Support for Notre Dame’s recent partial destruction has spread like wildfire.
Across all social media platforms and mainstream media channels, audiences and content creators have voiced their concern and extended prayers for the ongoing loss of art and architecture.
Thus far, Notre Dame has raised over $800 million to restore the damage caused by the fire. Plus, charities are raising money for Notre Dame, keep sending donations. Yet, the Cathedral was already under construction.
But not everyone was on board with solidarity. The Twitterverse went off on France’s misfortune. Why? Some people feel like other places of worship, mostly POC places of worship, are not given the same coverage in the news.
It seems particularly odd that so many places of worship have been destroyed today. Unfortunately not all of them are getting the attention bestowed onto Notre Dame . Let’s keep AL-Aqsa & the Louisiana black church fires in our thoughts & find ways we can aid in rebuilding them.
— R (@complic8edrania) April 15, 2019
In a NYT article, Holden Matthews, son of a deputy sheriff, recently torched 3 black churches in Louisiana. The churches were at least half a century old. Authorities apprehended and charged Matthews days before the Notre Dame burning.
Furthermore, Al-Aqsa Mosque was also ablaze at the same time as Notre Dame. Al Aqsa is situated in East Jerusalem and was built in 1035. For context, in 1345, construction on Notre Dame was completed in 1345.
Hundreds took to the streets in prayer while Notre Dame burned. Officials allowed onlookers to pray freely despite the recent ban on prayer originally introduced by French officials to curtail Muslim Friday prayers.
But few have made this connection. The invaluable art within its Gothic architecture gives Notre Dame its significance in the world. European countries that carry artifacts from their former colonies have attracted controversy in recent years. It’s not surprising that some Twitter users pointed out the likelihood of stolen art in the French museum.
I wonder how many art pieces and artifacts that were sitting in the notre dame were stolen from former colonies
— shaziya (@garamchaiii) April 15, 2019
Some Twitter users expressed apathy or outright spite in response to the news of the fire. Clap backs included citing France’s bloody history as an imperial and colonial power as a reason to not care about the destruction of the famous monument.
Others mentioned a recently circulated video of French museums holding 18,000 North African skulls from colonial times. Algeria, the place that most of the skulls were taken from, gained its independence in 1962.
that’s payback for all them skulls they’re stashing https://t.co/ns2TcGtaW2
— lalla ka3b ghzal (@_kurlykay) April 15, 2019
Nonetheless, Notre Dame’s burning threatens the destruction of history and art prized as invaluable.
Much of the world acknowledged this tragedy. But among those who see similar or greater suffering go unnoticed, this acknowledgment seems hypocritical.
I’m not at all celebrating the fall of Notre Dame, but brown/black people don’t owe sensitivity or grief regarding a *zero-casualty* incident in a country that colonized/murdered their people.
Also, comparing this incident to anything that’s taken lives is false equivalence.
— Maleek Eid (@AbuYoshi) April 16, 2019