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Notre-Dame: The Flames That Touched the World

On the 15th of April, a fire shocked the whole world and it was all everyone could talk about for many days and is still the topic of many conversations. The Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris had been undergoing construction and renovations when it suddenly went up in flames in the evening of that day. Built in the 12th century, it had stood as a large monument and drawn many tourists to Paris, France for over 800 years. It was being restored in time for the 2024 Olympics which will be held in Paris, but with the fire the completion is thought to be pushed back by 20 – 40 years.

The fire started around 6PM, starting out as white smoke but quickly turned into a conflagration within minutes of the fire being discovered. Over 400 firefighters struggled to control the flames and do as little damage to the already burdened structure. When the roof fire could not be controlled, they moved on to saving the towers, which are essential in holding the building together. Onlookers watched in horror as the flames continued to go on through the night. They sang hymns and said prayers from the distance and many people around the world sent out condolences. Twelve hours later, the fire was officially extinguished. At the end, many of the artworks in the cathedral had been lost but a few still remained.
Over the past two weeks, many prominent people have stepped up and decided to donate to the rebuilding of Notre-Dame. As of the 22nd of April, over €1 billion had been raised towards efforts to restore it as close as possible to its original glory. Regular people have also been donating to the cause, hoping to help with anything they can. However, this has caused quite a bit of controversy.

Many people were surprised with the swiftness and amount of money that was raised to restore the cathedral. Some were glad to see that there would be sufficient funds to rebuild it, but others were confused about where these funds have been when other disasters occurred. Flint, Michigan has been without clean water for years now. Puerto Rico was stranded without power and resources after Hurricane Maria and many more unfortunate disasters have happened since then. I’m personally glad that the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris will be rebuilt but I would like to see people have the same enthusiasm in helping other disasters the way the world stepped up to save the “Lady of Paris”. We can only hope there are less disasters like this and our hearts go out to the French.  Que la paix soit avec vous!

Ibu Akintola

Seton Hall '20

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