April 17, 2019
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The tragedy of Notre Dame de Paris is nothing anyone is about to forget. Just like I remember gasping when I saw the Towers of the World Trade Center collapse, I could not help doing the same when the “flèche” of Notre Dame fell.

The big difference between the World Trade Center and Notre Dame is the number of casualties: the fire at Notre Dame (at least so far) did not result in any deaths. The World Trade Center, 18 years later, is still killing first responders and others.

There stops my comparison. Let’s look now at the hypocrisy of those willing to give millions to rebuild Notre Dame. Notre Dame, an asset of the city of Paris, is well insured as a landmark monument. When it caught on fire, it is likely the cause was negligence from the construction company handling renovations: they too, have to be bonded and heavily insured before being authorized to start a project of that magnitude. The French government, who is NOT supposed to have any connection with the Catholic Church, will find large sums to contribute to the disaster. Last but not least, the Vatican, although it does not own Notre Dame, has a very clear interest in demonstrating financial support.

Why, you will ask me, the ongoing “pissing contest” (for lack of a better expression) between France’s richest citizens pledging ridiculous amounts to rebuild the cathedral: so far, I believe they have committed enough to rebuild Notre Dame ten times over. Bernard Arnault, Forbes’ third richest man in the world, when he heard that Francois Pinault (Salma Hayek’s husband) had pledged $100 million euros, went ahead and offered $200 million euros. Then the daughter of the late Liliane Bettencourt (who was, for 30 years, the richest woman in the word) committed $100 million euros of her personal money AND $100 million euros from L’Oreal, the family business. A few “small timers” helped the numbers grow by gifting $10 million euros apiece.

I betcha some of these generous donors never set foot in Notre Dame, for religious and other reasons.

By the way, the great majority of the above “gifts” are tax deductible.

Let me ask the following question: with close to one billion dollars, what would a hypothetical Jesus do?
He does not need money to buy fish, since he can make as many as necessary.
Likewise, with bread.
He could, however, save Puerto Rico from decay.
He could finally have clean water for the residents of Flint, Michigan.
He could support high school students marching for a world without guns.
He could keep politicians from building bridges to nowhere, just because they can.
He could work on the mental health issues in our country.

And, with the leftovers, he could try to save our planet.

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