There have been many posts on social media from people expressing their opinion on the restoration of Notre Dame. While everyone is sad at the loss of the iconic historical structure, and most agree that restoration is necessary, some people are saddened by the fact that the wealthy people in Europe responded right away, donating millions of euros. And on the other hand, natural disasters or worldwide poverty does not generate as much compassion or support.
Within hours of Notre Dame’s spire coming down, two of France’s wealthiest families, Arnault (owner of Louis Vuitton), and Pinault, donated no less than 300 million euros to the restoration of the church. It was said that “if two wealthy families can provide 300 million euros to restore Notre Dame, 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.”
An acquaintance of mine, who is from Mozambique, Africa, commented on her social media page that when her homeland was flooded in 2000, there was little media attention and nobody really knew about it. There are also people saying that the Vatican is very rich, and people don’t need to donate to the restoration, more money should be donated to the poor people instead.
I wonder, when people donate money to the poor, they don’t really make it public. Nobody is going to announce, “I donated $1000 to Oxfam (or Red Cross, etc) today!” So nobody really knows if the super wealthy people have donated to the poor or not, and if so, how much.
Helping the poor is important, but restoring an iconic historical structure is also important. I am neither judging how people prioritize their donations, nor am I judging how people compare restoring a historical church to helping those in need.