French expats worldwide grieve for Notre Dame

Published:  17 Apr at 6 PM
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French expatriates mourning the effects on Notre Dame of this week’s devastating fire have been joined by expats and citizens worldwide.

Grief caused by the loss of so much of the world-famous medieval cathedral and its treasures is now being minimally tempered by the news that many precious artefacts and relics have been saved. The remainder of the structure seems to be holding up after the flames and the many tons of water needed to prevent total destruction of the much-loved French heart of the Catholic church. Messages of grief and hope sent from French expatriates all over the world mingled with hundreds of millions’ euros in donation from the mega-wealthy and multinational corporations, and French President Macron promised restoration within five years.

Dubai has been a favourite destination for French expat professionals for some years, with the destruction of France’s medieval symbol of its Roman Catholic heritage hitting hard on many. One former Dubai expat was in Paris and had taken her three children to see the cathedral’s grandeur and beauty just hours before the first flames were seen. The weather now, she told reporters, is cold and grey, just like the mood in Paris. Another long term French expat who’s lived in Dubai since the year 2000 called her family in France when the tragic news broke, sharing their feelings of utter shock and despair.

Another French expat entrepreneur in Dubai was on a visit to Paris last month and strolled by the cathedral several times, believing the magnificent structure would always be there. She told the media the sight of the flames reminded her of the suffering caused to the people in Iraq and Syria when their precious cultural artefacts and symbols were turned to rubble by bombs and deliberate destruction during the two wars. During this century, historic sites the world over have suffered from war and deliberate destruction, taking with them their precious heritage of faith, stunning craftsmanship and sheer beauty. In its way, the Notre Dame fire is a reminder that our heritage as human beings must be protected from all threats, whether deliberate or accidental.
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