Notre Dame disaster uncovers one-sided attention

Christian, Eurocentric issues deemed more important

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Notre Dame disaster uncovers one-sided attention

Abby Intveld

On the evening of April 15, two prominent religious buildings burst into flames from separate causes — the Notre Dame in Paris and the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. Yet most people, including me, only knew about the Catholic Church’s tragedy.

The disaster in Paris overwhelmed the media, with almost every major news outlet writing about it. But despite occurring at the same time, there was little to no coverage of the Jerusalem-based mosque fire. Although the latter suffered significantly less damage, the initial coverage was disappointing and lacking.

Both sites are of extreme importance, religiously and historically. But because the Notre Dame is a Christian and European place of worship, it was deemed more important. This is an appalling example of Eurocentrism and the dismissal of issues in non-Christian communities.

Immediately after the news of the fire broke out in Paris, donations came streaming in. According to The New York Times, roughly $1 billion have been donated to aid in the renovations and restoration work.

When looking at other issues in the world that need donations, it’s an excessive amount of money being sent just to the church. There are countless organizations in need that should take precedence over the Notre Dame.

According to The Guardian, it would only take $55 million to fix Flint, Michigan’s water crisis. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is still as big as Texas, and $1 billion could make a significant dent in the cleanup efforts. Both of these are examples of better places for donations.

Those that so readily donated to the Notre Dame should be as driven to donate to other causes, such as the aforementioned pollution cleanup and human rights.

Though the damage to the 850-year-old gothic church is devastating, it’s also important to acknowledge that countless other cultures’ histories have been lost as well — often because of white people.

If one can recognize the huge loss to history the Notre Dame fire could have caused, one should see the many non-European cultures that have been erased through colonization as well.

People should not only care about the Notre Dame. The worldwide attention this church is receiving must be matched when other non-Christian, non-European issues occur in the future.

I urge students at Park to be aware of other cultures’ issues and to save donation money for more important and impactful organizations.

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