Some historical landmarks, such as Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, are important cultural symbols, so naturally, we tend to feel emotional with such symbols, only as those symbols do with the culture to which they belong. But, let’s just face it. This cathedral is only a building and some parts of it burning without hurting anyone is the “first world problem” epitome.
Every day, historical landmarks worldwide are destroyed, both synthetic and natural, but such losses are usually ignored, or they are even celebrated too. When some indigenous land gets destroyed in order to make ways for pipelines, and when the architecture of such structures is demolished or replaced by a strip mall or something else, a global call to action never exists. Similar to this, when there is a dropping of bombs all over Africa and the Middle East, the artifacts and buildings which are destroyed during the attacks are never the focus too, although such historical relics represent remnants of the earliest civilizations of human beings.
In this case of the Cathedral Notre-Dame, a lot of donations came from all over the world, in order to assist in the restoration of the building. Almost one billion dollars were raised as of yesterday, and most of the donations were from quite wealthy donors.
In fact, some of the donations have been hundreds of millions of dollars which came from wealthy families, such as the clothing brands Louis Vuitton or Gucci, and cosmetic and energy companies too. Apple’s Tim Cook said that his multi-billion technology company is going to contribute to the cathedral’s restoration too.
In the meantime, some places such as Puerto Rico still struggling to raise their money in the aftermath of a natural disaster which occurred one year ago. Also, despite the claims of politicians that they solved the water crisis which happened in the city of Flint, in Michigan, a lot of people still don’t have clean water, a few years after this problem occurred. Homelessness and poverty are increased in a lot of global societies. There is an overwhelming percentage of people who work every day of the week and still struggle to afford themselves the basic needs such as shelter and food.
Taking in consideration every problem that threatens the civilization of human beings, and also of animal life living on Earth, it looks foolish that some people worldwide prioritize some cultural monuments which could be replaced over the life of humans and the planet’s health which they all call home. But, such behavior is definitely typical for us humans and is even the reason for the appearance of problems such as poverty, endangered species, and war.
We are worshiping our cultures like gods, although we tend to treat our natural world, or our fellow human beings like beasts, battling and controlling.
This overwhelming charity which was shown after the fire at the Cathedral Notre-Dame also shows that humankind is able to feel compassion and that the money which can help in fixing the issues in this world could be raised more easily than believed. Sure, cleaning up our planet and feeing the poor is going to cost more than one billion dollars, but if people can voluntarily raise this sum in only 24 hours, can you imagine what can also be achieved if they started directing their charities to specific problems which destroy life on our planet.
A person named Carl Kinsella of Joe.ie, has pointed out:
If two men in a world of more than 7 billion people can provide €300million to restore Notre Dame, within six hours, then there is enough money in the world to feed every mouth, shelter every family and educate every child. The failure to do so is a matter of will and a matter of system. The failure to do so comes from our failure to recognize the mundane emergencies that claim lives all around us every single day.
Everywhere in the world, from Paris to Persepolis, people are suffering. But their suffering is every day. It does not light up a front page, and it does not inspire immediate donations from the world’s wealthiest men.
The fault for such failure of the priorities is in global media which is ashamed to report wars, economic conditions or environmental problems, which could, in fact, make the sponsors of the media look bad. Every person in the world is generally good, but we are all led astray by our own cultures which we worship every day.