Is the donation deluge for Notre-Dame ok?

French President Emmanuel Macron has pledged in a televised speech that the sections of Notre-Dame damaged by the fire will be rebuilt within five years. Within a short time days French billionaires and others donated 700 million euros for the reconstruction. Some commentators find this sudden wave of generosity distasteful, while others praise it.

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Habertürk (TR) /

Suddenly the money is there

It's sad that only after the disastrous fire are people making big donations for Notre-Dame's restoration, Habertürk notes:

“The French are trying on the one hand to process their shock over the disaster and at the same time discussing how to rebuild this cathedral, one of the most important works in Catholic and global architecture. Amazing! Only last week they were knocking on every door trying to bring together 150 million euros for the restoration of Notre-Dame, but after the cathedral suddenly went up in flames it's raining donations!”

Le Courrier (CH) /

Billionaires exploiting the tragedy

Le Courrier finds the sudden outpouring of donations abhorrent, seeing in it

“a veritable instrumentalisation of the symbol of Notre-Dame by filthy rich businessmen who see themselves as the saviours of cathedrals. The same people who moan and groan about confiscatory taxes. And the same ones who practice tax evasion on a massive scale. ... For the last five months a certain section of French society has been taking to the streets to denounce undignified living conditions, poor housing, miserable salaries, and the humiliation they suffer from day to day. Neither the selective generosity of the ultra-rich nor the call for solidarity and national unity on the part of a government that obstinately turns a deaf ear to demands for social justice could close the increasingly obvious gap between these two facets of French society.”

Mediapart (FR) /

If you tax the rich you don't need donations

Mediapart also takes a different view of what the community that Macron is calling on to help reconstruct the cathedral should look like:

“If this is about 'rebuilding together', we should all pay for it together. And for that, we must use taxes. ... The wealthiest must therefore bear the brunt of the burden in this new effort. And indeed, we had an instrument for gathering the contribution of the wealthiest: the wealth tax. ... A pretty sum that the republic lacks to realize its 'deep destiny'. If you add to this sum the billion that would be lost through tax deductions on donations, we would have a sizeable amount of money for rebuilding the cathedral.”

Vedomosti (RU) /

The fire has opened hearts and wallets

The donations are proof of how the old Europe is alive and kicking, Vedomosti counters:

“The tears of the Parisians and the tourists who perceive the fire as a personal tragedy, and also the tone of most of the reactions on the social networks have shown that such disasters are able to awaken a sense of community in the face of an evil that affects everyone. ... The speed with which donations for the reconstruction have poured in shows how important the cathedral is to people all over the world. ... The restoration of Notre-Dame will be complicated and take time. But the rumours about the demise of the old Europe and its values have once again proven to be exaggerated.”