As Christians and non-Christians alike stood in solidarity on Monday and mourned the loss of a cathedral that Pope Francis humbly labeled an "architectural jewel of a collective memory," the halls of social media were occasionally disrupted by vocal minorities of hard leftists who reveled in Notre Dame's destruction.
What joy could people possibly be expressing as fires savaged an 800-year-old cathedral? According to some of these hard leftists, the destruction symbolized the Catholic Church's karma for centuries of cruelty or, at the very least, colonial France's karma for what it has allegedly done to other cultures. A thread compiled by Andy Ngo of Quillette best illustrated the collective mockery:
"I wonder how many art pieces and artifacts that were sitting in the Notre Dame were stolen from former colonies," said user Shaziya. When confronted with criticism and backlash, she doubled down: "I’m criticizing French colonialism, if this bothers you so much then you ought to reevaluate your morals, bye."
"I think it sucks that Notre Dame is burning but f*** imagine if we had this same energy for every historic building we carpetbombed in the Middle East," said another user.
Other users reveled in the fact that "white people" were saddened to see Notre Dame go up in flames. "I'm dying at the white people triggered," said one person named Aly. "It's a damn building that's literally used for tourism, no one died, move on."
While Notre Dame indeed invited tourists to look upon its magnificent beauty, becoming one of France's most iconic landmarks, the cathedral still served as a home to practicing Catholics who worshiped God through the Holy Mass every Sunday — not to mention the multiple popes in recent history who have led processions there. The church hosted weddings, funerals, and consecrations. It never sacrificed its Christian mission at the altar of commercialism, as perhaps best exemplified by the priceless relics — including the crown of thorns said to have been worn by Christ — that Notre Dame housed within its walls.
"Notre Dame on fire is the most aesthetically pleasing visually I've ever seen," said another user.
"This one's for colonizing African countries b****," said another user.
"Notre Dame burning is cosmic karma for all the historical sites and artefacts [sic] France destroyed and stole when being colonialist scum," said the blue-checkmark "culture writer" Hikikomori Povich.
Showtime associate producer Muna Mire offered this take:
In the chaos of the destruction, people on social media immediately jumped to conspiracy theories as to who started the attack. According to investigators on Tuesday, arson has been ruled out and the probe will focus on the construction firm hired to renovate the cathedral.
"Just a little less than 24 hours after a blaze ripped through Paris' Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris prosecutors are saying the fire was likely an accident, not arson, and that the construction company in charge of a $5.6 million renovation to the cathedral's roof and spire will be under the microscope," The Daily Wire's Emily Zanotti reported.
In the meantime, two French billionaires have pledged over 300 million Euro to rebuild Notre Dame, with many from across the world also offering to donate funds. As the fire calmed, French President Emmanuel Macron promised that his government and subsequent governments will ensure that the cathedral glorifies the Parisian skyline once again.