Why donate for a building when millions are going hungry?
With almost a billion euros donated for the restoration of Notre Dame cathedral, which was almost destroyed by fire last week, the political moralists on the gallery are crying foul.
France’s super wealthy families opened their pockets for Notre Dame, triggering a heated debate on the wealth gap. The money should’ve gone to the hungry, to the poor, to the refugees etc.
Such a debate is comparing apples with oranges. In comparing things that cannot be compared with each other, the divisiveness in society is being fanned. It is the game of the ego-driven populists. They care less for the poor than for their own aggrandizement.
Notre Dame is much more than just another cathedral. It symbolizes the ingenuity, innate spirituality and genius of man over centuries. It is a powerful symbol that unites mankind beyond the confines of a single religion. The outpouring of horror and grief as the flames engulfed the ancient cathedral, is indicative of the power of Notre Dame.
I referred in my previous blog to why the ancient builders chose this particular spot where once stood an ancient Roman temple and before that probably a Celtic worship site. When such a sacred site is harmed, it tears at the heartstrings at a deeper level.
Victor Hugo, who played a key role in saving Notre Dame with his novel “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” in the early 19th century, wrote:
“Great buildings, like great mountains, are the work of centuries.”
Notre Dame embodies the best of man’s creativity and higher sense of purpose over centuries. It is an achievement of many individuals embodied in one work of art, with the common goal transcending individual glorification. It is not a building belonging to the church or an institution but to all of mankind.
Notre Dame will be restored. And, at some time in the distant future it will continue to inspire, unite, and excite generations to come. The narrow-minded current debate will be but a forgotten footnote in history.
Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor and Consultant