On April 15th, 2019, the beloved and historical Notre Dame Cathedral caught on fire and the famous spiral on top of the cathedral collapsed.
In a CBS News article reporting on the tragedy, they captured the building's significance in a quote from Vanderbilt University professor and art history department chair Kevin Murphy:
"[Notre Dame] symbolizes the city of Paris, it's a cathedral of Paris, but it's also always been considered a cathedral of France. Its symbolism really resonates through its religious significance and its civil and national significance.'"
This event affected not just the citizens of Paris, but anyone who has visited the cathedral and got to witness its beauty in person.
All over several social media platforms, people were sharing their photos of past visits or vacations to the cathedral. Not only were they sharing their memories of the visit, but they were also sharing how heartbroken they were to hear that this historical building was partly destroyed.
On Monday, the French president, Emmanuel Macron, addressed the fire, stating that the cathedral will be rebuilt. The CBS News quoted Macron:
"I'm telling you all tonight -- we will rebuild this cathedral together. This is probably part of the French destiny. And we will do it in the next years. Starting tomorrow, a national donation scheme will be started that will extend beyond our borders.'"
Within 24 hours, donations from all over started pouring in.
When I read that within 24 hours, over 100 million euros had been donated to help rebuild the cathedral, my jaw dropped. Millions of dollars and euros were instantly donated to help this building from people and companies everywhere.
I felt a lot of emotions when I heard this. The first one being moved and happy that people came together to rebuild such a historical building. Then, as I thought about it more, I was a little confused and genuinely curious about the world's sudden acts of kindness.
My first genuinely question is: Why?
An online article from BFM TV stated:
"On the night of the fire that partly destroyed the Parisian cathedral, the Pinault family announced a donation of 100 million euros...The Arnault family followed, followed by large French groups such as the Bettencourt-Meyers family and the L'Oréal group, Total, Michelin."
Again, overnight MILLIONS of dollars and euros were donated. MILLIONS. OVERNIGHT. When I read that, I was in shock! These people heard about this tragedy and personally decided to take immediate action to help.
What I want to know is why the destruction of this building moved people so much to take immediate action, but other tragedies strike and they get ignored? Why aren't people so quick to act and help with other problems going on in the world?
Some of these other problems involve human beings, not just a building.
There are other huge problems in Paris, and the rest of the world, that need the amount of support and help this cathedral has attracted. For example, an article by "The Local Fr" states that according to the 2019 census, there are 3,641 homeless people on the streets of Paris.
Another example of a crisis in more dire need of monetary help is Flint, MI. Four years after the initial incident, Flint still does not have water. Let me rephrase that. THERE ARE PEOPLE IN THE UNITED STATES WHO DO NOT HAVE CLEAN WATER.
These are just two huge examples of some of the tragedies that are also going on around the world as well.
Just to be clear, I'm not saying we should not rebuild the cathedral.
Of course this building is important to Paris and others all over the world. I am not saying that the reconstruction of the cathedral should not take place. What I am saying is that I wish the love, support, and help for this historical building was reciprocated for other tragedies.
There are people out there who are suffering and could really use help and support from major companies internationally as well. This cathedral is important and should be rebuilt, but there are other causes and communities that also need to be rebuilt.
Instead of rebuilding history, why don't we all make history?!
In my personal opinion, there are other causes in the world that should be acknowledged first. Be a part of the group of people that created real, helpful change in the world. Be a part of something impactful and revolutionary! Make history by supporting and donating to a cause that others look over or neglect. A small change is still CHANGE.
I hope that as time goes on, I see people and major companies supporting other tragedies the same way they did with the cathedral, with action and compassion.