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OPINION: History is at risk and the world cares

Two historic landmarks have met a fiery fate- the world made sure to pay attention and open their checkbooks

In one school year at HSU, two world-renowned attractions burned down. One was Brazil’s National Museum, holding more than 20 million different artifact collections. The other, Notre Dame Cathedral, which housed precious biblical relics.

Both fires were claimed accidents and with no malicious intent behind them. However, these occasions highlight the level of fragility surrounding these infrastructures and a level of insensitivity towards the conditions of the buildings.

Brazil’s National Museum, arguably a more tragic disaster than Notre Dame, went up in flames last September. Unlike Notre Dame, the entire museum and all of the relics inside were burnt to ash.

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Screen grab from a viral Norte Dame tweet.

The rebuild is estimated to take 10 years and cost $400 million to complete. So far Brazil has raised $1 million in the last 10 months, a shocking difference from Notre Dame, which raised more than $4 billion since its fire last week.

Only after the destruction of a recognizable landmark, the world became aware of how valuable these buildings and their belongings are.

Museums, mosques, cathedrals, etc., which will now be referred to as “buildings of greater significance,” holds societal and historical value, yet are treated with disrespect and negligence and often are taken for granted.

President Trump took to Twitter, as he often does, to tweet “…perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it [Notre Dame] out. Must act quickly!” An insensitive attempt at joking about a disaster, in the middle of it happening!

Trump Viral Notre Dame Tweet.PNG

Tweets and responses like this ignore and undermine the consequence and loss of these events. Beyond being a sanctuary for artifacts, buildings of greater significance hold evidence and insight into the past.

The destruction of one of these buildings is a loss of human existence. While accidents are accidents they still have mass effects. The fires destroyed evidence of the past including irreplaceable artifacts and knowledge of what was before us, all burnt to crisp.

While the quick refunding of Notre Dame showcased worldwide attention and involvement regarding buildings of greater significance, Twitter exposed a more devastating truth.

Notre Dame raised billions of dollars within hours of the fiery accident, but a viral tweet unveiled “the fact that billionaires have pledged over 600 million dollars in under 24 hours… puts into perspective how easily rich people could help solve world issues if they cared.” Six hundrerd million can rebuild a lot: Notre Dame, Brazil’s National Museum and more. Money can solve a lot as long as it’s available.

One Comment

  1. pyketopiapottery pyketopiapottery Thursday, April 25, 2019

    But what if Trump wasn’t joking and he really thought this was a good idea? Possible! Good thing he’s not in charge of fire control and suppression.

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