of the worlds wealthiest people gave 0.5% of their money it is estimated that global poverty could be eradicated. Would you dedicate 1% of your wage if it meant ending world poverty? Most good people would!

Human life Vs a building

Please see my preface! I get that this isn’t just any old building. But ultimately it is just bricks and mortar (I am showing a total lack of building knowledge here!) I would value any human life over any building. Wouldn’t you? This is why a lot of people are up in arms. They can’t understand why this is receiving so much money when there are so many other worthy causes that don’t draw anywhere near as much support.

Right to chose

However, playing devil’s advocate here – who are we to decide what people spend their money on? I, as most of you do, feel that the wealthiest people could do more to help our planet and its populace. However, you wouldn’t go up to the kid placing his little blue token in the Tesco charity pot and tell him he is supporting the wrong charity. Ultimately it is a decision that these people have made. It wasn’t made as a slight against the hungry, or the victims of Grenfell or as a middle finger up to cancer sufferers. It just so happens this is a cause that resonated with a few rich people.

The future

Ultimately Notre Dame will be rebuilt and the French people will stand proud beside their cathedral. I doubt very much that there are many billionaires paying attention to memes – probably too busy swimming in their money pools – yes I realise not every billionaire is Scrooge McDuck. Unfortunately, I think this is a classic example of the wrong people having the right conversation. Keep screaming though, maybe one day the right people will hear.

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