Monday, April 22, 2019

SICKENING: the warped view of humanity displayed by Notre Dame's generosity scramble by the very rich

Dear Readers,

          People experiencing all kinds of unspeakable horrors in natural disasters don’t get anything like the same reaction from the billionaires, who fell over one another trying to be the biggest giver after the Notre Dame fire.
          When did you last see all the international television news channels reporting on a giving race that went up, not by millions of dollars at a time, but by hundreds of millions? In a few hours it had topped $900 million and climbing.
          It shot up faster than the fire at the Cathedral.
          All this was to restore an 800 year old building that the French Ministry of Culture is responsible for maintaining. It’s such a dodo that the French Government can’t afford to pay for its upkeep so there’s a charity trying to make up the shortfall.
Nobody was injured in the fire; nobody was made homeless; no children were orphaned; millions of poverty stricken people didn’t find the entire area where they live well above head high in water that remained there for weeks; it didn’t cause widespread famine; nobody had their home and all they possess burnt to a cinder; so how could this philanthropic frenzy possibly be justify? 
Great Minds think alike
Was this just a chance for these business leaders to do what they know best – flaunt their wealth and get one up on their monied rivals? “Ha!, Ha! I’m richer than you,” they could have been saying like little kids, if not publicly then under their breath.
The embers were probably still warm when Francois-Henri Pinault, who is married to actress Salma Hayek, announced that his family would donate 100-million euros ($112 –million). He is the CEO of Kering the luxury goods firm that owns brands like Gucci and is estimated to be personally worth $17-billion.
One of the problems of leading a race is that you are always likely to be overtaken from behind before you realise it, and I’m sure no billionaire likes to be beaten, but that’s exactly what happened.
Not to be outdone his rival in the fashion industry Bernard Arnault, the world’s third richest man and head of LVMH pledged to double Pinault’s miserable amount. This was hardly surprising as he himself is said to be worth $94-billion.  LVMH has brands like Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior
Then the BettercourtMeyers family that controls L’Oreal matched Arnault’s pledge.

'That shows real enterprise which I admire. They are obviously
more than capable of looking after themselves.'
          The French government allows companies a 60% tax rebate on donations to promote culture, but the billionaires were quick to deny that they would be getting any tax breaks for their big hearted gestures.
          This hard to believe display of wealth came at the worse possible time for the French government battling to quell a mini French Revolution. It’s the peasants against the rich with the Yellow Vests brigade protesting, violently in some cases, all over the country for economic justice. This Easter was the 23rd consecutive week-end that they had rampaged through the streets.
          Philippe Martinez head of Frances’s CGT trade union federation complained that if tens of millions could be given to rebuild Notre Dame they must stop being told there was no money for social upliftment.
'Don't give me that story about these kids being among
the needy, you can see they're just being naughty.'
          It is a terrible indictment of the human race that repairing a building comes well before alleviating human suffering of mammoth proportions in every corner of the globe. This is especially so as fixing Notre Dame is likely to take five years or more. It will then be an even more expensive millstone around the neck of the French people, who have evidently had a gut full of luxury spending at the expense of the likes of the Yellow Vests. 
         At the time of the fire extensive maintenance work was going on judging by the amount of scaffolding around the cathedral. So is seems more than likely that the blaze was started accidentally by one of the workers.
'It's clear these people don't need any money from me. That
house will be fine once it dries out.'
P.S.  In March this year Cyclone Idai killed more than 300 people as it swept through Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi. The harrowing pictures of some of those affected have quotes from an anonymous billionaire.

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